Nutrition & Chinese Medicine

The Chinese approach to a balanced diet emphasizes tailoring it to individual needs. Typically, it suggests consuming yin foods in winter and yang foods in summer while incorporating all five tastes—spicy, sour, bitter, sweet, and salty—to achieve balance.

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Specific tastes in foods and herbs correlate with particular properties. Bitter items, for instance, tend to be drying and cold, making them beneficial for treating damp heat conditions but unsuitable for individuals who are excessively cold and dry. They often possess antibiotic-like properties. Conversely, foods with a salty taste tend to be warming and moistening, suitable for treating cold and dryness but requiring caution for those who are hot and damp.

Meats are generally considered yang, while vegetables are seen as yin. However, food preparation methods also influence the yang or yin energy of a meal. For example, frying increases yang, whereas steaming increases yin. Therefore, stir-fried veggies are more yang compared to steamed ones. Someone yang deficient might prefer stir-fried vegetables, while a yin deficient individual could benefit more from consuming steamed veggies. Cooked and warm foods offer more warmth compared to raw and cold ones. A cooked, warm celery dish, such as in a stir-fry, will be more warming and yang than raw celery in a cold salad.

The emphasis lies on individual needs; there’s no universal, one-size-fits-all dietary approach in this philosophy.

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