People are considered to have hot and cold natures, as does each type of food.
It is very common to hear an Iranian say, “I ate cold food and now I need to eat hot (warm) food for remedy”, or, vice versa. In this case, cold or hot/warm does not specify the temperature of the food, rather the attribute of the food classification. This concept of cold or hot/warm has been in Persian culture/history for millenniums. Ingredients of Persian cuisine are based on this concept, to have both cold and hot to balance the dish-recipe for people of all ‘natures’.
Also, Chinese herbology/medicine, which goes back millenniums has this same concept. Did the Persians and Chinese develop this concept at the same time? Did Persians benefited from the Chinese during the Silk Road era? Or did the Chinese learn it from the Persians? Unfortunately, the effectiveness/history of traditional food/herbal therapy remains poorly documented and taught.
Four Natures used by the Chinese herbologiests are… hot(热), warm(温), cool(凉), cold(寒) or neutral(平), in terms of body temperature they cause. Hot and warm herbs are used to treat cold diseases, while cool and cold herbs are used to treat heat diseases. Although the precepts of Chinese food therapy are neither systematic nor identical in all times and places, some basic concepts can be isolated. Food items are classified as heating or cooling.
♦ Heating food is typically high-calorie, subjected to high heat in cooking, spicy or bitter, or ‘hot’ in color (red, orange), and includes red meat, innards, baked and deep-fried foods, and alcohol. They are to be avoided in the summer and can be used to treat ‘cold’ illnesses: excessive fatigue, diarrhea, chills, and low body temperature caused by a number of possible causes, including anemia.
♦ Green vegetables are the most typical cooling food, which is low-calorie, watery, soothing or sour in taste, or cool color. They are recommended for ‘hot/warm’ conditions: rashes, dryness or redness of skin, heartburn, and other symptoms similar to those of a burn, but also sore throat, swollen gums, and constipation.
This is called “food treatment”. It is a natural, effective way to prevent and help treat diseases and help recovery. In short, cold food helps the body to get rid of heat. It also helps to remove toxins in the inner environment. Hot/warm food helps to warm up the stomach (middle of the body), clear coldness, and strengthen the body.
As a rule, people who have an inner environment with a cold manifestation are likely to have the following symptoms: Feel cold, cold hands and feet, aching knees resulting from coldness, like hot weather and dislike cold weather, infrequent urination, feces with undigested food in it, deficient in energy, depression, need lots of sleep, in favor of hot food, pale face. They should eat more hot/warm food.
In contrast, people who have an inner environment with a hot manifestation are likely to have the following symptoms: Like cold weather, dislike hot weather, hot in five “little centers” (two palms, two feet and chest), thirsty with dry throat, feel stressed, upset and nervous, insomnia, like to eat cold food. They should eat more cold food.
|Hot /Warm food||Cold food|
|Meats||beef, chicken (hen), deer, duck, kangaroo, lamb, pork, veal, venison,||frog, rabbit, rooster, turkey,|
|Seafood||butter-fish, carp, eel, mussels, prawns, red-snapper, sea-cucumber, shrimp||abalone(n?), clams, crab, kelp, seaweed, oyster, (most fish), scallops(n),|
|Vegetables||beans, broccoli, carob, chilli, chives, corn, fennel, garlic, ginger, green peppers, leek, mushroom (fresh), muster-greens, okra, onion, pumpkin, spinach, squash, shallots, sweet-potato, taro,||alphalfa-sprouts, asparagus, bai cai, bamboo shoot (Australian), bitter-gourd, bean sprouts, beets, bitter-melon, cardoons, carrot(n), celery, cabbage, Chinese cabbage(n), cauliflower, cucumber, daikon, eggplant, grape-leaves, green-beans, green-peas (n?), kelp, lettuce, lotus-root, melon, mushrooms(n), potato(n?), pumpkin(n), radish, rhubarb, seaweed, Swiss-chard, spinach, tofu, tomato, turnip, water-chestnut, water-cress, winter-melon, zucchini,|
|Fruits||apple, cantaloupe, cherry, coconut-meat, dates, fig, grape, guava, jujube, lychee, mango, papaya, plum, quince, raisin, raspberry, sweet-melon,||apricot, banana, barberries, berries(n), grapes(n), grapefruit, kiwi, lemon, loquat, mandarin, nectarine, olives (n), orange, papaya(n), peach, pear(n), Persian-lime, persimmon, pineapple, pomegranate, pomelo, prune, sour/tart-cherry, star-fruit, strawberry, watermelon,|
|Cereals/beans||chickpeas, corn-starch, mung-beans, oats, quinoa, sesame, spelt, wheat-flour, yellow-split-peas,||azuki beans(n), barley, barley-flower, buckwheat, kidney-beans, lentils(n?), millet, mung-bean, peas, pinto beans, rice(n), rye(n), soy/tofu, wheat-bran, whole-wheat, yellow-fava-beans,|
|Nuts||almonds, chestnut, pinenut, pistachio, walnuts||peanuts(n?), sunflower-seeds(n?)|
|Spices||anise, basil, black-pepper, cardamom, caraway seed, cinnamon, cloves, corriander, cumin, curry, chili, fennel seed, garlic, ginger, ginseng, nigella-seed, mustard, nutmeg, pepper, rosemary, saffron, salt, spearmint, turmeric, vanilla||salt, soy-sauce, sumac|
|Herbs||bay-leaf, chives, dill, fenugreek, garden-angelica, marjoram, mint, tarragon,||chrysanthemun tea, green tea, parsley(n), coriander/cilantro, peppermint|
|Dairy||butter, eggs, goat milk, whey,||cheese, cream, feta(n), cow’s milk(n?), yogurt,|
|Other||brown-sugar, coconut-milk, honey, jasmine-tea(?) Persian-pickles, rose-water, vinegar, wine,||chrysanthemum tea, coffee(?), tea(n), green tea, lemon-juice, pomegranate-paste, saffron(n), sugar, tamarind, tomato-paste, rice(n), sesame-oil, sour-grape-juice/verjuice,|
(n) = neutral
If you see any corrections to be made, or know more cold/hot foods to add to the chart, please write me through → CONTACT. Thank you.