The Nature of Foods-Warming/Cooling

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, heating and cooling capacities are the two most important qualities of food when using food as medicine,

From Traditional Chinese dietetics:

…one uses cooling foods and preparation methods for someone who is overheated and warming foods and preparation for those who are too cold…

Some of the theories defining the heating and cooling capacities of foods are:

Plants that take longer to grow, i.e., carrots, rutabaga, parsnip, cabbage, ginseng are more warming than those that             grow quickly, i.e., lettuce, summer squash, radish, cucumber.

Foods that are chemically fertilized grow more quickly and are therefore often more cooling.

Raw foods are more cooling than cooked foods.

Foods consumed cold are more cooling.

Foods cooked for a longer amount of time at a lower temperature are more warming than foods cooked for a                           shorter amount of time at a higher temperature.

Thoroughly chewing food creates more warmth for any food.

Simply stated, heat patterns that develop in the body can be the result of too many warming foods and/or insufficient cooling foods, exposure to heat or extreme climates.  There are numerous other causes but for our purpose we will keep it simple. image food

The following are signs of heat in the body:

A person feels hot, fears or dislikes heat, is attracted to cold and desires cold liquids. Heat rises in the body and can cause a red tongue, yellow coating on the tongue, red face, red eyes, nosebleeds and canker sores.

Heat in the body can present as high blood pressure, hemorrhage, convulsions, delirium, rapid pulse, skin eruptions, rashes and sores.

Cold patterns can develop in the body due to lack of physical activity, eating too many cooling foods, or overexposure to a cold environment.  Again there are more complex causes that are beyond the scope of this article.

The following are signs of cold in the body:

The major signs of cold in the body are chills, dislike of cold, attraction to warmth, and attraction to warm food and drinks.

Cold in the body can manifest as stiffness or rigidity.  Cold causes contraction, so the cold person moves around with difficulty.  The pain from cold can be fixed and intense.  A person with signs of coldness will usually be over dressed and attracted to warm food and drinks.  Their complexion tends to be white.  Generally older people tend to be cold.  Also people beginning a vegetarian diet tend toward coldness at the onset of the transition, usually several months.

Source:  Healing with Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford

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