The Ancient Chinese Way of Healthy Living

From the history we have seen different empires and cultures, each having their own way of living and health practices. Our ancestors are far more brilliant than us, they are very much aware of our body ,the system which executes our healthy living. One of the profound cultures that showed the rest of the world a healthy way of living is Chinese.

Ancient Chinese have developed a strong and well-built way for a healthy body and mind. These practices are so intense and powerful , they are working even now after so many years. In the world of countless diet, options choosing a one which is best if very difficult. The Chinese have their own answer to healthy eating, with concepts strongly related to traditional Chinese medicine. They are probably the most hard-core supporters of the saying “You are what you eat,” regardless of whether they really follow that advice.

Here we see certain healthy practices of healthy living,

Food is medicine, medicine is food

In contrast with western medicine, the role of food and medicine in traditional Chinese medicine overlap. For example, a watermelon is a food, but it can also have a medical effect during hot days because of its hydrating properties.

The ancient clans of China, dating back to 2200 BC, started to discover the different medical values of herbs while they were still hunting and gathering. Some foods relieved their illness, some caused death. Over time, and in the concourse with the growth of Chinese philosophy, medical theories were developed.

However, there are also some foods that are considered more “medicine” than “food,” for example, ginseng. When it comes to this “medicine,” a person should consult a practitioner, since eating it could make your body worse. Why? Foods have different natures, and all of us have different bodies that interact differently with different foods.

It’s more than just a taste

Similarly, in the western world, the Chinese divide tastes into five different kinds (Wuwei): sour, bitter, sweet, spicy and salty. But for the Chinese, these are more than just senses. In traditional Chinese medicine, each bite of foods sends the nutrition to corresponding organs: sour food enters liver and helps stop sweating, eases coughing; salt enters the kidneys, and can drain, purge and soften masses; bitter food enters the heart and the small intestine and helps cool heat and dry any dampness; spicy food enters the lungs and large intestine and helps stimulate appetite; sweet food enters the stomach and spleen and helps lubricate the body. Thus, it is important to have each flavor in the diet.

Does that mean to be healthy we just eat just neutral food in all flavors? Not necessarily. “Food choices are affected by your body’s construction, the season and the place where you live,” said Chan. The condition of the body could also be affected by age and sex. In other words, Chinese medical practitioners adapt their recommendations to different conditions.

Eat mainly cooked foods

According to Chinese dietary therapy, your meals should primarily be cooked and eaten warm. Raw vegetables and fruits, when eaten excessively, cool and weaken your digestive system, causing such problems as bloating, watery stools and lack of energy. Cooking is regarded in Chinese dietary therapy as a kind of pre-digestion process that makes it easier for digestion to occur. Cold, raw foods, on the other hand, require more digestive power to break them down. Suitable cooking methods are steaming and stir-frying as they cook quickly and lightly while still retaining nutrients.

Eat at regular times, 3 times a day

Regular intake of food can help stabilize blood sugar and reduce the dip in energy after meals. It takes about 4 hours for vegetables and 6 hours for the meat to be processed by the stomach, this is why eating at 4 to 6 hours intervals is a good idea.

Choose food for your body type

Just like we all have different personalities, we also all have different body constitutions (tight). And just like you cannot communicate with all people, in the same way, we also cannot feed our bodies with the same food in the same way.

What is a “constitution”? The categorizations have been in constant flux ever since traditional Chinese medicine first began. Currently, one of the most popular divisions is developed by Huang Qi, who introduced nine types of bodies in 1978.

A person with a lot of “dampness and phlegm” (Tenshi) in their body tends to be overweight, might sweat a lot and might have an oily face. These people are usually more mild-tempered.

However, a person with a lot of “dampness and heat” (Shi-Re) is usually short-tempered and often presents with an oily and acne face. Both of these people need different food to take away their dampness, which means sweets, which “lubricate” the body, might worsen the situation.

Each type of food, depending on its nature, might better or worsen the situation. “There is no substance which is good for anybody. Many consider ginger to be healthy, but when you are already a very dry person and you have so much heat in your body, the more ginger tea you drink, the driver you get,” says Guo.

 

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