Know Your Food
Foods are made not equal, even if they are in the same category such as vegetable or meat, etc. Each food is truly the gift of nature with our needs in mind. There are more to each food than just vitamin, mineral, calorie and fat as known by western food science. Each food has its unique nature, characteristics, photychemicals, glyconutrients, functional properties and health benefits. Modern science has only scratched the surface in understanding food and knowing fully how each food does to our body.
Food should be more than just to fill our hunger but as the nutritional source for our body to strive and to prevent and cure sickness. Using food as medicine and medicine as food is not only practical and economical; there is no unknown side effect as many in drugs. To apply this approach to manage health, we need to know our body constitution and health condition first. Then getting the right information about food is essential in knowing what to choose to meet our needs. Since our body conditions change all the time with season and with age, our food choices have to adjust accordingly in order to keep our body in balance. Too much of the good things can be bad.
The nature, characteristic and taste of foods determine their healthful effects:
Foods are classified by their nature: cold, cool, neutral, warm and hot. Their functional characteristics are suppressing, stimulating, expelling, absorbing, moving downward, uplifting, drying, moisturizing, dissolving and cumulating. They can change the internal environment and conditions of our body to facilitate repair, rebuilt, detoxify, maintenance and regeneration.
Cool and cold foods- Effect: cooling, detoxifying, calming, anti-inflammatory, clearing and regulating. Examples of cool foods are celery, duck, white turnip, winter melon, and tomato, etc. Examples of cold foods are banana, clams, pear, grapefruit and persimmon, etc.
Warm and hot foods- Effect: stimulating, uplifting, promoting metabolism, increasing energy and improving lung and digestive functions. Examples of hot foods are chili, pepper, lychee, longan and mango, etc. Examples of warm foods are beef, garlic, coriander, ginger, etc.
Bitter taste foods - Effects: anti-inflammatory, diuretic, astringent blood, clear heat and detoxify, Benefit heart, small intestine and neurological system. Examples are bitter melon, apricot seed, gingko, pig liver, etc.
Sour taste foods - Effects: calm nerve, contain bacteria, expand blood vessels, lower blood pressure, and regulate perspiration, digestive track and urinal track. Can prevent arthritis and has astringent effects. Benefit liver, gall bladder and eyes. Examples are vinegar, lemon, orange, tomato, papaya, etc.
Salty taste foods - Effects: prevent and regulate kidney. Benefit bladder, ears and strengthen bones. Examples are salt, kelp, seaweed, sea food, etc.
Pungent taste foods - Effects: stimulating, dispersing, strengthen heart, contract blood vessels, elevate blood pressure, regulate respiratory glands and promote intestinal movement. Benefit lung, nose, breathing, qi and blood. Examples are wine, pepper, onion, garlic, mustard, mustard green, curry, choy-sum, etc.
Sweet taste foods - Effects: regulating, harmonizing, improve immune system, promote digestive enzymes, regulate digestion and strengthen muscle. Benefit spleen system. Examples are grains, beans, potato, carrot, egg, sugar cane, pork, etc.
Neutral taste foods - Effects: diuretic. Examples are water melon, job's tears, lily, etc.
Learn More About Food
Let food be thy medicine and
medicine be thy food."
- Hippocrates circa 431 B.C.
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