Chinese Medical Dietary Recommendations

In order to get the most out of acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine, it is very important to support your treatment with proper diet and lifestyle. In Chinese medicine, there is a saying, “Seven parts nursing, three parts treatment.” Nursing in this context means diet and lifestyle modifications.

According to Chinese medicine, every food has both a “nature” and a “flavor”. A food’s nature is its effect on the temperature of the body. For example, if someone suffers from a cold disease, they should avoid cold-inducing foods and eat more warming foods, and vice versa. Likewise, each food has one or more of the six flavors: sour, bitter, sweet, acrid (spicy), salty or bland. Each flavor is associated with one of the main internal organs and has its most powerful effect on that organ. This means that whether a food is good or bad for an individual person is entirely dependent upon that person’s Chinese medical pattern diagnosis and the nature and flavor of that food.

For further reading on this subject, see The Tao of Healthy Eating: a Guide to Healthy Eating According to Chinese Medicine, by Bob Flaws. This book also contains more information about the following common patterns and appropriate Chinese therapeutic diets.

The suggestions below are given as general guidelines and should be adjusted for each individual by a qualified license practitioner of Acupuncture and Chinese Dietary Therapy, based on Chinese disease and pattern diagnosis.

 

For Liver Qi Stagnation

Add:          Some acrid spices (ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, basil, chives and garlic)

Chamomile or mint tea

Dandelion greens

 

Avoid:       Coffee (decaf and caffeinated)

Excess sour food and drink

Sugars, sweets and artificial sweeteners

Alcohol

Nicotine

 

For Digestive Weakness (Spleen Qi or Yang deficiency)

Add:          Warm, cooked foods, cooked vegetable

Basmati or jasmine rice, soups and stews

Drink a cup of warm water, broth, soup or tea with meals

Incorporate moderate amounts of warm-hot spices, including black and white pepper, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg or fennel

Rice milk is a good substitute for milk.

Choose sprouted wheat breads over processed wheat breads.

Avoid:       Cold, frozen or chilled foods and drinks

Raw fruits, raw vegetables, raw salads, lettuce

Tropical fruits, like banana, mango, kiwi, etc.

Large doses of Vitamin C

Dairy: milk, cream, yogurt, cheese and ice cream

Greasy, fatty, and fried foods

Sugars, sweets and artificial sweeteners

Alcohol, nicotine and other stimulants such as energy drinks

 

For Excessive Phlegm and Dampness

Add:          Warm, cooked foods, cooked vegetable

Basmati or jasmine rice, soups and stews

Drink a cup of warm water, broth, Soup or tea with meals

Incorporate moderate amounts of warm-hot spices, including black and white pepper, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg or fennel
Rice milk is a good substitute for milk

Choose sprouted wheat breads over processed wheat breads

Mung bean soup

 

Avoid:       Overeating in general

Excess intake of oils and fats, including fatty meats

Raw fruits, raw vegetable, raw salads

Dairy: milk, cream, yogurt, cheese and ice cream

Sugars, sweets and artificial sweeteners

Nuts and nut butters

Wheat products

Alcohol

Oats

 

For Damp Heat (Liver/Gallbladder, Large Intestine or Lower Burner Damp Heat)

Add:          Warm, cooked foods, cooked vegetables

Basmati or jasmine rice, soups and stews

Drink a cup of warm water, broth, soup or tea with meals

Mung bean soup

 

Avoid:       Hot spices, spicy foods, especially hot peppers

Oranges and other acidic high sugar fruits

Excess intake of oils and fats, including fatty meats

Dairy: milk, cream, yogurt, cheese and ice cream

Sugars, sweets and artificial sweeteners

Nuts and nut butters

Tomatoes

Alcohol

 

For Blood Deficiency

Add:          Small amounts of lean red meat: beef or lamb

Small amounts of animal protein: chicken, fish or eggs

Soups, broths, stew and warm foods in general

Yellow, orange or red root vegetables: carrots, beets, squash, yams, and sweet potatoes

Cooked leafy greens: kale, collard, bok choy, watercress, spinach, and broccoli

Best fruits: cherries, red grapes, and raspberries: preferably cooked or dried

Black beans

Black sesame seeds

Avoid:       Total vegetarianism, raw, uncooked salads and vegetables

Raw fruits can be eaten if at room temperature and followed by a cup of tea or warm water

 

For Blood Stasis

Add:          Moderate amounts of alcohol, preferably red wine

Moderate use of warm spices, like cinnamon, cloves, fennels, black, and white pepper and cardamom

 

Avoid:       Greasy, fatty or fried foods

Dairy: milk, cream, yogurt, cheese and ice cream

Overeating in general

 

For Intestinal Dryness

Add:          Prunes, pears, figs, almonds, sesame seeds, walnuts and aloe vera juice

 

Avoid:       Use of warm, drying, hot spices

 

For Liver Stasis transforming into heat, upward flaming of Liver Fire, ascendant Liver Yang, Hyperactivity, Heart Fire, Stomach Heat or Fire Patterns

Add:          A Moderate intake of cooling foods, including celery, melon, cucumber, zucchini, plus same general dietary suggestions for spleen deficiency, bur exclude warm-hot spices

Drink chamomile or mint tea

Dandelion greens

 

Avoid:       Greasy, fatty or fried foods

Warm, hot spices and spicy foods

Alcohol

For Lung Weakness

Add:

Cooked or dried pears, walnuts, loquat, lily bulb

 

Avoid:

Cigarettes

 

For Kidney Yin Deficiency

Add:          Lean meats and fish in general, some shellfish, eggs, and the same suggestions for spleen deficiency except the use of warm-hot spices.

 

Avoid:       Excessive use of warm-hot spices, alcohols, caffeine, sugar, sweets and artificial sweeteners.

 

For Kidney Yang Deficiency

Add:          Add warm-hot spices, especially ginger and cinnamon, walnuts, onions and garlic

 

Avoid:       Chilled frozen foods and drink, raw, uncooked fruits and vegetables, coffee (both decaf and caffeinated), other stimulants and energy drinks.

 

Other personalized dietary suggestions:

In general, everyone should try to eat fresh food, freshly prepared, preferably organic, with a minimum of chemicals, preservatives or additives. It is also important to eat local seasonally available produce. In addition to a healthy diet, it is vitally important to get adequate physical exercise and rest. Diet, exercise and rest are the three free therapies that are the foundation of good health.

 

  • Exercise: at least 30 minutes of MODERATE activity, 5 times per week
  • Internal Exercises: Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Yoga, Meditation
  • 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar twice a day
  • 8+ hours of sleep
  • 6+ glasses of water
This article was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are closed.