Five natures of food

In Oriental medicine, food has been an important healing force for several thousands of years. One of the oldest texts, the “Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic” states that “herbal medicinal is used to fight evils while grains are used to nourish the body, and fruits, vegetables and meats aid in this effort – all five tastes working together to supplement the Qi and essence.” In other words, grains should be the mainstay of the diet while vegetables, fruits and meat should be eaten to support the dietary “foundation” that grains set.  The standard “American Diet” is opposite if this.  Most Americans don’t consider it a “meal” unless there is some type of meat present on their plate.  Meat is difficult for the body to process and constantly eating so much protein places the body under undue stress as it continually attempts to absorb it.  Grains, on the other hand, enter the spleen and stomach and act as Qi “generators,” to our bodies rather than “energy-depleters.”

Herbal medicinal and food share the same source. Some commonly eaten foods that are also used in herbal medicine are:  ginger, cinnamon, red dates, licorice, barley, malt syrup, bean sprouts, rice, fermented soybeans, vinegar, honey, mandarin oranges, orange peel, gelatin, egg yolk, seaweed and scallions.

Oriental medicine divides all food into five natures; those are cold, cool, neutral, warm and hot. Someone whose body‘s constitution is cold as well as pathologically cold should avoid cold nature foods and should eat warm nature foods. Someone whose body’s constitution is hot as well as pathologically hot should avoid hot nature foods.

Here aresome examples.

Hot: dried ginger, cayenne pepper, jalapeno, black pepper, soybean oil, cotton seed oil

Warm: chicken, butter, shrimp, lamb, walnuts, peaches, cherries, and onions

Neutral: chicken eggs, milk, beef, white rice, rye, string beans

Cool: whole wheat, barley, millet, mung beans, tofu, pears, lemons, spinach

Cold: Seaweed, kelp, watermelon, bananas, tea, salt, clam, crab

Source: The Tao of Healthy Eating

              Author: Bob Flaw

About Acurelief

California Acupuncture licensed since 1997. A graduate of South Baylo University, Anaheim C A. Ph.D. in Oriental Medicine from American Liberty University, Orange, CA in 2009. 10 years of clinical experience in medical offices and physical therapy facilities. Private practice focusing on holistic care using a combination of ancient and modern modalities.
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