Listen to your body when it comes to deciding which foods to eat

Have you ever wondered why you are drawn to some foods over others? Besides your preference of ice cream over vegetables?

Some people can and do eat bananas daily. Others can’t get enough of almonds.

One of the reasons for our various cravings could be due to food energetics.

In traditional Chinese medicine, food is often used to aid in healing because food has thermal properties. When we are ill or diseased, it is because there is an imbalance in the body. You may require warming or cooling foods depending on the symptoms and the type of illness that you are suffering from.

“Warming” foods include foods such as chicken, shrimp, garlic and cinnamon. They alleviate imbalances in the body when we have too much “cold” energy.

We also crave warming foods in the winter more frequently because our bodies need them to adjust to the temperature.

Examples of “cooling” foods include apples, spinach, eggs and watermelon. We tend to eat more of these in the summer; they also promote perspiration, making it easier for us to adapt to the weather.

But we don’t desire different foods only based on the season. Some people have more “cooling” energies, while others have more “warming” inner temperatures.

If you find yourself more inclined to reach for cooked foods over raw foods, it likely means that overall your inner temperature is “warm.” You likely thrive when you eat oats, sweet potatoes, walnuts and sunflower seeds.

People who have a “cooler” inner temperature are more likely to feel comfortable when the weather gets colder. If you are one of these people, eating yogurt, cucumber, brown rice and tomatoes will help to energize your body.

In general, dense foods have more warming properties than foods with high water content. This also means that dried and cooked foods are “warmer” than fresh foods.

Knowing the reasons why we gravitate towards some foods and not others allows us to understand the best food for our body to reach optimal health.

If you identify more with one inner temperature over another but still really enjoy a food that may not be ideal for your body type, you can “neutralize” it by combining it with another kind of food. Sprinkling cinnamon on apples, for example, will balance out the warming and cooling properties of each of these foods.

How the food is grown and processed can also influence the effect it has on people. Grain-fed animals are typically warming. Wild animals are cooler than farm-raised.

Keep in mind as well that antibiotics and hormones increase thermal temperatures of a food.

So what does constitute a balanced diet?

In the end, it is eating what feels right for your body and eating the foods that energize you that are the healthiest choice.

Food energetics is all based on the individual’s needs. Listen to your intuition.

University of Winnipeg student Sagan Morrow writes a health and wellness blog. Check it out at

Published in Volume 64, Number 24 of The Uniter (March 25, 2010)

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