We need food to live but often we don’t think about how this food nourishes our bodies and maintains our health. Some think they already know but it is said that you don’t know what you don’t know.
We eat to live but often we live to eat. When the taste of food becomes an important part of eating, learning how different tastes affect your health can give you a greater insight into feeding yourself in a way that you feel your best.
In Traditional Chinese medicine the taste of food is categorized into five flavors.
In the 5 element framework each flavor is responsible for the function of a major organ. Eating these 5 flavors together balances your health, helps you recover from illness and can even prevent you from getting sick.
The 5 tastes have clear actions, they calm, clear, tonify, expel and dissolve;
- Sour flavor can calm the body.
- Bitter flavor can clear heat.
- Sweet flavor can tonify the body.
- Pungent flavor can expel wind and cold from the body.
- Salty flavor can help the body to dissolve stagnation.
Each organ is associated with a flavor;
- Heart – Bitter
- Liver – Sour
- Spleen – Sweet
- Kidney – Salty
- Lung – Spicy
Theoretically according to the 5 element theory, the a particular flavor can boost and nourish the associated organ.
Each taste is also correlated with a season and an element;
- Heart – Summer - Fire
- Liver – Spring - Wood
- Spleen – Late Summer – Earth
- Lungs – Autumn - Metal
- Kidneys – Winter - Water
Certain flavors act on one organ more than others. The organs will try to balance themselves through what you eat. You can also identify if an organ is sick because the body will send signals through cravings for a specific taste. . If you crave a certain flavor this could be a sign from your body that the organ might have a disorder and you can take measures to assure its healthy.
The more you consciously include a variety of the five tastes in preparing your, the more satisfying and nutritionally enhanced your meals can be. Even just a small amount of a herb or spice can contribute to this balance.
Each organ pair is either cooling or warming Yin or Yang;
- Small Intestine
- Large Intestine
Yin and Yang foods are types of cooling or warming energy.
Some basic foods that fall into each category.
- BITTER – Kale, collards, parsley, mustard greens, celery, arugula, endive
- SALTIY – Sea salt, sesame salt, miso, tamari, sea vegetables, pickles
- SWEET – Corn, parsnips, cooked onions, yams, cooked grains, squash, cooked cabbage, carrots, , fruit
- SOUR – Lemon, lime, pickles, fermented dishes, sauerkraut,
- PUNGENT – Ginger, raw onions, garlic, scallions, white radish, red radish, wasabi, spices There might be one flavor that you don’t like but when you mix it with another it will feel more balanced and you might enjoy it better as the flavors can balance each other out.
There are many Qigong exercises that stretch the energy channels associated with the organs and conditions them to keep them in good health.
If you want to know more about Seasonal health join the live or recorded workshop for each season on my website Greenearthmind.com
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