Photo by Peter Miller.
Lucila Matovelle, a doctor of Ayurvedic medicine, explains that fruits and vegetables are related to the five elements: water, earth, wood, fire and metal. Each element is represented by a color, related to a body organ. The food’s properties are also considered: foods can be heavy, light, humid or cold, and these characteristics are said to influence the body.
The color white, which represents metal, is linked to the lungs and the large intestine. Foods such as maize, corn, cassava, rice, garlic, white onion and radish benefit these organs. However, milk and its derivatives are heavy and cold and can cause intestinal problems, such as constipation, diarrhea and respiratory challenges.
Foods that are dark or black, which represent water, help the kidneys and bladder. These include aubergines, black beans, purple cabbage, blueberries, black mulberries and black grapes. Green-colored foods represent the element of wood, and are related to the liver and the gallbladder. It is particularly important to nourish and detoxify these organs. “If the liver is not right, no organ will function properly,” says Matovelle. Beneficial foods are celery, chard, spinach, sprouts, artichokes, pears and apples.
Red represents fire and relates to the small intestine and the heart. Strawberries, tomatoes, radishes, red peppers and chilis in small quantities favor these organs. Finally, there is the element of earth, represented by yellow foods, which care for the stomach: pumpkin, papaya, yellow pepper, oranges, and cereals including wheat, barley, quinoa and amaranth.
When a person is balanced and the body is well, according to the Ayurvedic system, foods in all colors can be consumed; however, if there is a disease or a problem, it is important to know which foods to eat in greater quantity and which foods to avoid. If diseases are advanced, a combination of natural and chemical treatments may be required.
Another Point of View
Gabriela Molina, the nutritionist for Diabetes House, says food choice based on colors does not have a scientific basis; however, for a healthy diet, the World Health Organization states that it is essential to consume fruits and vegetables to prevent cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Fruits and vegetables contain a high amount of fiber, and help intestinal movements, as well as have vitamins and minerals that boost the immune system. According to Molina, it is advisable to eat a minimum of three fruits and two cups of vegetables daily (in the case of large fruits, such as pineapple, papaya, watermelon, e.g., a cup would amount to a whole fruit). To take advantage of the properties of the fruit, she suggests eating them directly, as opposed to drinking juice.
For Molina, a person’s diet should be varied. Fruits and vegetables must always be present, as they definitely help to improve health.
Originally published on ElMercurio.com. Translated and edited for length.