Chinese herbs have been used for centuries. The first traditionally recognized herbalist, Shénnóng, is said to have lived around 2800 BC. There are roughly 13,000 medicinals used in China and over 100,000 medicinal recipes recorded in the ancient literature. In this blog post series, I usually highlight one Chinese herb and its healing properties. However, this post will focus on the role of colorful eating in traditional Chinese medicine.
You’ve probably heard that to eat healthy, you should eat an array of “colorful” foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to ensure proper nutrition and vitamin intake. Colorful foods also play an important role in Chinese traditional medicine, alongside acupuncture and other complementary therapies. Because acupuncture aims to balance the flow of qi or energy within the body, it is necessary to balance the energy of our eating habits as well.
Eating for color, as well as taste, is one way of balancing the body. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is said that there are five important colors, each associated with a different part of the body:
- Yellow is associated with the spleen and stomach. Examples of yellow foods include soybeans, barley, and egg yolks.
- White is associated with improving the health of the lungs. Cauliflower and tofu are foods that aid in lung function.
- Black foods, like black rice, beans, and sesame, are good for the kidneys.
- Green foods, like spinach and broccoli, perform a similar boost for the liver.
- Red foods, not surprisingly, help your heart. Hot red peppers and sweet strawberries are both heart-healthy choices in traditional Chinese philosophy.
Dietary changes can be used safely and effectively, in combination with acupuncture and other herbal remedies, to address common ailments and issues. In my initial visit with all my patients, I create an individualized plan to meet their needs. Whatever your dietary needs, call our Wilmington, NC office- 910-798-8181-to schedule a personalized consultation.