The Movements of Foods

Foods have a tendency to move in different directions in the body. Some foods move outward, while others move inward. Additionally, some foods have a tendency to move upwards, while others move downwards. To understand this concept, consider the human body as divided into four regions: inside (internal region), outside (skin and body surface), upper (above the waist), and lower (below the waist).

Moving outward means moving from inside towards outside. Foods with outward movements can induce perspiration and reduce fever. On the other hand, moving inward means moving from outside towards inside. Foods with inward movements can ease bowel movements and abdominal swelling. Moving upwards means moving from the lower region towards the upper region. Foods with upward movements can relieve diarrhea, prolapse of anus, prolapse of uterus and falling of stomach. Moving downwards means moving from the upper region towards the lower region. Foods with downward movements can relieve vomiting, hiccupping, and asthma.

In general, leaves and flowers have a tendency to move upwards, while roots and seeds and fruits have a tendency to move downwards. However, this is just a general principle, and there are many exceptions. Among the foods we eat every day, peppermint has a tendency to move outward, banana has a tendency to move inward, wine has a tendency to move upwards, and salt has a tendency to move downwards. Some foods can move in two directions.

Two additional characteristics of food are associated with the movements: glossy (sliding) and obstructive. Glossy foods, such as honey and spinach, facilitate the movements, while obstructive foods, such as guava and olive, slow down the movements. Glossy foods are good for constipation and internal dryness but bad for diarrhea and seminal emission. Conversely, obstructive foods are good for diarrhea and seminal emission but bad for constipation and internal dryness. The movements of foods are important in the Chinese diet because foods moving in different directions have different applications in coping with human health problems.

The symptoms treated by the different movements of foods are classified into four categories:

First, upward symptoms, such as vomiting, hiccupping, coughing, etc., should be treated by foods that can move downwards. Second, downward symptoms, such as diarrhea, falling of the stomach and prolapse of uterus and anus, should be treated by foods that can move upwards. Third, outward symptoms, such as excessive perspiration, premature ejaculation, seminal emission, frequent urination, should be treated by foods that can obstruct. Fourth, inward symptoms, such as constipation, should be treated with other foods that cleanse the internal regions.

From the Chinese point of view, a far more effective treatment for this downward symptom is to consume foods that can move upwards, so they will push up the energy. Although none of the common foods we eat every day can push upwards forcefully, plenty of herbs do the job very effectively. For example, Thizama cimirifueae is called the "elevating herb" because of its power to push upwards. Rafishupluri is also used for the same purpose.

The movements of foods are also related to the flavors and energies of foods. Generally, warm and hot foods that have a pungent and sweet flavor tend to move upwards or outward. In contrast, cold and cool foods that have a sour or salty or bitter flavor tend to move downwards or inward. Additionally, the movements of foods also relate to the four seasons. Foods that move upwards are good to consume in spring, the time when living things begin to grow. Foods that move outward are good in summer when everything is outgoing, such as perspiration and expansion. Foods that move downwards are good in autumn when things begin to fall, such as leaves. Foods that move inward are good in winter when things move inward and stay indoors.

The following list includes foods arranged by their combinations of energies and flavors suitable for the four seasons:

Foods with an upward movement are good to eat in spring. These foods have a neutral energy and three flavors: pungent, sweet, or bitter. Examples include abalone, apricot, beef, beetroots, black fungus, black sesame seed, black soybean, cabbage (Chinese), carp (common and gold carp), carrot, celery, cherry seed, chicken egg, chicken egg yolk, corn silk, crab apple, dry mandarin orange peel, duck, eel blood, fig, grape, guava leaf, honey, horse bean, hyacinth bean, kidney bean, kohlrabi, licorice, lotus fruit and seed, milk (cow's and human milk), olive, oyster, peanuts, pineapple, plum, pork, potato, pumpkin, radish leaf, small red bean or adzuki bean, rice bran, saffron, shiitake mushroom, string bean, sunflower seed, sweet rice, sweet potato, tro, white fungus, white sugar, yellow soybean. Foods with an outward movement are good in summer. These foods have a hot energy and two different flavors: pungent or sweet. Examples include black pepper, cinnamon bark, cotton-seed, dried ginger, green pepper, red pepper, soybean oil, white pepper. Foods with a downward movement are good in autumn. These foods have three energies - cold, cool, or warm - and two flavors: sweet or sour. Examples include apple, bamboo shoots, hunana, barley, bean curd, chicken egg white, Chinese wax gourd, clam (freshwater), common baton mushroom, cucumber, eggplant, grapefruits, hawthorn fruits, kumquat,Jobs-tears, let-Be, ily Dover, litchi, longevity fruit, loquat, mango, mung bean, muskmelon, peach, persim-ten, spinach, star fruit, strawberry, sugar cane juice, tangerine, water chestnut, watermelon, wheat, wheat bran. Foods with an inward movement are good in winter. These foods have a cold energy and two flavors: bitter or salty. Examples include bitter gourd, clam (salt and freshwater), crab, hops, kelp, lettuce, has plamule, salt, sea griss, and seaweed.