Nutrition is at the very foundation of traditional Chinese medicine as it is used to create harmony between one’s internal and external environment.
Food from local flora and fauna was the earliest form of medicine. The plants, fruits vegetables, minerals and wildlife of each region were studied and used for their medicinal properties and ability to prevent illness brought on by weather conditions, physical labor and infection.
Foods are used therapeutically based on how they interact with ones unique constitution, with the goal of balancing yin and yang energies and the flow of qi through the body.
The effects of external phenomena such as weather conditions impact our health, and food is used to create balance in this interaction. ?It is believed that specific foods should be consumed during each season to prepare, strengthen and protect the body, while others should be avoided so to not cause disharmony.?For example in the summer fresh, raw and cooling vegetables and fruits are recommended, more so than during cold seasons, due to their ability to cool our body temperature and hydrate our bodies.
Hot and spicy foods on the other hand would be contraindicated given that they raise the body temperature further and deplete our body fluids.
In combination with healthful lifestyle habits that include physical and mental activity, diet plays a fundamental role in preventing disease and enhancing vitality.
Nutrition is taught at most schools of Eastern medicine as it plays such a crucial role in supporting and enhancing the results of acupuncture and herbal medicine. Practitioners often offer dietary recommendations as a compliment to therapy.