Eat According to Your Type- Five Element Food Guideline

According to Chinese Medicine, each individual is born with a certain constitution that strongly establishes their personality, emotional state, health risks,  and their strength and weakness.  The five elemental constitutional types are  – wood, fire, earth, metal and water.   Eating according to your own constitutional type can nourish your body, strengthen your constitution and optimize your health and wellbeing.

Wood Element   木

Intense personality, headache prone

The Wood people have a facial structure that is rectangular and muscular, with an olive complexion.  They tend to be highly motivated and have a strong personality,  so called Type A. They maybe high energy, confident, intense, smart, decisive, responsible, and authoritative.  Wood types tend to command respect but are also prone to stubbornness and are sometimes overbearing and controlling.  They are susceptible to disorders of the liver, nervous system— especially the brain, throat, bronchial tubes, esophagus, and stomach.  They tend to suffer from frequent headaches, eye disorders, nerve pain, neck and shoulder pain, throat constriction, acid reflux disorder, and high blood pressure.

Someone with Wood constitution often appears over stressed.  They can benefit rom practicing meditation and yoga on a regular basis.  Competitive sports are not ideal recreation activities for Wood type, since they are already too goal oriented.  Instead they should engage in hiking, sailing, fishing, birdwatching.


Beet, carrot, collard greens, Swiss chard, kale, mustard greens, parsley, dandelion, spinach, turnip, yam, sweet potato, tomato, asparagus, corn, pearl barley, barley, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, rhubarb, squash, winter melon, zucchini, pumpkin, (and seeds), flaxseed (and oil), sunflower seed, olive (and oil), honey, seaweed, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, peppermint, spear-mint, lentil, split pea artichoke, mung bean, soybean, blackbean, grape, loquat, kiwi, nectarine, litchi fruit, plum, raspberry, blueberry, cranberry, strawberry, basil, sesame seed (and oil), rice vinegar, sage bran, chicken, turkey, fish, egg whites.


Deep fried and fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, overly sour foods, iced drinks, dairy products, wheat, barley, yeast, pork, red meat, peanut, banana, fruit juice, orange, artificial sweetener.


Fire Element   火

Quick mind, heart problems

The Fire people tend to be very passionate, excitable, sensitive, and impatient.  They have a triangular face that narrows at the chin, with prominent features and a slightly reddish complexion.  A Fire person is very much a quick study, has an eye for details, and is ambitious and persistent but frustrated easily and does not easily adapt to change. Sociable and articulate, they may still have a hard time getting along with others due to their strong egos, and may thus become isolated. Fire Type are susceptible to circulatory and cardiovascular problems such as hypertension and heart disease, varicose and spider veins, as well as anxiety, insomnia, palpitations, stress, neck and shoulder tightness, toothache, constipation, and menstrual disorders.

If you are a Fire type, it is very important to schedule your time, especially during the midlife transition, and make sure to set some aside for yourself.  This means not just being alone, but thinking seriously about your own wellbeing.  Start a journal and think about what brings you joy.  Remind yourself that you deserve it and make a place for it in your life.


Bok choy, red cabbage, red chard, turnip, radish, celery, spinach, red potato, red bell pepper, cauliflower, carrot, mustard greens, tomato, mushroom, buckwheat, beet root (and greens), celery, asparagus, lemon, sunflower seed, pear, pomegranate, mulberry, red apple, wheat bran, raspberry, strawberry, cranberry, brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, adzuki bean, kidney bean, soybean, tofu, red jujube date, coconut, carob, hawthorn berry, rosemary, tarragon, savory, safflower, endive, chili pepper, chicken, shrimp, fish, goat dairy, egg, olive oil, flaxseed oil, canola oil.


Rich and greasy foods, cow dairy, deep fried and fatty foods, red meat, refined sugar, sweets, alcohol, caffeine, wheat, yeast, overly spicy foods, artificial sweetener.


Earth Element   土

Giving and nurturing,  prone to stomach ailments

Sincere, easygoing, giving and nurturing, the Earth elemental type tend to make friends easily. She takes a conservative, methodical approach and is generally not the initiator.  Earth types tend to have oval faces that are full, fleshy, and slightly yellow in complexion.  They are imaginative but prone to overthinking and worry.  They usually have big appetite and may overindulge.  Earth element people tend to have digestive and intestinal problems including disorders of pancreas, stomach, spleen, and intestines; they may suffer from ulcers. inflammation of the intestines, diarrhea, constipation, bloating , water retention, muscular weakness and low energy.

If you are Earth type, you feel most content in the company of other people.  You thrive on the energy of the others and nurture them in return.  When you are out of balance, you may become needy, wanting more and more affection, or give too much of yourself, becoming a pushover.  It’s time to work on your self-reliance and to develop the skill of setting boundaries in your life.


Alfalfa sprouts, carrot, cauliflower, celery, daikon radish, mushroom, potato, seaweed, snow pea, spinach, yam, sweet potato, hawthorn berry, guava, persimmon, strawberry, papaya, blueberry, pearl barley, tofu, bamboo shoot, bok choy, cilantro, lotus root, pumpkin, squash, soybean, golden apple, grapefruit, lemon, lime, eggs, turnip, prune, fig, barley, rice, buckwheat, millet, oat, yellow bell pepper, green bean, kale, lotus seed, mustard green, parsley, red grape, cherry, jujube date, mango, pineapple, plum, garbanzo bean, adzuki bean, lima bean, pea, beef, fish, lamb, basil, fennel, dill, cayenne, cumin, ginger, brown rice vinegar, mustard seed.


Iced drinks, raw vegetables and fruits, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar, deep fried and fatty foods, processed and refined foods, wheat, yeast, pork, melon, artificial sweetener.


Metal Element   金

Intellectual and organized, frequent colds and flu

The metal type has a round and wide facial structure, with a prominent nose and fair complexion. Metal type tend to be very intellectual, articulate, rational, meticulous and organized.  When they focus their energy on a single task, they are persistent and usually follow through to the end.  Yet their overly optimistic outlook, curious nature, and ability to see myriad possibilities can lead to excessive deliberating.  This causes Metal type to change their minds too often and spread themselves too thin, thereby becoming scattered and unfocused.  Because they are so good at what they do they tend to become overextended.  Metal type tends to suffer respiratory conditions such as sinusitis, allergies, and asthma and susceptible to laryngitis, colitis, upper back pain, colds and flu, and diseases affecting the mouth, teeth, skin and bone marrow.

It’s very important for Metal types to establish regular mealtimes rather tan eating erratically.  However, do encourage spontaneity in your creative life, to counteract your hyper-rational side. Aerobic exercise will benefit your health and stop smoking now!


Burdock root, cabbage, carrot, daikon radish, seaweed, agar, spinach, watercress, apple, banana, prune, fig, mulberry, peach, Asian pear, Bartlett pear, persimmon, strawberry, soybean, tofu, asparagus, bok choy, beet, cauliflower, egg whites, eggplant, white potato, pumpkin, snow pea, jicama, barley, brown or wild rice, millet, mushroom, winter melon seed, turnip, cantaloupe, apricot, parsnip, scallion, onion, pine nut, walnut, ginger, horseradish, mustard greens, molasses, rice vinegar, garlic, berries, pineapple, sesame seed, fennel, okra, papaya, jujube date, cherry, peanut, pea, olive, almond, white bean, thyme, string bean, fish, chicken, turkey.


All dairy products, alcohol, overly spicy foods, iced drinks, caffeine, refined sugar, deep-fried and fatty foods, wheat, barbecued foods, red meat, dried or dehydrated products, artificial sweetener.


Water Element   水

Strong willpower, hormone problems

The Water element type will likely have strong willpower and endurance, yet can also seem timid, hesitant, unsure of herself.  Perhaps she is physically weak.  With this duality, people with Water constitutions may become too dependent on others or go to extreme in decision making, alienating those around them.  They are usually deep thinkers, content with the pleasures of the mind.  Water types typically have square, filled out face, large ears and a dark complexion.  They may age prematurely and are susceptible to urinary, genital and reproductive ailments such as infertility and impotence; their health problems tend to involve the kidneys, bladders, urinary tract, ovaries, hormonal system, and low back.

Drink lots of water if you are a Water element! Fluids clear out the kidneys, which re your weak point.  It’s also important for you to nature your social relations and not spend too much time alone.  You maybe very self-sufficient, but this can become coldness and detachment from others when you re out of balance.


Broccoli, carrot, celery, blue corn, cucumber, daikon radish, eggplant, lotus root, seaweed, snow pea, soybean, avocado, spinach, zucchini, watercress, watermelon, mulberry, pear, millet, pearl barley, amaranth, quinoa, black bean, bamboo shoot, blueberry, blackberry, cabbage,  leek, shiitake mushroom, potato, squash, winter melon, cantaloupe, chives, shallot, jujube date, green bean, mustard greens, parsnip, grape, raspberry, black bean, cashew, chestnut, walnut, sesame seed, venison, livers, chicken, beef, lamb, fish, adzuki bean, peanut, pea, lotus seed,  coconut, black rice, wild rice, oregano.


Overly salty foods, alcohol, caffeine, fatty and deep fried foods, iced drinks, raw vegetables, and fruits, dairy, refined sugar, deep-fried and fatty foods, wheat, yeast, artificial sweetener.