Western Medicine recognized the importance of the food we eat very early on:
Hippocrates (460-370 BC) - "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food".
Have you ever asked yourself why you can find one study that praises a food group or supplement and another study which advises against the same foods? In Chinese Medicine every individual is different. There is no one answer on what to eat or to drink. Your nutritional needs depends on what your constitution is like. A specific Nutritional program is put together for your constitution.
Foods are distinguished by their properties:
- Temperature (hot, neutral, cold)
- Taste (sweet, sour, bitter, salty, pungent)
- Directionality (lifting, floating, lowering, Sinking)
Here are a few examples: generally coffee and tea have a warming and downward draining action which heats up the body and puts pressure on the lower organs such as Kidneys, Bladder and Prostate. These actions are disadvantageous if you have a “hot stomach” or if you have a deficiency problem in your Bladder. However this action could also be helpful if you have heat in the intestines with constipation. Coffee is a laxative and may relieve some of these symptoms. Alcohol is considered to cause dampness and heat and generally is not a good idea if your condition is already a damp heat inflammation. However if your condition is yang deficiency, alcohol and coffee may be beneficial. Foods are powerful and important because you consume them every day, but they are generally not nearly as effective as Chinese herbs.
So the question what and which foods you should eat, depends on your individual constitution. A clinical study may show the benefits of a certain food however if this food is truly good for you depends on your TCM diagnosis. More info here.