Food is looked at from the perspective of the energetic effect that is has on the body - some foods are warming, some cooling. Others may have a stimulating or a sedating effect or may be drying or moistening. The practitioner of Chinese Medicine considers these actions in relation to the patient's presenting condition when making recommendations about what and what not to eat.
The flavour of the food is also of great importance. Chinese Medicine recognizes five different flavours - bitter, sweet, pungent, salty and sour. Each of these flavours has a specific effect on the body and can be used in combination to assist in correcting any imbalance. For example, the sweet flavour is warming and nourishing so may be used to boost the energy of someone who is particularly weak after an illness. The pungent flavour (found in foods such as ginger or garlic) may be suggested to help promote the circulation of qi will, over time, lead to an imbalance and may compromise health.
Through balancing the flavours and the energetic actions of food, it is possible to achieve and maintain good health.