It’s no secret that good nutrition is important for the Chinese. You might be familiar with the saying “Food is medicine”, and that is the best explanation for it. It all started 2100 years ago, as the knowledge of scientists, nutritionists, and doctors was combined to create the perfect menu for the Imperial family of China. The best food to keep them healthy, vital, and – most important – prolong their lives. Beliefs that quickly spread through Asia and is now getting more and more attention in Europe. This blog will give you insight into the basics of the Chinese nutritional science.
The Chinese nutritional science is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is all built around the belief that pain and diseases are caused by an imbalance within our body. While different Chinese treatments such as acupuncture can be beneficial for our bodies, eating the right food plays a crucial part in restoring and keeping our body’s balance.
Yin & Yang
Our body’s balance revolves around our Meridians, or a more understandable way to describe them, our energy channels. Our body exists out of a total of fourteen Meridians that flow through our bodies. If these energy channels don’t flow properly, an imbalance is created resulting in health problems or sickness.
Twelve of the Meridians, form a Ying Yang pair, consisting out of two different organs. The Chinese nutritional science beliefs that all organs are influenced by food, including herbs and spices. So, in short: by consuming the right foods, the functioning of our organs will be optimized, so our Meridians will flow perfectly, what results in optimum health.
But there’s more: the external environment can also affect our physical balance. If we dig deeper into the Chinese beliefs, we notice that the organs are not only linked to our Meridians, but also to the five natural elements – wood, fire, water, metal and earth – that represents the five seasons of the Chinese calendar; spring, summer, mid-summer, autumn, and winter. Chinese nutritionists believe that eating certain products in different seasons is beneficial for our bodies.
An example to make the theory come alive
Our lungs are connected to the element “metal”, which stands for the autumn season. This means that our lungs could use a little more attention during this season to support their function. The herb celery is associated with this season and therefore connected to our lungs. Hence, eating celery can provide our lungs the extra boost that’s needed during the fall.
Like this example, every season knows the best ingredients to keep our bodies balanced, combat health problems, and stay healthy.