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Five Colors that Nourish Five Organs

by ZHONGKE USA on April 12, 2011

• In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory, according to the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, water) doctrine, the natural flavors (sour, bitter, sweet, acrid, salty), five colors of food (green, red, yellow, white, black) are linked with many properties of things. This shows the relationship between human and nature.
• Human live in between the sky and the earth; it, in the natural environment, is a part that makes up the material world, and should be fused with nature. There are colorful plants in nature, moisturized and growing under the sunlight and rain, providing food sources for human beings. The body’s five internal organs and nature’s five colors are closely linked.
• Five colors that people are familiar with in daily life (green, red, yellow, white and black), works at different organs, and each one play a different role. Different colors of food are vastly different with their effectiveness on maintaining health. Different colors of food and their properties are not the same, and their effects are different too.

_Green nourishes liver
Common green color food are those things like green beans, spinach (the most liver nourishing dish), broccoli, cucumber, gourd, celery, leek, green pepper, crowndaisy chrysanthemum, lettuce, cabbage, shepherd’s purse (its name in Changsha: rapeseed, has heat-eliminating and antihypertension effects), Chinese cabbage, kidney beans, fresh kidney beans, water spinach (called Yong Choi and four voices in Changsha), Gynura cusimba, green amaranth, yin radish, pak choi, bitter gourd (eliminates heat at heart the most, and can secrete insulin), fruits and so on.

_Red nourishes the heart
Common red-color food are red beans, sweet potatoes, carrots (the vegetable that protects the eyes the most, strengthen the spleen and protects the liver), red pepper, red dates, tomatoes, hawthorn, cedar, strawberry, etc.

_Yellow benefits the spleen and stomach
Common yellow-colored food are soybeans, burdock (best at eliminating spleen and stomach heat, you can make bones stew soup by combining with red and white radish), foot yam (best type of food in treatment of oral ulcers), barley, (sweet, mild and slightly cooling nature, can diuret and relieve swelling, strengthen the spleen and eliminate dampness, relieves muscular rheumatism, relieves heat and eliminates pus and other effects, commonly used as a diuretic and eliminate dampness medicine) leeks, pumpkin (to produce insulin, and treat diabetes related symptoms), apples, egg yolks, maize, corn, etc.

_White moistens lungs
Common white color foods include white beans, winter melon, pear, white radish, white fungus, lotus root, lily, wild rice, rice, tofu, cauliflower, bamboo shoots, yam, jicama and so on.

_Black nourishes the kidneys
Common black color food include black beans, black rice, black sesame, black fungus, walnut (not black, but it is a food that nourishes the kidneys), seaweed, kelp (also a food that moistens the lungs).

• Often, taste preferences represent the body’s need for certain elements. In other words: likes (at food) usually mean needs. For example: where there is “heating” (burning) in your stomach, you will feel uncomfortable and hot after eating hot peppers and ginger. On the flip side, you will feel good to eat, and feel comfortable after eating. As pepper and ginger are warming food, its role is to eliminate wetness and dispel cold. We must carefully observe what we need and what we lack in our daily lives, and replenish our needs at the appropriate time. One must learn to identify food in the cold nature and warm nature, and to distinguish between Yin and Yang so as to help your own body feel better.
• Having preferences does not mean that one should indulge in certain eating habits. Because indulgent eating habits, without restraint, could cause body ailments. For example, large amount of greasy and oily food constantly consumed during meals might cause fatty liver and high cholesterol, etc. Any favorite food you like will still require moderation; knowing when to stop will ensure that your health would not be impaired.

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