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Chinese Dietary Recommendations


In order to get the most out of acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine, it is very important to support your treatment witht he proper diet and lifestyle. In Chinese medicine, there is the saying, "Seven parts nursing, three parts treatment." Nursing here means proper diet and lifestyle modifications.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM), every food has both a nature and flavor(s). A food's nature is its effect on the temperature of the body. Thus a food can be either hot, warm, neutral, cool, or cold. Since Chinese medicine works on the basis of restoring balance to the body, if one suffers from a hot disease, they should avoid hot foods and eat more cool and cold foods, and vice versa.

Likewise, each food has one or more of the five or six flavors. These are sour, bitter, sweet, spicy (acrid, pungent), salty, or bland tastes. Each flavor is associated with one of the main organs and leads the effcts of that food to that organ. For instance, sore flavor can damage the liver. In addition, each flavor also has a general effect on the body's metabolism. Sour astringers, spicy causes upward and outward movement, salty leads downward and softens, bitter clears heat and also astringes, sweet supplements and also moistens, and bland tasting foods tend to cause urination and seep water.

Therefore, if a person is suffering from lung dryness, they might want to eat pears which are sweet and especially help generate fluids. However, if a person suffers from evil dampness and phlegm, they should avoid pears. This means that whether a food is good or bad for an individual person is entirely dependent upon that person's TCM pattern diagnosis and the nature and flavor of that food. If one konws the nature and flavor of a food and their TCM pattern diagnosis, one can rationally decide on the impact of that food on that person.

The suggestions given below are only general guidelines and should be adjusted for each individual by a qualified practitioner of Chinese dietary therapy based on a professional TCM disease and pattern diagnosis.


For liver imbalances ( liver qi, effulgence of liver yang, depressive liver heat, liver fire harassing above,liver wind), please avoid or minimize the following foods or drinks which aggravate the Chinese concept of the Liver:

--Alcohol; Greasy,fatty,oily foods; Overeating in general; Coffee (both regular & deccaff); Hard to digestion foods such as nuts; Heavy red meats in abundance; Excessive sour foods and drinks; Spicy, pungent, "hot" foods;

For digestive weakness (spleen qi vacuity, spleen yang vacuity, spleen dampness)

--Please avoid or minimize the following: Raw salads, fruits, & vegetables; Pork; Dairy products; Sugar & Sweets; Buckwheat; Beer; Cold drinks with meals; Fruit juices; Melons, strawberries, pears, bananas; Frozen or chilled foods; large doses of vitamin C; lettuce, radishes, celery; Herb teas or over the counter preparations with Echinacea or Goldenseal

--Please eat all warm, cooked foods, plenty of cooked vegetables, rice, noodles, soups, and stews. Be sure grains are well-cooked and easily digestible. Eat more frequent but smaller, easier to digest meals. Drink a teacup of warm water, broth, soup, or herb tea with each meal. You may use black and white pepper, cardamom, fresh ginger, ginger powder, cloves, nutmeg, orange peel, and fennel as cooking spices.

For Excessive phlegm

-- Please avoid or minimize the following: Dairy products; Heavy, hard to digest foods; Pears; Sugar & sweets; Overeating in general; Oily, greasy, fried, & fatty foods; Oats, possibly wheat;

If the phlegm is categorized as hot phlegm, please also avoid or minimize: alcohol; Spicy, pungent, "hot" foods;

For Kidney vacuity weakness (kidney qi vacuity, kidney yang vacuity, kidney qi not consolidating)

-- Please minimize or avoid the following foods and drinks:
Alcohol, Excessive fluids; Chilled, frozen foods & liquids; Coffee & coffeine; Artificial sweeteners; Stimulants, speed, so-called recreational drugs;

For Lung/Kidney Yin vacuityTOP

--Please minimize or avoid the following foods: Spicy, pungent, "hot" foods; Recreational drugs; Coffee & coffeine; Alcohol; Cigarette smoking;

-- You may eat some animal meats, eggs, and dairy; oatmeal; cooked pears and apples as long as your case is not complicated by excessive phlegm

For Damp heat (liver/gallbladder damp heat, spleen damp heat, large intestine damp heat, lower burner damp heat)

-- Please minimize or avoid the following foods and drinks: Sugar & sweets; Spicy, pungent, "hot" foods; Alcohol; Nuts & nut butters; Greasy, oily, fried, & fatty foods; Pork & beef; Citrus fruits & juices especially orange juice;

If Damp heat is complicated by candidiasis, please also avoid or minimize: Vinegar; Yeasted breads and baked goods; Fermented foods (excepting miso, tempeh, shoyu, and yogurt); Any foods which may be contaminated by yeast and molds due to improper or prolonged spoilage.

For Blood Vacuity

--Please eat plenty of the following foods: cooked leafy greens; Meat and marrow broths and soups; Regular small portions of animal protein; Black beans; Easily digestible grains; Orange & yellow vegetables; Cherries, beets, grapes, & raspberries

Everyone should try to eat fresh food, freshly prepared, with a minimum of chemicals, preservatives, or additives. Grains should be cooked thoroughly to allow for easy and complete digestion. Vegetables, on the other hand, should not be overcooked so as to conserve valuable vitamins and enzymes. Sugar, salt, oil, and fat consumption should generally be kept low. Most people should try to eat large amounts of roughage and fiber. Dietary changes for chronic disease should be implemented slowly over a period of time but made a continuous part of one's lifestyle. In addition to a healthy diet, it is vitally important to get adequate exercise and rest. These are the three therapies which are the basis of good health.

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