Chinese dietary therapy is a standard modality of traditional Chinese medicine. The idea that food is also medicine is deeply rooted in the Chinese culture. Chinese medicine has a unique way to assess foods. Practitioners look at nutritional components of foods, and consider the food’s color, taste, texture and shape. Foods with specific colors and tastes nourish specific parts of the body and correct specific imbalances.
Treating illness and maintaining health through dietary therapy is central to the philosophy and practice of Chinese medicine. Two major dietary principles which relate to balancing Yin and Yang are the "Four Energies" or "Four Properties" of food (cold, cool, warm, and hot), and the direction, or "bearing," that the food’s energy takes in the body (upward or downward). The "Five Tastes" of food, the seasonal aspects of food, and the "meridian propensities" of food are tied to Five Phase theory. The specific functions that foods can have to tonify, cleanse, and regulate the body are based on these principles and on direct experience.