The Nature of Foods in Traditional Chinese Medicine

fruits-forks

 

 

What exactly is healthy eating?

And how can food be used as medicine?

Most of us agree that a diet rich in whole, natural, unprocessed foods is essential for good health. We also understand that a good rule of thumb is to eat food that grows locally and is in season.

Now, imagine doing an activity multiple times a day, every day, for your entire life – like eating, for example. When you look at food and drink in this way, it becomes clear just how powerful an effect it has on our wellbeing. Besides providing nourishment, energy, and pleasure, food can be a very effective medicine.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, all foods have a “nature” (once ingested, they have properties of warming or cooling; moving energy up/down/in/or out; drying or moistening; or nourishing a specific organ system). Eating foods with the right nature or properties, can help to re-balance and heal your body.

Below is a great article by Natural Harmony, on the warming and cooling natures of food. For the original article, click the following link. http://www.naturalharmonytcm.com.au/food-properties/

Yours in good health,

Caryn

 

Nourish yourself with the nature of foods

Since ancient times Chinese medicine practitioners have used the warm and cool nature of foods to prevent and treat illness while balancing the body’s yin and yang to maintain abundant health!

The amazingly unique qualities of foods, that are warm or cool in nature, aid the body through warm foods promoting warming effects to your body and cool foods promoting cooling effects to your body.

This is due to yin being the body’s cool element and yang the warm element and where imbalance occurs within the body, the characteristics of food can help to counteract the imbalance and present itself in uncomfortable symptoms!
So let’s understand our body’s make-up and how food can promote healing and balance!

There are three thermal natures within the body in Chinese Medicine:
1. Cooling foods

2. Warming foods

3. Balanced or neutral foods that are neither cool nor warm.

Cooling food effects

Foods with a cool energy have the effect of nourishing yin while calming excess heat (yang in nature), as yin is cool in nature. They calm and cool heat and blood, while ridding the body of toxins.
This can be necessary in those who have heat within their body and often exert symptoms such as thirst, constipation, perspiration, pungent odour when expelling wind or stools, and heat following bowel movements. Anxiety, feeling overall hot and presenting with red eyes, face and tongue.  A tongue that is red and also has a thick yellow coating, can demonstrate damp-heat within the body. A rapid pulse, heartburn and dark yellow urine.

If this sounds familiar we’ve compiled a list of foods that will help nourish your yin and restore balance!

Cooling Foods

Fruits Vegetables Grains, Legumes & seeds Meat, Seafood & Dairy Condiments & Beverages
Apple
Banana
Grapefruit
Kiwifruit
Lemon
Orange
Pear
Persimmon
Pineapple
Pomelo
Star fruit
Strawberry
Watermelon
Alfalfa sprouts
Asparagus
Bamboo shoots
Bitter Gourd
Celery
Chinese Radish (Daikon)
Cucumber
Eggplant
Green leafy vegetables
Kelp
Lettuce
Lotus Root
Mushroom
Spinach
Swiss chard
Tomato
Water chestnut
Watercress
Winter Melon
Barley
Buckwheat
Millet
Mung Bean
Soy Bean
Tofu
Wheat bran
Whole wheat
Clam
Cheese
Chicken Egg
Crab
Cream
Duck Egg
Kelp
Rabbit
Seaweed
Yoghurt
Chrysanthemum Tea
Green Tea
Peppermint Tea
Salt
Sesame oil
Soya sauce

 

Warming Food Effects

Warming foods are a key component for people who are yang deficient, as warming foods have the effect of raising yang while encouraging the movement of Energy/Qi (chee) and blood to organs. This assist in the circulation and ridding the body of cold.

If there is deficiency in yang symptoms such as cold hands, feet and overall body can occur. Diarrhoea, stomach discomfort and pain after eating and drinking foods or drinks that are cold. Bloating, lethargy and fluid retention.

If this sounds like you, fortunately there is also list of foods to raise yang and restore balance!

Warming Foods

 

Fruits Vegetables Grains, Legumes & seeds Meat, Seafood & Dairy Condiments & Beverages
Apricot
Cherry
Chestnut
Chinese Red Dates
Coconut meat
Coconut milk
Guava
Hawthorn Fruit
Longan
Lychee
Mandarin peel (dried)
Mango
Nectarine
Peach
Raspberry
Chives
Leek
Mustard greens
Onion
Pumpkin
Spring onion
Squash
Caraway seed
Chestnut
Glutinous Rice
Malt
Pine nut
Pistachio nut
Walnut
Butter
Chicken
Deer (Venison)
Eel
Goat Milk
Ham
Lamb
Mussels
Prawns (shrimp)
Sea cucumber
Basil
Black pepper
Brown Sugar
Chilli
Cinnamon
Clove
Coffee
Coriander
Cumin
Fennel seed
Garlic
Ginger
Ginseng
Jasmine tea
Mustard
Nutmeg
Rosemary
Spearmint
Vinegar
Wine

There is also a list of yummy foods that are neither cool nor warm in nature and are for anyone’s delicious enjoyment!

Fruits Vegetables Grains, Legumes & seeds Meat, Seafood & Dairy Condiments & Beverages
Figs
Goji Berries
Grape
Olive
Papaya
Plum
Black fungus mushrooms
Carrot
Chinese cabbage
Corn
Potato
Pumpkin
Shiitake mushroom
Sweet potato
Taro
Turnip
White fungus
Adzuki Bean
Almond
Black sesame seed
Black soybean
Broad bean
Kidney bean
Lotus seed
Peanut
Peas
Rice bran
Rye
String bean
Sunflower seed
White rice
Yellow soybean
Abalone
Beef
Cow’s milk
Duck
Fish
Oyster
Pork
Scallop
Peanut oil
Honey
Saffron
Licorice

Balance is key!

Understanding your body’s constitution (cool or warm) allows your to choose foods that will promote your body’s overall health! As Chinese Medicine commonly provides treatment for people with diseases or illnesses that are exasperated through choice of foods; we wanted to share the above lists with you so you can make the best choices for your own body!

As seasons change and develop, our body sends us signs to let us know what we need in order to stay balanced. Our environment can tell us so much!

For example, heading into summer our body will often feel overheated and dry, that can lead to constipation and dry skin, encouraging us to stay hydrated and choose fresh fruits and vegetables.

What foods will you choose to best suit your body constitution today?
Your body can’t wait to connect with you through the foods you nourish it with!

 

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