Are You Eating Right for Your Five Element Body Type?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a medical system that has been around for nearly 3,000 years, views the body differently than modern medicine. Traditional Chinese dietary principles are influenced by the Five Element body types – wood, fire, earth, metal and water.
When the body is broken down to its core, its tiniest molecules can be classified as energy. This means every element of the universe resides within the human body, to some degree. And every organ has its own properties and energies that must remain balanced for the body to function properly.
The energies within the body must be a perfect synergy of elements. This allows for homeostatic balance, biochemical balance, longevity and harmony between the body and mind.
The food we put in our mouths can either fuel us or slowly weaken us. By knowing which TCM body type we fit into based on the five elements, wood, fire, water, earth or metal, we can then eat a balanced diet that will allow us to remain healthy and strong throughout our lives. Here are some guidelines that may be helpful.
The wood element body type tends to be slender with a long face, body and fingers, similar to a tree. The liver, gallbladder, tendons, ligaments and sinews are all controlled by the wood element. Recommended foods for the wood body type include anything sour, and green foods with stalks.
Make sure to exclude alcohol, processed foods, high fat foods and most dairy, as these foods can restrict the free flow of energy and blood, while wreaking havoc on the function of the wood element.
The fire element body type tends to possess a pointy nose, chin and top of the head. The fire element body is shaped like a torch, pointed on the top, narrow at the bottom and flared in the middle. The fire element handles the circulatory, glandular and immune systems.
This includes the heart, small intestine and the lymphatic system. Recommended foods for the fire body type include bitter foods, grains, vegetables, dark leafy greens, beans and seeds. These foods tend to keep the fire at bay, avoiding an overabundance. Foods to avoid include chocolate, salt, meats, stimulants and hot spices.
The water element body type has a tendency towards “thickness.” The face tends to be large and round, with a wider base, while the body is full and chubby. The water element rules the kidneys, bladder, bones, nerves and teeth. Recommended foods for the water element body type include pure water (not what is contained in juices, coffee, etc.), blue, purple and black foods, root vegetables and seaweeds and seafood.
Foods to avoid include sugars, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, frozen and excessively raw foods.
The earth element body type tends to be short in stature, with a short body, short fingers and neck. The face tends to be square, while the body is pear shaped. The earth element rules the digestive and structural systems within the body.
This includes the stomach, spleen and muscles. Recommended foods for the earth element body type include root vegetables, leafy greens and light proteins such as legumes and fish. Foods to avoid include refined carbohydrates, dairy, iced drinks and processed foods as they gunk up the digestive system and overtax the spleen and stomach.
The metal element body type tends to have defined facial features and broad, square shoulders. However, their features tend to be thin in nature, such as thin lips and eyelids. The metal element rules the intestinal, respiratory and skin systems, as well as assisting with the immune system.
Recommended foods include those that have a dispersing effect and promote energy circulation. Foods high in minerals like leafy greens and vegetables are good choices. Foods to avoid include dairy, red meat and bitter foods.
A balanced diet would actually include all 5 influencing flavors – bitter, sweet, sour, pungent and salty. Knowing your body type and understanding health imbalances can guide a Traditional Chinese Medical Practitioner or Acupuncturist to recommend beneficial diet choices for optimal health.
Traditional Chinese Diet principles and the Five Element body types are a lot more complex than what can be explained here in this short article. Best choices in food to support your health also depend on your individual health imbalances and how you eat through each season.
If you’re interested in exploring your diet needs based on Traditional Chinese Dietary principles contact the office and request a traditional diet consultation.
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