Eastern nutrition and diet recommendations

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  • Eat in season, local grown food and a wholesome diet at least 90% of the time.
  • Eat according to your constitution: if you’re from an Asian background, you probably won’t do well on dairy because it’s not part of that continent’s diet. If you’re from a Scandinavian background, you probably won’t do well with very spicy foods, as again it isn’t part of the northern Europe’s diet. 
  • Eat according to where you are in your life and adapt to changes. If you’re a menopausal woman and are hot all the time, even though, you used to be cold most of your life, it’s time to adapt and avoid warming foods such as hot spices, alcohol or lamb. If you have a constant stuffy nose and allergies in the spring, you need to avoid mucus forming foods such as dairy, wheat, sugar and beer. 
  • For a complete diet assessment: talk to your acupuncturist.

The 5 flavors of foods and their influence on our health

According to Chinese Medicine, there are 5 main food flavors: Pungent (spicy), Sour, Sweet, Salty & Bitter.
It is important to have a balance diet with all flavors. If a person has not reached optimum health, then some foods with certain flavors may help restore a healthy body and mind. Here are the 5 flavors and their healing properties, as well as their cautions. Now you can incorporate more or less of these foods depending on your health and condition.

Sour

Properties
Cooling, contracting, astringent, prevent fluid leakage, dry & firm tissues

Uses
Incontinence, excess sweating, hemorrhage, diarrhea, flaccid skin, prolapse, hemorrhoids

Organs
Liver & Gallbladder, helps in digestion & strengthen weak Lung

Season: Best used in Fall

Caution
Limit if there is dampness, constipation, or tendons & joints problems

Sour foods
Lemon, lime, pickles, rose hip, sauerkraut, sour plum, Granny smith apple

Sour & Bitter: Vinegar

Sour & pungent: Leek

Sour & Sweet
Adzuki bean, blackberries, cheese, grape, mango, olive, raspberry, sourdough bread, tomato, yogurt

Bitter

Properties
Cooling, descending, clears & reduces, lower fever, dry fluid, drain dampness, induce bowel movement

Uses
Inflammation, infection, high cholesterol, overweight, high blood pressure, yeast candida, mucus, swelling, skin eruption, cysts, edema, swelling, constipation 

Organs
Heart & Small intestine, remove lung mucus & help strengthen kidney

Season: Best used in winter, at any time if heat symptoms

Caution
Osteoporosis people, weak, thin, deficient, dry, cold people

Bitter foods
Dandelion, valerian, chamomille, burdock, Echinacea, alfalfa, romaine lettuce, rye

Bitter & Pungent
Radish, scallion, turnip

Bitter & Sweet
Amaranth, asparagus, celery, lettuce, papaya, quinoa

Sweet

Properties
Ascending, goes outward, harmonizing, slowing, relaxing, build fluids tonifying thin-dry weak people.

Uses
Slows acute disease (common cold, flu), stress, tension, nervousness, older people especially frail ones.

Organs
Spleen & Stomach, soothe Liver, calm Heart mind

Season: Best used in between seasons but may be used in all seasons

Caution
Overweight & sluggish people & those with lots of damp signs

Sweet
Beans, peas, lentils, all meat, date, apricot, cherry, fig, carrot, cucumber, eggplant, potato, sweet potato, yam, almond, walnut, sesame & sunflower seed, all sugars, most dairies

Sweet & Sour
Grape, peach, pear, strawberry, Tomato, olive

Sweet & Bitter
Papaya, lettuce, celery

Sweet & Pungent
Spearmint, cabbage

Spicy

Properties
Disperse, expand, stimulate circulation, ascending & outward direction

Uses
Help in digestion, protect against common cold, induce sweat, increase energy, kill parasites.

Organs
Lung & Large intestine, clear lung mucus, reduce gas from intestine, moves the Liver & improve Heart circulation

Season: Best used in the spring

Caution
Avoid all pungent warm food if heat signs in body, not for weak thin dry people

Pungent warm
Spearmint, rosemary, scallion, garlic, onion, cinnamon, ginger, hot peppers, cayenne, dill, anise, cloves, fennel

Pungent cool
Peppermint, marjoram, white pepper, radish 

Pungent neutral
Turnip, Taro, kohlrabi

Salty

Properties
Cooling, descending, moistens, soften hard lumps, reduce stiffness, detoxify, purge bowel

Uses
Lymph nodes, cataract, constipation, abdomen swelling, skin problems, sore throat, no appetite

Organs
Kidney & Bladder. Strengthen Spleen, fortify the mind

Season: Best used in the Fall & winter

Caution
Overweight, sluggish people, edema, high blood pressure, signs of damp

Salty
Seaweed, kelp, salt iodine, pickles, miso, soy sauce

Salty & sweet
Barley, Millet

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