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TCM Mini Series: Five Flavours To Support Your Health

November 15, 2018

TCM Mini Series: Five Flavours To Support Your Health

Red dates / jujube fruits are widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to enhance health and well-being. In our TCM Mini-Series, we help demystify some basic health preservation concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine and offer handy tips for how to apply them in your daily life.

TCM Mini Series: Five Flavours To Support Your Health

The practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine categorise the taste of food into five flavours: sour, bitter, sweet, spicy, and salty. Each flavour plays a different role in the body that has an impact on the physiological functions of the five organs liver, heart, spleen, lung and the kidney. It is believed that a proper mix amongst five flavours would be greatly beneficial for health.

  1. Eating tart-flavoured food can invigorate the spleen and promote the appetite. Examples include fermented foods like sauerkraut or pickles, yoghurt, lemons. However, overeating would cause excess gastric acid which in turn influences digestive function and could upset the stomach. 
  2. Bitter flavours could clear away heat, remove dampness, and promote detox. Examples include bittermelons, green tea, and cocoa powder. However, eating bitter food excessively could cause stomach ache, diarrhoea, and indigestion.  
  3. Sweet flavours could enrich the blood, mediate the spleen and stomach, alleviate pain, and lessen the symptoms of illnesses. Examples include jujube fruits, bananas, sweet potatoes. However, eating too much sweet food could cause bloating and increase blood sugar levels.  
  4. Hot flavours can help promote blood circulation, stimulate the intestine movements, increase secretion of digestive enzymes, expel wind, clear away cold, and relieve pain. Examples include chilis, peppers, ginger. However, excessively eating of hot food could stimulate stomach mucous and it is unsuitable for those suffering from haemorrhoids, ulcers and constipation.
  5. Savoury flavours can help hydrate the body, for example help moisture dry skin and relieve bloating. Too much salty food could lead to high blood pressure. 

In conclusion, it is best to allow a variety of flavours in your diet to ensure a balanced body. Also, it is about moderation and avoiding excess of any single flavour. In the winter, it is helpful to eat more warming foods such as ginger, jujube fruits, chillis, sweet potatoes etc. 

Find jujube fruits / red dates here.