Healthy eating tips from Chinese medicine

The views on healthy food change all the time, usually depending on the latest research findings. In Chinese medicine, the concept of healthy eating has never changed. Choosing from seasonal and unprocessed food with various colours and flavours to match with individual constitution is the key of a healthy diet. In Chinese medicine, food is considered as important as medicine.

Indeed, we are what we eat!

Same as Chinese medicine herbs, food have different natures: cool, cold, neutral, warm, and hot. The nature of food is determined by the effects they have on the person’s body after consumption. If a person frequently eat the same type of food, it creates imbalance in the body. For example, red meat lovers usually show excessive heat in the body, with symptoms such as feeling hot, sweaty, thirsty, grumpy, and constipation.

Food is also categorised by their taste. There are five different tastes: sour, bitter, sweet, pungent and salty. Each taste of food corresponds to a different organ in Chinese: sour food enters the Liver, bitter food is good for the Heart, sweet food strengthens the Spleen, pungent food nourishes the Lung and salty food goes to the Kidney.  Here Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lung and Kidney refer to Chinese medicine organs, but not those of Western medicine.

The climate is an important factor of our food choices. People from hot and humid places will benefit from eating some spicy food to bring sweat out (to remove dampness from body). Whereas in Geelong, it is dry and windy in most time of the year, residents are recommended not to have too much chilli and spices, but eat more seasonal vegetables and take more soup and broth to reduce the impact of the dry environment.

Here are the tips about food from Chinese medicine

  • Never go to extreme. Eat 70% to 80% full.
  • Always have food or drink with a moderate temperature (not too hot or too cold) and
  • Eat at a regular time every day.
  • Choose the food that meets individual constitutions as everyone is different. There is no one healthy diet that fits for all. We will talk more on this in another blog.
  • In spring, eat more food that is nourishing, such as soup or broth.

Remember it is all about balancing and nurturing the body.