Which foods are beneficial and which are harmful to the health is an issue that has occupied the minds of everyone.
Regarding this matter, there are many different suggestions. Some suggestions are contradictory and some are completely opposite to each other. Some nutritional advices, formerly known as proper, has been proved not to be true and because of this, people distrust against such advices and it has become a thoroughly complicated issue.
My goal in writing this text is, to explain why “one fit for all” kind of nutrition is impossible, by using the perspectives of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
If we give an example; while ginger is very beneficial for one person, it can be very harmful for the other.
Lets explain why;
If we answer the question “what is healthy eating and how should it be like”; the answer is: It changes according to the needs of every person and it should be set according to the elemental type and the weaknesses of that person.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, fundamental structural features of a human’s body is formed by the distribution of the 5 elements.
The five elements are; Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. Each element correspond to certain organs, certain bodily functions and certain taste.
Depending on the power of the five elements of that particular person, a body composition is formed, which reveals qualities such as hot, cold, wet, dry, etc.
Which element is dominant in the body of a person and which are weak or powerful can be determined by the evaluation methods of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
If we explain this with an example;
Suppose that the earth element is determined “weak” in a person; we can say that these people have difficulty digesting foods containing refined sugar, because the taste associated with the earth element is “sweet.” Furthermore, because the earth element is responsible for the elimination of excess moisture in the body, we know that, this person will be very sensitive to foods that produce moisture in the body. Dairy products are the most moisture (phlegm)-producing foods and because of this we can also say that, if he/she consumes an excessive amount of dairy products, the moisture that is produced will be stored in the lungs and the risk of asthma or other lung diseases may also increase.
Therefore, his nutritional advice is; to eat foods which strengthen the earth element and to avoid from foods which will weaken him.
So what can we say to these people? (I only give a partial example, because the contents and details of this subject is very long)
- Brown rice, pine nuts, dried beans, peas, carrots, cabbage, spinach is good for him.
- Dairy products should be avoided.
- Meat will weaken him.
We told to that person to stay away from dairy products and meat, but are meat and dairy products bad for everyone?
The answer is “no”.
For another person, we can make a different suggestion and say that meat and dairy products are very beneficial for him. This is not a contradiction, is just due to the different structure of every human being. Of course, this approach is quite different from Western Medicine approache. Western Medicine generalizes the subject of nutrition, tries to find some approaches and advises effective for everybody. It determines carbohydrate, protein and fat percentages of foods, calculates calories, etc. There are also positive sides of this approach. but the implementation of recommendations without knowing the intrinsic characteristics of food, their hot or cold nature can cause some problems.
Let’s explain with an example;
Think of a person who eats plenty of salad because of the advise “eating salad is very good for health”. If the metal element is weak in this person and he/she has a cold body structure, then eating a lot of salad may lead to asthma or other lung diseases in this person. So can we say that eating salad is good for everyone or vice versa?
Dietary advice based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, given specific to each person, helps you stay healthy and protect your weaknesses.