Foods eaten during the four seasons have different impacts on the human body. Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, philosophy suggests that you embrace your native foods. If possible, eat locally grown foods and those in season. What is unhealthy about the modern diet is that particular foods are now available all year long and may be chemically treated instead of being grown naturally.
- is the season of new birth and new growth.
- belongs to the wood element and dominates liver functioning.
- is the time to reduce the intake of sour flavors and increase sweet and pungent flavors.
- foods include onions, leeks, Chinese yam, wheat, dates, cilantro, mushrooms, spinach and bamboo shoots. Also, fresh green and leafy vegetables, sprouts, bananas, pears, water chestnuts, sugar cane, celery and cucumber.
- is not the time for frozen and fried foods, and should only be taken in moderation as they are harmful to the spleen and stomach.
- People are more energetic and blood flow is more vigorous at this time. According to the five elements theory, an over-functioning heart restricts the lung functioning.
- It is advisable to eat food with pungent flavors and reduce bitter flavors. Eat foods with sour and salty flavors to help ease symptoms of being easily annoyed, low spirit, restlessness and sleeping difficulties.
- The recommended foods for keeping the body cool and balanced are watermelon, strawberries, tomatoes, cucumber, sprouts and fish. In general, the daily diet should contain more vegetables and fruit at this time so as to stimulate the appetite and provide adequate fluids.
- TCM believes that autumn correlates with the lung system, which dominates the skin, respiration, body fluids metabolism, blood circulation, immunity and emotion.
- It is advisable to eat foods with sour flavors and reduce pungent flavors.
- The dry weather usually causes an itchy throat, a dry nose, chapped lips, rough skin, hair loss and dry stools. We need to eat to promote the production of body fluids and their lubricating effects throughout the body.
- Beneficial foods for this are mushrooms, nuts or seeds, pear, pumpkin and honey. Eating things like onion, ginger and peppers can induce perspiration, while sour foods like pineapple, apple, grapefruit and lemon have astringent properties and thus prevent the loss of body fluids.
- Winter corresponds to the kidney system, according to the five elements theory, and a hyperactive kidney inhibits the heart, which leads to palpitations, cardiac pain, limb coldness and fatigue.
- It is advisable to eat foods with bitter flavors while reducing salty flavors, so as to promote a healthy heart and reduce the workload of the kidney.
- We should consume healthy fats like olive oil and avocado. Chinese yam, sesame, dates, bamboo shoot, mushrooms, leek and nuts are appropriate ingredients in dishes at this time. Foods with bitter flavors include apricot, asparagus, celery, tea, grapefruit, hops, kohlrabi, lettuce, radish leaves and kale.
- People may experience problems such as bronchitis, sore throats, peptic ulcers and skin problems. It is necessary to balance the diet with cool dishes and lots water in the winter.