Friday, February 26, 2021

The Five Food Flavors in Oriental Medicine

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No one eats food with always considering its nutritional value; instead, people take it by their own yardstick based on the acquired instinct.

In the oriental medicine, the flavors of food are classified into five: sweet, sour, bitter, spicy and salty. Followings are, viewed from the oriental medicine, each characteristic of taste.

  • (1) Sweet foods – Supplementing the functions of the spleen and the stomach thereby causing someone to gain weight
  • (2) Sour foods – Toughening the functions of the liver with making strong muscles
  • (3) Bitter foods – Helping the heart for the active and good conditions of blood
  • (4) Spicy foods – Strengthening the lungs for the higher and better status of stamina
  • (5) Salty foods – Maintaining and developing the wellness of the kidneys and nerve system for growth

Ordinarily, when taken evenly, it can give us the good health condition; however, when it’s not, some diseases may strike the body. In too many cases, people of this century only seem to have the preference over the foods of sweet taste; therefore lots of them are suffering from the diseases like obesity, osteoporosis, etc.

Other than these, various infections and tumors are proliferating due to the reduced immunity to many pathogenic factors. The biased dietary pattern which is mainly tilted toward the sweet taste can be corrected by the foods like vinegar, vegetable enzyme both of which have the sour taste and seaweed, oyster both of which are salty.

However, too much intake of sour foods may impair the liver and cause some related diseases owing to the unbalanced overflow and strength of ‘qi’ in the liver. In this case, spicy foods like pepper, garlic and onion may offset the imbalance.

In general, people don’t like to have the foods bitter; without it, the purity and circulation of blood in the heart may be badly affected. To be brief, it is important to recover the balance of taste; among them the sweet foods are the key factor.

Wang Wei
Wang Wei is a holistic health practitioner in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

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