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The 5 Colors of Food


Traditional Chinese Medicine theory categorizes food by color and taste. The 5 colors of food nourish the 5 different organs in our body 五色養五臟. The food provides nourishment in their own ways. Each organ is prone to certain disease and dislikes certain conditions which impairs its ability to function properly. Food remedy is a natural and effective way to help the body restore health.

Green foods cleanse the liver. These foods include mung beans, green apples, kale, cucumber, broccoli, asparagus, dandelion etc. These foods help clear liver heat. The liver is said to be an “emotional” organ which is prone to excess heat. Anger, frustration, and stress can all cause liver heat. When we consume green foods, we can help clear liver heat, calm spirit, and improve vision. Eyes are the sensory organs that is correlated with the liver.

Red foods nourish the heart. These foods include red dates (jujube), strawberries, beets, red beans (adzuki beans), cherries, goji berries, tomatoes, etc. They improve coronary and periphery circulation. Many red foods can help warm the body as they build yang and fire energy.

Yellow foods nourish the spleen. These foods include peaches, pumpkin, yam, yellow zucchini, sweet potato, papaya, squash, etc. These foods help support the spleen transform nutrients into Qi and Blood which is our source of energy.

White foods nourish and moisten the lungs. These foods include mushroom, white pear, white fungus, radish, sprouted grains, white fish, cauliflower, Chinese yam, turnips. These foods help moisten the lungs to enable the lungs to disperse fluids throughout the body. The lungs manifest in the skin so a person with dry skin is said to have lung dysfunction. Consuming white foods can help.

Black foods nourish the kidneys. These foods include black sesame seeds, black beans, seaweed, kidney beans, rehmannia root, etc. These foods can help kidney produce essence such as marrow, improve vitality, benefit mind, spirit, and hair.

Food is always the best medicine. Everyone has a different genetic makeup, lifestyle, and personal characteristics. Choose what feels right to your body. Our bodies are constantly changing so making adaptive changes is crucial for maintaining health. We all hold the power in transforming our lives and body. Live well. Eat Better.

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