Emotions Affect Our Organs

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) understands that emotions affect our
physiology. There are seven basic emotions in the Chinese system: joy, anger,
worry, thought (pensiveness), sadness, fear and shock. Each emotion
influences a specific organ. Under normal conditions, this relationship helps
someone respond to life events, but when the emotions are excessive or
underdeveloped, the body will eventually become sick.

Excessive anger, for example, is dangerous to the liver and other parts of the
body. The liver is where anger dwells. Extreme irritation or rage will amplify
the liver energy, which will then rush to the head, potentially causing high
blood pressure or headaches, or the worst-case scenario a stroke.

While emotions affect the organs, it is important to remember that they are
also created in specific organs. An organ “gives rise” to an emotion. Here is
a list of these correlations:

The heart                   gives rise to                     joy
The liver                    gives rise to                    anger
The lungs                 gives rise to                    worry and sadness
The spleen              gives rise to                     thought
The kidneys           gives rise to                      fear and shock

Emotions Damage to Corresponding Organ 
Joy Excessive joy consumes Heart energy, leading to deficiency Heart energy. It also relaxes the heart, so it cannot function effectively.
Anger Excessive anger consumes Liver energy, leading to deficient Liver energy. It also rises to the head, creating headaches, high blood pressure and potentially strokes.
Worry & Sadness Excessive worry and sadness burn up Lung energy, leading to deficient Lung energy, and also cause abdominal pain and swelling.
Thought Excessive thought consumes Spleen energy, leading to deficient Spleen energy and causes congestion in the spleen.
Fear & Shock Excessive fear and shock consume Kidney energy, leading to deficient Kidney energy.  Fear also forces Kidney energy downward, causing lower-body problems and kidney conditions.  Shock creates chaos in the kidneys, which impairs their efficiency.

Qualities of Foods that Hear the Emotions

The five basic flavors in foods are often used to transform an emotion into fire and recalibrate the body. Foods can also be used to boost important emotions as well as reduce overstimulated emotions.

Healing Foods Organs Enhanced Emotions Enhanced Emotions Reduced 
Sour Liver & Gallbladder Anger Thought 
Bitter Heart & Small Intestine Joy Sadness & Worry
Sweet Spleen & Stomach  Thought Fear & Shock 
Pungent Lungs & Large Intestine Worry & Sadness Anger
Salty Kidneys & Bladder Fear & Shock Joy

Source: Dale, C. (2009). The Subtle Body. Boulder, CO: Sounds True, Inc, pp.225-227.

Sour Foods

– Sour Taste is composed of Earth and Fire and is hot, light, and moist by nature.
– Citrus fruits (such as lemon and limes) and green apples
– Sour milk products (like yogurt, cheese, and sour cream)
– Fermented substances (including wine, vinegar, pickles, sauerkraut, and soy sauce).

Bitter Foods

Bitter melon is a green, bumpy, cucumber-shaped melon that tastes extremely bitter. It’s eaten in Asian, African and Caribbean countries but less popular in other areas. Bitter melon is packed with natural plant-based chemicals that may help prevent cancer, reduce oxidative stress and lower blood sugar levels.
– The cruciferous family contains many bitter-tasting vegetables including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, radishes and arugula. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage contain powerful cancer-fighting compounds and can improve your liver’s ability to process toxins.
– You may think that dandelions are just a garden weed, but their leaves are edible and highly nutritious. Dandelion greens are medium-sized, vibrantly green leaves with irregular edges. They can be eaten raw in salads, sauteed as a side dish or included in soups and pastas. As they are very bitter, dandelion greens are often balanced out with other flavors like garlic or lemon. Dandelion greens are rich in vitamins and minerals, contain carotenoids that benefit eye health and are a source of prebiotics that encourage the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
Citrus Peel while the flesh and juice of citrus fruits like lemons, oranges and grapefruits have a sweet or tart flavor, the outer peel and white pith are quite bitter. Citrus peel has a bitter flavor due to its high concentration of flavonoids. These powerful antioxidants may reduce inflammation and help protect against cancer.
Cranberries are tart, bitter red berries that can be enjoyed raw, cooked, dried or juiced. Can prevent bacteria from sticking to surfaces, such as your bodily tissues. Reducing bacterial tooth decay, lowering your risk of H. pylori infections in the stomach and even preventing E. coli infections in your gut and urinary tract. Antioxidants that help prevent various types of bacterial infections and may improve heart health.
Cocoa powder is made from the beans of the cacao plant and tastes extremely bitter when unsweetened. Often used in a variety of desserts, it’s also mixed with cocoa butter, cocoa liqueur, vanilla and sugar to make chocolate. Research has found that people who eat chocolate at least five times per week have a 56% lower risk of heart disease, compared to those who don’t eat chocolate at all. Cocoa is also a good source of several trace minerals, including copper, manganese, magnesium and iron (33). Unsweetened cocoa powder, cacao nibs and extra dark chocolate contain the highest number of antioxidants and least amount of sugar. Therefore, they make for healthy additions to your diet
Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages around the world and the top source of antioxidants in the American diet. Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants and polyphenols. Drinking 3–4 cups per day may reduce your risk of death, heart disease, diabetes and neurological disorders.
Green tea is another popular beverage consumed around the world. It has a naturally bitter flavor due to its catechin and polyphenol contents. Green tea contains catechins and polyphenols that provide many health benefits, including possible cancer protection and a lower risk of heart disease. In fact, drinking just one cup of green tea daily is associated with a nearly 20% lower risk of heart attack.
Red wine contains two main types of polyphenols — proanthocyanidins and tannins — which give wine its deep color and bitter taste. Keep in mind that drinking alcohol in excess can lead to liver damage and other health problems, so moderation is important. Red wine contains polyphenols that have been linked to better heart and gut health. Drinking red wine may also boost longevity and reduce your risk of diabetes and osteoporosis.

Healthline. (2020). 9 Bitter Foods That Are Good for You. Available at: www.healthline.com 

Soulfoodsalon.com. (2020). [online] Available at: www.soulfoodsalon.com 

Naturally Sweet Foods

Sweet Corn Grow it in a sunny position in rich, fertile soil to get the very sweetest cobs. You can check whether they’re ready to pick once the tassels have turned brown. Peel back the husk and sink a nail into one of the kernels. If it’s ripe, it will exude a milky juice. The fresher the cob, the sweeter it will be, so pick it just before you plan to eat it.
Peas also benefit from being picked and eaten promptly. Look for a variety with ‘sweet’ or ‘sugar’ in its name – a good clue to its taste! As well as sweet varieties of pea, try sugarsnap and mangetout types. You can sow peas outdoors from spring right through to summer, giving you a long cropping period of delicious pods.
– Some tomato varieties are sweeter than others and, as a rule, the smaller the sweeter, so opt for cherry tomatoes. To encourage a higher concentration of natural sugars in the fruits, apply a liquid tomato fertiliser regularly but avoid overwatering because this will dilute the flavour compounds.
Beetroot may be sown from spring right through to summer to offer a steady supply of roots. Enjoy them liberally doused in oil and balsamic vinegar, then slowly roasted with other sweet-tasting roots such as carrots and parsnips. Miniature, or baby beets are ready to pick just two months after sowing. Harvest them before they get too big – no bigger than golf ball sized for the sweetest roots.
– Like beetroot, carrots may be sown over a long season. And like beetroot, smaller roots are the sweetest. Select varieties that produce pencil-sized roots, or try the Chantenay types beloved by chefs. Some varieties are bred specifically with sweetness in mind, so look out for any described as sweet tasting.
– We grow more strawberries in our gardens than any other fruit. Ripe, sun-warmed strawberries are one of the most satisfying experiences any gardener can enjoy, and kids love helping seek out and pick the fruits. Extend your harvest by planting a range of early, mid and late-season varieties. Alpine or wild strawberries are tiny but have a remarkable fragrance and flavour.
Melons need a long, warm summer to succeed, so in temperate regions it’s usually safest to grow them in a greenhouse or tunnel. Honeydew melons are the sweetest, while cantaloupe types are the most reliable, so go for these if you’re unsure. Pick them at their prime for the best flavour. The stalk should be cracked, while one end of the fruit will be slightly soft. And you won’t be able to miss its truly dreamy scent. Watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, Casaba, Honey Globe Melon, Santa Claus Melon, Canary Melon, Gac Melon, Winter Melon, Sprite Melon, Crenshaw Melon, Korean Melon, Hami Melon, Bitter Melon, Charentais Melon, Galia Melon, Horned Melon, Kantola Melon, Golden Langkawi Melon, Cucamelon.

Source: Miller, L. and Miller, L. (2020). 20 Different Types of Melons. [online] Elist10.com. www.elist10.com 

Pungent (Spicy) Foods

– Onions
– Chilies
– Ginger
 – Garlic
– Radish
– Black pepper
– Ginger
– Cayenne
– Cardamom

Salty Foods

– Homemade cheese crackers
– Baked potato chips
– Baked carrot chips
– Sweet- salty energy bites
– Sweet and salty trail mix
– Sweet and salty roasted chickpeas
– Savory hummus no bake energy bites
– Sea salt popcorn
– Salted roasted green peas
– Homemade pita chips

The salty taste is grounding for the nervous system and encourages stability. People who are solid and reliable are known as ‘the salt of the earth’.

Source: Well+Good. (2020). Here’s what a serving size actually looks like of 10 of your favorite healthy foods. Available at: www.wellandgood.com 

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