About the Five Elements of Food According to the Ancient Chinese, all things in the world can be divided

into fi ve vibrational families and the elements of Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. In the body, these five elements represent the five major organs - the kidneys, the liver, the heart, the stomach and the lungs - all of which are necessary fo r survival. Usually one of these organs is stronger than the others giving extr a energy to that organ and helping people to behave in certain ways and clearly influences personality and lifestyle choices - things like food, fun, fashion, d ecorating, sleeping, playing, etc. And, one of the organs is usually slightly d eficient and needs building up. When you are strong in one element, you usually need to build up the other elements to find balance. In the Five Element system, it is important to balance these elements within and without for optimum health. Learning to balance the five elements of food help s ensure that you receive enough nutrients from what you eat and supports the co rresponding organs. One of the best ways to create balance in the body is to ea t more foods that correspond to all the five flavors : Salty, Sour, Bitter, Swee t and Savory or Pungent in a way that most suits your personal needs. Here's a brief list of foods associated with each element: and their actions on the body: Water: All salty foods and dark foods, foods that are purple, black or blue. A lso, fresh fish and salted fish, salted meat, caviar and other fish eggs, shellf ish, pork, eggs, beans, seaweed and sea vegetables, soy sauce, miso, figs, blueb erries, blackberries, eggplant, kale, wild rice, walnuts and black sesame seeds are water foods. These foods have a softening effect and promote moisture and ca lming of the body. They most benefit thin, dry and nervous people. Wood: All sour foods and many green, fast growing foods, especially those with g reen stalks. Also, chicken, liver, most wild game, wheat, greens like bok choy, chard, broccoli rabe and spinach, sprouts, asparagus and celery, citrus fruits - especially lemons, oranges, grapefruit, plum, pineapple, starfruit, sourdough, vinegar, yogurt, kimchi, pickles of all kinds, sauerkraut and olives are wood f oods. These foods can obstruct movement and function as astringents. They most benefit changeable, erratic and scattered people. Fire: All bitter foods and most red foods, especially food that looks like hear ts, dried food and hot foods. Also lamb, venison, letttuce and arugula, dandeli on and watercress, tomatoes, citrus peel, kumquats, apricots, plums, raspberries , strawberries, rhubarb, peppers, hot chiles, black pepper cayenne, wine, beer, coffee, tea, dark chocolate and carbonated beverages are fire foods These foods can reduce heat and dry fluids. They most benefit slow, overweight, overheated and aggressive people. Earth: All sweet and starchy foods, particularly yellow and orange foods and ma ny root vegetables and very sweet soft fruits. Also, beef, millet, barley, rye, sugar, milk chocolate, corn, oats, cooked onion, watermelon, cantaloupe, sweet apples, sweet cherries, dates, grapes, peaches, carrots, cabbage, potato, sweet potato, banana and plantains, yam, okra, taro, beets, button and chantarelle mus hrooms, winter and summer squash, cucumbers, almond, coconut and other tropical fruits like papayas, cherimoyas and mangos are earth foods. So are lentils and d ried peas, honey, maple syrup, rice syrup and barley syrup. These foods slow dow n acute symptoms and neutralize toxins. They most benefit dry, nervous and weak people and they calm aggression. Metal: All savory foods, pungent foods and white foods, many herbs and spices a nd prepared condiments. You don't need a lot of metal foods as they are strong a nd spicy (not hot) or very simple. The newly discovered tastebuds for the "Umami " flavor is proof of the metal element and includes glutamate - found in shitake and porcini mushrooms, parmesan cheese and fish sauce that gives these foods th at special savory flavor. Also, white rice, milk, cream, white cheeses, raw onio

The Five Elements are: Fire.Wood Deep Frying. Sauteing. chives. Stir Frying. Mincing.Wa ter Grilling. The more colorful the dish or me al. cloves. Carmelizing. Poaching. anis e. Dic ing . For example. they become eartthier. Condiments. Stewing. Roasting. Freezing and Sous Vide Cooking . Many foods cross can be more than one element at a time. one must first understan d the basic categorizations of the five elements. radish . mustard. horseradish. Finishing Sauces. Boiling. mustard greens. These foods have a dispersing effect and promote energ y circulation. lotus root. Eating the 5 Element Food way is healthy. It is best to buy locally grown or raised food or grow it yourself a s this helps connect you to the place you live.Five Element Theory Submitted by Chad Dupuis on Tue. garlic. Toasting. or factors. lethargic and cold people. Try to eat food that is as fresh as possible or preserved well for f uture use. The s tyle of cooking also influences the five elements: Soups. rosemary. and nutmeg are all considered metal foods. cilantro and coriander seeds. Campfire Cooking . tarragon.n.Fire Baking. cauliflower. fun. Garnishes. Jams and Jellies. Or they may change at different states of growth so that when it is unripe versus when it is ripe. marjoram. Essentially. which have an inter-relationsh ip which must be kept in balance. nutritious and delicious! Home Subscribe to: Posts (Atom) TCM Nutrition . scal lions. When they are very sweet. belo ng to the fire element.Earth Composed Foods.especially daikon. mint.Metal It is also important to eat according to the seasons: Winter is the Water Eleme nt. Earth. turnip. 07/11/2006 . parsley. Steaming. Meta l is Fall. Searing. thyme. Spring is the Wood Element Fire is Early Summer. Appetizers and Snacks . cinnamon. damp. wasabi. To understand how the theory relates to nutrition. Smoking. there are five elements. tomatoes when green are quite sour and therefore belong more to the wood element and when they are ripe. Dehydrating. For example. The chart below describes some of the common categorizations which fall under each element: FIRE EARTH . Mashing. raw onion is the metal element because of its pungency whereas cooked onion is very sweet and becomes earthy.4:16pm The eastern medical theory of the five elements provides a framework which aids one in making food choices that will be most beneficial to a person at a given t ime. They most benefit sluggish. Metal. kohlrabi. the more of the five elements have been involved. Des erts and Candy . Flambeing. fennel seed and bulb. Earth is Late Summer. basil. Curing. tofu. Others can be assigned to different elements based on how they are cooked. Pureeing. Wat er and Wood. pears. Pickling and Fermenting. Julienne . dill.

) and not supporting M etal (Lung) resulting in an Asthmatic condition. it is important to understand how the elements relate to one another. Following the five element theory. Before discussing how food fits into the theory. take a person experiencing problems with asthma. Asthma may present as a phlegm-damp co ndition. it is the "tastes". First is the Mother-Son relationship (also known as the sheng. generation. helps support Earth and the C ontrol Cycle shows that Fire controls the growth of Metal. then. These are presented below: promotion cycle control cycle The Generating Cycle shows that Fire. The chart be low describes some of the common foods which serve to nourish their respective e lement: FIRE (bitter) EARTH (sweet) METAL (pungent) WATER (salty) . production or creation cycle) and the Gran dparent-Grandchild relationship (also known as the ke. To understand how thi s might be applied. Asthma is a Metal (Lung) condition sometimes with an underlying psychological component of grief or sadness. for example. etc. There are two main relationships which you must be familiar with to understand t he application of the five element theory. we see that the Earth (Spleen) may be weak (phlegm-damp coming from poor digestion. From a TCM perspective. ko or control cycle). Above is just an example to show how the theory is applied.METAL WATER WOOD Yin Organs HT & PC SP LU Yang Organs SI & TH ST LI Sense Organs Tongue Colors red yellow Sounds Laughing Emotions Joy Anger Seasons Summer Environment Heat Tastes Bitter Sweet KD LV Eyes green Groaning Shouting Grief or Sadness Fear UB GB Mouth Nose Ears white blue/black Singing Crying Worry or Pensiveness Late Summer Dampness Pungent Autumn Winter Spring Dryness Cold Wind Salty Sour While the entire chart is helpful as a diagnostic and treatment tool. "seasons" and "environment" correlations which have the strongest rela tionship with nutrition. we will continue wit h this example as we incorporate food into the five element theory.

WOOD (sour) Grains Amaranth Corn Millet Barley Rice Buckwheat Oats Wheat Rye Legumes Red Lentil Garbanzo Peas Navy Soy Aduki Black Kidney Pinto Green Lentil Mung Lima Nuts/Seeds Sunflower Pistachio Pine Nut Pumpkin Almonds Black Sesame Walnut Brazil Cashew Vegetables Beet Dandelion Root Okra Red Bell Pepper Scallion Tomato Cabbage Carrot Parsnip Rutabaga Spinach Squash Asparagus Broccoli Celery Cucumber Mustard Green Onion Radish Kale Mushrooms Seaweeds Water chestnut Green Bell Pepper Green Pea Lettuce String Bean Zucchini Fruits Cherry Persimmon Fig Orange Papaya Pineapple Strawberry Apricot Banana Pear Mulberry Pomegranate Raspberry Watermelon Avocado Grape Lemon Lime .

deeply nourishing foods. it is important to note that there are different food groupings which com e not only from differing opinions but also complexities within the theory that leave a particular food open to interpretation. These factors along with the categorizations are worked into a persons diagnosis and general constitution to establish food groupings which overall help to stre ngthen the individual. Other factors which influence th e grouping of a food and your food choices are: Therapeutic Actions: Bitter (Fire) foods are generally cooling (yin) and encourage contraction an d the descending of energy Sweet (Earth) foods are generally strengthening (yang) and encourage energy to expand upward and outward Pungent (Metal) foods are generally warming (yang) and encourage energy to e xpand and move outward Salty (Water) foods are generally cooling (yin) and encourage energy to move in and down Sour (Wood) foods are generally cooling (yin) and encourage energy to contra ct and collect Temperature . The rest of an individuals preferences such as eating org . with functions from Paul Pitchford's "Healing With Who le Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition".Within each categorization foods have differing temperature qu alities which. sweet and bitter categories and avoid foods which aggravate these el ements .transforms phlegm Pear . hot) we require more cooling foods and in the w inter (water. While the information presented here is intended to provide you with the basic t heory.resolves phlegm and inflammations of the upper respiratory system Radish . Lung) condition you would decrease your intake of some of the foods which are generall y cooling within the Metal element such as the fruits. From the chart we would choose a majority of our foods from the Metal grouping and an ample select ion from both the Earth and Fire categorizations until our condition changes. the f ive element theory would suggest that we would want to eat foods which strengthe n the Metal (Lung). improve energy cir culation Onions . strengthens spleen Navy Beans . In the summer (fire. for example.The current season will also play a role in which foods you may cho ose to eat. For example. benefits the lungs and spleen (both aspects of th e metal element) Almonds . An example of food choices.affects the lungs.sugar.influence lungs.dairy (which may add mucus/phlegm). In this case you would want to eat foods which fall into t he pungent. may not be used during cer tain seasons or conditions. it is most important to eat foods which follow the basic tast es which correspond to the element that you are trying to strengthen and avoid f oods which weaken it. while generally good for that element. Earth (Spleen) and Fire (Heart) Elements. would be: Brown Rice . cold) we require more warming. Season .relieve stagnant qi of the lungs. transform phlegm Mustard Greens .sweet flavor.increases qi. meat (which may weaken the splee n) and sweeteners (which may weaken the spleen and contribute to dampness) In general and lacking the in-depth discussion from Paul Pitchford's text and ot hers.Plum Cautions Sugar Meat Chocolate Eggs Cheese Soft Dairy Using the above chart and our previous example of Phlegm-Damp type Asthma. eliminates phlegm Avoid . clear chest congestion. meat and eggs. if you had a common cold (Metal.

anically grown foods or not.yinyanghouse. http://www. choosing to eat animal foods or not. can then be factored in to decide your final food choices.com/theory/chinese/five_element_nutrition_theory . etc.

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