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Cover story : 25 June 2003
Vol. 20 No.6
Thai Food : The Harmony of Flavours and Health
By Ninnart

One of Some Best Buys



Thai Food _01
Do you like Thai food? It is one of the world's five most popular culinary styles, along with those of the Chinese, Indian, Italian and French. It features hot and spicy tastes with colourful ingredients which not only coordinate to boost appetite but also contain medicinal properties.

Traditional Thai medicine regards food as a fundamental of a person's physical and mental health. If one consumes food which harmonizes with the seasons of the year, the geographical condition of his locality and the chemical elements in his body, good health and clear state of mind will be his. This principle has been observed by the Thai people for a long time to keep the body and mind in equilibrium.
The Harmony of Flavours and Elements
Thai Food _02
According to traditional Thai medicine, a human body consists of four elements --earth, water, wind and fire. Earth is a constituent of 20 organs like hair, nails, teeth and bones. Water constitutes 12 fluids in the body, such as bile, blood and lymph. Wind is the breath. It is a factor in body movements.
Thai Food _03
Thai Food _04
Lead plants and dishcloth gourds are recommended vegetables for people of the "Earth" element.
Fire provides heat and energy to keep the body warm and help with digestion. A balance of these four elements enables the body to function well. However, for each person, only one element is predominant while the other three are supplementary. For example, a person born on 14 May has Earth as a predominant element, with water, wind and fire as supporters. To maintain the inner balance, it is important to take food with opposing properties.Below are some traditional hints for people of each element, some of which are still observed.
Thai Food _05
Thai Food _06
Coconut milk is superb to quench
your thirst, especially in the hot season.
Earth dominated people are those born a Taurus (14 May-14 June), a Virgo (17 Sept.-16 Oct.), or an Aquarius (14 Jan.-12 Feb.). They tend to be obese and easily develop diabetes, high blood pressure, rheumatism, asthma, coughing and cold. Food that has an astringent, salty or sweet flavour, or is greasy, is recommended to them, such as the following:
Samples of vegetables: unripe bananas, unripe jackfruits, lead plant, spinach, dishcloth gourds
Samples of Thai dishes: saute dishcloth gourds with shrimps, spicy soup with unripe bananas and shrimps
Samples of beverages: Coconut milk, soya milk, orange juice, guava juice, pumpkin juice, corn milk.
Thai Food _07
Oranges are excellent for people of every element.
Water dominated people are those born a Leo (16 July-16 Aug.), a Scorpio (16 Nov.-15 Dec.) or a Pisces (14 Mar.-12 Apr.). Their health problems are similar to those of the Earth-type people. They should eat something sour or slightly bitter, such as :
Thai Food _08
Samples of vegetables: limes, morinda leaves, bitter cucumbers, Thai cassia siamea leaves, trumpet flowers
Thai Food _09
Samples of Thai dishes: hot and sour soup with trumpet flowers, saute morinda leaves with minced pork
Thai Food _10
Hot and sour shrimp clear soup is ideal
for "Water" dominated people,
because galangal is one of its ingredients.
Samples of beverages: lemon juice, tomato juice, tamarind juice, pineapple juice

Wind dominated people are those born a Gemini (15 June-15 July), a Libra (17 Oct.-15 Nov.) or an Aquarius (13 Feb.-13 Mar.). There is a tendency for them to develop problems with joints and bones, the digestive system and constipation. They should eat something cool, aromatic or hot.
Thai Food _15
Ginger helps boost the digestive system.
Samples of vegetables: ginger, galangal, pepper, holy basil, turmeric, chilli, mint, lemon grass
Thai Food _12
It is advisable for people who are born
an Aries, a Leo or a Sagittarius to
eat food cooked with swamp morning glory.
Samples of Thai dishes: chicken in coconut cream, hot and sour shrimp clear soup
Samples of beverages: ginger juice, galangal juice, lemon grass juice
Thai Food _13
Fire dominated people are those born an
Aries (13 Apr.-13 May), a Leo (16 Aug.-16 Sept.) or a Sagittarius (16 Dec.-13 Jan.). These people often have problems of stomach malfunction, stress, allergies and diarrhea. Food of bitter and cooling tastes are suitable for them.
Thai Food _14
Samples of vegetables: swamp morning glory, water mimosa
Samples of Thai dishes: saute swamp morning glory, water mimosa spicy salad
Samples of beverages: watermelon juice, pandanus leaf juice, chrysanthemum juice
Water mimosa
The Harmony of Flavours and Seasons
Even though one eats in conformation with the above principles, one might still be affected by seasonal changes which results in the imbalance of the body. Trying to eat properly will help maintain the body in healthy condition. These are some dietary suggestions for each season.
Hot Season (Feb.-May) The fire element is directly affected by heat. In this season, people frequently have fevers or other symptoms such as fatigue, and thirst. Eating food having bitter or sour flavour like papaya salad will cool off and refresh the body.
Rainy Season (June-Sept.) People tend to catch a cold and have feverish symptoms because of the increased moisture and coolness in the air. Hot and spicy food such as spicy and sour shrimp soup is the best medicine for these symptoms.
Thai Food _16
Thai Food _17
Cool Season (Oct.-Jan.) The dry weather disturbs the water element. The coolness and the dryness decrease moisture in the body, resulting in dry skin, headaches, running nose and sprains
Thai Food_18
In the Hot season, papaya salad is
recommended to you as it helps
cool off and refresh your body.

Food which has bitter, hot or sour flavour and contains krachai, pepper and chilli, like a mild and spicy soup with sweet basil, dishcloth gourds and minced shrimps, can help relieve these symptoms.

Now, let's go for Thai food for its delicious tastes and a healthy body.

For the correct pronunciation of romanized Thai words, see
Romanization System of the Thai Language.

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