Appropriate to season and health, diet is an essential component of Chinese medicine.
In the West many of our foods and fluids are eaten and drunk cold. This creates extra work for our digestion which must heat it to body temperature before it can be absorbed. As we age, our digestion and the levels of hydrochloric acid needed to break down food reduce, and we need to simplify the quantity and nature of our foods accordingly. Food is used to correct imbalances and help maintain health and becomes a remedy in itself.
Different body types require different approaches to eating. A more Yin or thinner person may require more Yang (warmer, hot) foods to give them energy (Qi), whilst a more Yang (robust, large) person may need more Yin (cooling) foods.
Weight loss becomes much easier when there is an understanding of which foods cause bloating and how we can avoid or combine or cook them to prevent this. Herbs are used as a preventative in cooking as well as taken to correct a weak digestion, poor appetite or ravenous appetite.
Many digestion problems are linked with stress, poor eating habits, overwork and over-medication. Chinese medicine approaches the issue from a mind, body and spirit viewpoint to enable the patient to further understand how to best deal with it. This is very helpful when overeating is triggered by emotions.
Diet therapy may be used to ward off colds and many other diseases if used carefully.