It is easy to get caught in too many details when it comes to the science of health. Anyone who is watching the medical news knows that every month or so there is a new medical study that indicates one or another particular food shows some statistical significance to long term health. The media is especially quick to pick up on these studies when they involve foods that are often regarded as less than healthy. The media frequently does a poor job explaining science news. Consumers should also educate themselves about how to read and understand scientific studies.
The common items that get this type of focus are tea, coffee and chocolate (or anything containing caffeine), Beer, wine or other alcohol and various spices. These get media attention because they sound interesting or counter commonly held beliefs. Critics will quickly point out that these same items can also be harmful depending on how they are used. The debate goes on leaving consumers confused. This also stirs up arguments as various people with less than healthy diets point to these studies to justify their overindulgences.
These studies should be seen as exactly what they are, part of the ongoing search for a better understanding of how the human body works. From a Chinese Herbal medicine perspective, these studies confirm basic principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In TCM many of the ailments that are associated with aging and declining health in general are attributed in one way or another as related to what is called “Blood stasis”. The treatment is to use various methods to “move blood” in the classical medical understanding. That would include the application of acupuncture treatments, exercise, (especially aerobic exercise) and herbs/foods that “move blood”. All of the items listed above are classified to some degree in TCM as “blood movers”. Therefore it is not surprising that these foods would be found though studies as having some affect on various ailments associated with long term health and wellbeing.
The lesson to take away from this is to not focus on the details of the various hyped medical studies, but rather see that they expand on, and confirm what was always known; that a healthy life should include a variety of foods, in moderation. It is not the specific food that was tested that is so important but rather how those foods fit into an overall lifestyle that supports healthy living. That would include exercise, joy, good food, and other things that support life and living.