Chinese Dietary Therapy
The science of Chinese dietary therapy is understanding the properties of foods and their affects on health as well the use of food for preserving health and preventing and treating illnesses. The nature of food is defined on the same basis as in Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine.
The five principal categories of taste are sour, sweet, bitter, pungent and salty. Based on the 5 element theory, Traditional Chinese Medicine holds that each taste favors an internal organ: sour favors the liver, sweet favors the spleen, bitter favors the heart, pungent favors the lungs, and salty favors the kidney. Generally, each taste has a different impact on the human body.
Foods are also classified into temperatures or "the four natures", coldness, coolness, warmth, and heat. In practice, these natures divide into two basic kinds - cold and hot. Regulating the cold and hot of foods is another important aspect of diet regulation practiced in Chinese Dietary Therapy.
A famous physician, Sun Si Miao, wrote in the 6th century that "A true doctor first finds out the cause of the disease, and having found that out, he tries to cure it first by food. When food fails, then he prescribes Traditional Chinese Medicine."