Practitioners of the Five Phases theory place an emphasis on the tastes or flavors related to the phases. The flavors may become deficient or excess when the diet becomes unbalanced. This can bring about disharmony in the affiliated Organ Systems. To correct the imbalance, Five Phases nutritional therapy promotes the inclusion of counterbalancing tastes, each having special powers of their own to reestablish balance.
1. Fire is affiliated with the taste bitter. Bitter is strengthening and drying. A diet with too much bitter flavor is associated with skin withering, stomach energy congestion, and dryness of Spleen energy. This can be neutralized with the inclusion of salty foods.
2. Wood is related to the sour taste. Sour is gathering and astringent. A diet with overabundance of sour is associated with injury to the muscles, overproduction of saliva by the Liver, and weakening of the Spleen. This can be counterbalanced by the inclusion of pungent-metal foods.
3. Metal is associated with aromatic, pungent, hot. This element is dispersing and a diet with an excess of pungent is connected with unhealthy toenails and fingernails, an injured Spirit or Shen, slack pulse and muscle knots. This can be counteracted by the inclusion of bitter foods.
4. Water is connected with the salty taste, which is softening. A diet overflowing with salty foods is connected with depression, strength deficiency in the large bones, and deficient flesh and muscles. This can be counterbalanced by the inclusion of sweet foods.
5. Earth is affiliated with the flavor sweet which is slowing and harmonizing. A diet with excessive sweet foods is associated with hair loss, full Heart energy, unbalanced Kidneys, and achy bones. This can be neutralized by the inclusion of sour foods.
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