Chinese medicine has a unique perspective on lifestyle, diet and health. It follows the theory of yin and yang, which is the universal theory of relationships based on opposites and the observation of natural phenomena. Chinese Diet Therapy is a part of medicine that characterizes certain foods to determine their effects on the body. Through the diagnosis of symptoms, pulse and tongue, acupuncturists recommend a balanced diet specific to the diagnosis. The characteristics of food involve the following aspects: the four thermal natures and the five tastes.
The thermal natures are hot, warm, neutral and cold.
The five tastes are: pungent, sweet, sour, bitter, salty
Foods with their inherent nature as mentioned above create changes in the body based on their synergistic effect. Hot foods are usually meat and spicy foods. Cold foods are raw vegetables and all frozen or cold products such as sodas, salads, etc. They should generally be avoided unless prescribed as cooling herbs to clear inflammation. Acrid or spicy foods usually disperse, so they can be used in many external illnesses such as colds or flu. Sugary foods provide energy and nourishment to the body, but their excessive consumption can lead to various disorders such as diabetes and obesity. Acidic foods are astringent and binding and may be beneficial for bleeding, sweating and diarrhea. Bitter foods release heat in the body, which is the cause of many diseases that cause inflammation. Salty foods and herbs can help dissolve hard nodules. Thermal natures and flavors can also be combined for a synergistic effect.
In general, there are three types of foods that should be limited: cold, hot/spicy, and fried or moisture-creating foods.
Cold foods should be avoided by weak and elderly people. These foods can slow digestion and make existing conditions worse. Hot soups and vegetables cooked with appropriate ingredients are a better alternative. It is beneficial for digestion and can also help increase concentration.
Fried foods should be limited as they create moist heat in the body, which is a cause and trigger for many symptoms. Existing autoimmune conditions may be aggravated by such foods. Dairy products are also a moisture-creating food and should be limited by those with certain chronic conditions. Wet or phlegm-forming foods should also be limited by those with asthma and other respiratory conditions involving mucous membranes.
Hot and spicy foods are very harmful to digestion and can aggravate other disorders. It creates heat in the body which, in combination with moist foods, can increase inflammation. A balanced approach and taste should be favored in a daily diet.
In addition to a balanced diet, it is also very important to observe and adapt your lifestyle according to the signs and symptoms. Symptoms can be thought of as the body’s way of asking for help. The body through its symptoms requires certain lifestyle changes. I recommend proper sleep, rest and meditation to calm the minds of my patients. Meditation is very important for people with anxiety, insomnia and depression. It can help calm the mind and maintain mental balance. Sleep and proper rest are necessary for healing while receiving acupuncture.