If your mother had x-ray vision and eyes on the back of her head that saw everything, it’s probably because her body’s innate intelligence knew she ate a lots of red foods whose properties nourish the eyes and vision. The practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) teaches the Five Element theory, where each element relates to a season, flavor, color, organ, bodily system and other properties influencing human life. The body’s intuitive knowledge differentiates between foods not only by their vitamin and mineral content — but by their taste and color, and the season in which they provide their optimal nutritional support. This instinct affords your body a chance to vary its focus throughout the seasons, benefiting from specific foods that best support each organ system.
The Five elements
Below is a brief look at how each element interrelates with its season, color, organ, taste buds and primary emotion — all affecting human health and well-being.
· Wood — Spring — Green — Liver/Gall bladder — Sour — Anger
· Fire — Early summer — Red — Heart/Small intestine — Bitter — Happiness
· Earth — Late summer — Yellow — Spleen/Stomach — Thought — Sweet
· Metal — Autumn — White — Lungs/Large intestine — Spicy — Sorrow
· Water — Winter — Black — Kidneys/Bladder — Salty — Fear
Each color has vastly different properties whose effects are part of the overall constellation of good health. Since foods, organs and seasons are inextricably related, eating certain foods during their designated seasons increases their effects on the body to both prevent and heal disease in the related organs and systems.
Supercharge, protect and heal with colored foods
· Red nourishes the heart, circulatory system, brain, small intestine, and the eyes. Common foods with strong red pigments are carrots, tomatoes, strawberries, pomegranates, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, sweet potatoes, red pepper, red dates. Red foods are high in lycopene, antioxidants and anthocyanins, boosting the immune system, fighting free radicals and protecting against cancer and vision problems.
· Green foods nourish the liver and gall bladder, improve eye site and boosts immunity. Spinach provides the most nourishment for the liver according to TCM. Additionally, foods such as romaine, cabbage, green beans, broccoli, cucumber, celery and bok choy. High in phytochemicals, green foods fight disease and are loaded with vitamins.
· Yellow foods nourish the stomach and spleen, relieves mouth ulcers, muscle pains, lessens swelling with their diuretic properties and helps the pancreas produce insulin. Choose dandelion — a common herbal diuretic tonic — squash, oranges, grapefruit, cantaloupe, barley, leeks, pumpkins, yellow apples, egg yolks, corn, soybeans.
· Black foods nourish and strengthen the kidneys, bladder and urinary tract. Black rice, black sesame seeds, walnuts, black kelp, currants, sea cucumber, woodear and black mushrooms. Black foods protect against kidney stones and cancer.
· White foods support the lungs and large intestine and include pears, white radish, onions, garlic, white beans, winter melon, tofu, cauliflower, jicama. White foods are high in allicin, which reduces blood sugar and has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to fight cancer and heart disease.
Taste and cravings
A desire for a specific tasting food often represents the body’s natural intelligence at work, craving certain nutrition through the specific taste related to its element. It’s wise to pay attention to any unusual food cravings. This doesn’t imply that giving in to food cravings are good for you. When the body is in balance, it instinctively knows what it needs. If you find yourself craving unhealthy foods excessively, you have a problem and should seek help.
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