Health Intuitive

Alternative Medicine News

How Food Impacts The Body In Various Ways Based On TCM

Perhaps, one of the most contradictory and complex discussions pertaining health is the relationship of health to food. So many diverging dietary plans, perspectives, and theories as well as several industrial and corporate entities have turned what should have been a simple discussion into a seriously convoluted topic.

For instance, a Western scientific ‘dietician’, bases a healthy diet on the consumption of sufficient amounts of RDA (recommended daily allowance) of minerals, vitamins, fiber, proteins, and carbohydrates. It is irrelevant whether the vitamins and carbohydrates come from sweet potatoes or from fortified sugary cereal. There are several schools of ‘Nutritionist’ that are customarily more imaginative with diets and may advocate a diet more natural nutritionally based diet that emphasizes the taking of various supplements and on the consumption of lean meats, whole grains, pulses, and vegetables. Then, we have the highly specialized naturopaths or nutritionists who may advocate specific styles of eating emphasizing certain food groups like Candida diets, low carb diets, high fiber diets, raw food diets, food combining, or fasting. And who can’t forget the weight loss diets, which obviously are designed to make us lose weight? In developing countries, these diets are unknown or are not promoted.

In the Eastern medical system known as TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine, food is based on its specific energetic qualities. Some foods are considered cooling foods in that they cool the body, some foods are heating foods because they warm or heat the body. Some foods are damp causing foods as they trigger the production of mucus or phlegm, or increase weight. There are foods that nourish the yin of the body and foods that increase yang. There are foods that are neutral. All foods essentially possess energetic qualities that impact the body in certain ways.

Sugar, oil, and dairy are considered damp forming foods. Raw fish, egg plant, cucumber are cooling foods. Lamb, red meat, and spices are heat generating foods.

There are foods that either weaken or tonify the organs of the body. Sweet tasting foods, for example, impacts the abdomen and spleen, which controls the digestive system. Brown and white grains and other naturally sweet foods tonify the abdomen and spleen. But cakes, candies, refined sugar and other excessively sweet foods can weaken these organs.

Classifying foods based on yin and yang can have several aspects and can be quite complicated. One way of distinguishing yin foods is their ability to increase the flesh and blood and other yin aspects of the body. Hence, fish and meat and other proteins build tissues and so are seen as yin. Yang foods such as refined sugar and alcohol are foods that quickly elevate energy. However, classifying yin and yang foods can also be relative. For instance, although meat can be seen as yin, red meats are categorized more as yang while fish and white meats are seen as yin.

Based on the Five Elements theory of TCM, foods can be classified based on their color. White colored foods, for instance, is believed to vibrate with the element of metal and the organs of the large intestine and the lungs. This implies that foods having a white color like white rice or cauliflower may be good for the lungs. Green tonifies the element of wood as well as the liver, and therefore green leafy veggies are good for the liver.

Foods can also be classified based on their shape. In TCM, since the kidney bean is shaped like the human kidney, it is believed to tonify the kidneys. The walnuts tonify the brain as they look like brains.

Like repairs like and so offal meat such as the animal intestines, kidney, and liver are believed to nurture their comparable human counterparts. Human blood can be nourished by pig blood.

Foods can also be classified based on their action. So, spicy foods, for instance promote sweating and perspiration. If your chi or energy is stagnant which manifests as being overweight or poor circulation, they can be addressed by eating spicy foods that open the pores and encourage circulation although, they are just quick fixes that don’s address the root problem. Eating a lot of yang or spicy foods eventually may result in excess yin (weight gain, phlegm, and mucus) that undermines the balance of yin and yang in the body.

Foods that cause damp are foods that promote the production of mucus or phlegm. Some individuals who can’t tolerate wheat or dairy may find phlegm building up in their throat or feces when they eat damp foods.

The way foods are cooked can impact their energetic attributes. For instance grilled, barbecued, and fried foods have a searing effect on the food and entail the use of more intense heat within a shorter period of time. Compared to steaming or boiling which soften the food and is deemed to be a yin way of cooking, grilled, barbecued, and fried foods are deemed to be yang. Frying, especially deep frying has both a damp forming and yang heating effect on food because it combines the use of oil (a damp food) and heat.

Deep fried fat foods can be very difficult to digest for people with frail digestive systems. In TCM, too much eating of this type of food can lead to damp heat within the body. This root condition, damp heat, points to any kind of painful inflammation or pus-filled inflammation in the body. This condition can usually be seen among fast food adolescent workers who consume for lunch free fries and hamburgers daily and eventually develop cystic acne.

Damp heat can also be seen among middle aged people who consume fried chicken, ribs, steaks, and rump everyday and develop swollen joints. Gout is one historical manifestation of damp heat. It is an arthritic condition affecting the foot and is quite painful. It was known as “the rich man’s disease” or “the disease of kings”. The portly King Henry the Eighth struggled from gout when he wasn’t busy beheading wives and destroying the church. He was a notorious alcoholic and often ate a lot of rich foods.

In TCM, another principle applies in which – a small amount of a flavor can strengthen a body function or an organ. Hence, eating a small amount of grains (sweet) can tonify the abdomen and spleen. A small amount of salt tonifies the kidneys, a small amount of sour foods tonifies the liver, a small amount of pungent foods tonifies the lungs, and a small amount of bitter tonifies the heart.

Conversely, eating too much of a flavor can weaken the same body function or organ. Too much curry (pungent) can impair the lungs and too much refined sugar (sugar) impairs digestion. After consuming strong curry, certain individuals may develop lots of phlegm or mucus later on in their throat.

Eastern Healing Solutions, LLC
10875 Grandview St #2200
Overland Park, KS 66210
(913) 549-4322

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