Tree Diagram: Categorization of Foods from the Perspective of Five Energies

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Generally, foods are evaluated for proteins, calories, carbohydrates, vitamins, and other nutritional contents. In Chinese diet (and that includes herbs), one looks for not only vitamins and minerals but also the energetic properties of food. According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), foods are just as herbs that can be selected and prepared appropriately to tonify, cleanse and regulate the body. Foods can be categorized into five types according to the five energies: cold, cool, neutral, warm and hot food.

The Five Energies of Foods

The energies of foods refer to their capacity to generate sensations in the human body. The five kinds of energy are cold, hot, warm, cool and neutral. These adjectives do not refer to the physical state of foods but its effect on bodies. Hot is opposed to cold; warm is opposed to cool; neutral is somewhere between warm and cool. For example, tea has a cool energy, it means that when we drink hot tea, it generates cool energy and it is therefore considered a cool beverage, allowing our body to cool off. Many kinds of herds are drunk when they are hot but they are taken for the purpose of cold energy. Take the fruit as an example. Here are some fruit samples with different energies.

Trees Diagram Examples: Categorization of Fruits from the Perspective of Five Energies

Fruits Types Diagram

Significance of Learning Energies of Foods

It is important to learn the energies of food because different energies act upon the human body in different ways and affect our state of health. A person suffers from cold rheumatism and the pain is particularly severe on cold winter day, so he should eat foods with a warm or hot energy to relieve the pain. As for a person suffers from skin eruptions that worsen when exposed to heat, it is beneficial to eat foods with a cold or cool energy to relieve the symptoms. Let's use one more example. Suppose you develop hives with severe itching. You cannot cook your meals, because the heat in the kitchen makes your itching intolerable. If you have a fair knowledge about food energies, you will know the solution: cook a bowl of mung bean soup and add some sugar. After drinking the soup a few times, your symptoms disappear, because the cold energy in both mung beans and sugar heal your hot symptoms.

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