Eating According To Temperament

Balance your energy stores by knowing your body ' feed your highs and balance your lows.
Energy isn’t something you want to keep upping – there needs to be a time for rest as well. Keep your stores filled adequately, but not completely overflowing and overwhelming.

Although defining yourself can sometimes feel box-like, it does assist in being able to individualise your health habits. There are four basic temperament types in humans: Sanguinous, Bilious, Phlegmatic and Melancholic. These may not sound like something you’d like to claim, but they are categorised to distinguish not only physical attributes, but also spiritual, emotional and mental traits and they can help you individualise your eating habits. A system of medicine called Tibb that has it’s origins in Greco-Arabic medicine uses the four temperaments extensively.

did you know?
By knowing which temperamental type is your dominant one and which is your secondary, you can more easily identify the type of food that will help balance your energy reserves.

See if you can identify your temperament from this brief overview:

SANGUINOUS (hot & moist)
Large, muscular frame; skin moderate in softness and dryness, warm to the touch; reddish, glowing complexion; thick, oily hair; bright eyes with prominent capillaries; persuasive, sociable, talkative and outgoing personality; emotionally cheerful, bold, excited, but also a worrier; good but selective memory; healthy appetite with moderate to excessive thirst; good physical endurance; moderate to active mental activity; intolerance to hot and humid conditions; perspire easily.; moderate to deep sleep; and clear vocal tone which is moderate to loud. Female sanguines tend to have painful menstruation.

BILIOUS (hot & dry)
Medium, lean frame; warm to dry skin with a yellowish complexion; moderately thick and soft hair; small to medium, sharp and penetrating eyes with a yellowish tint; resourceful, outspoken, dominant and sometimes short-tempered; emotionally aggressive, angry, impatient, irritable; sharp memory that never forgets; good appetite with excessive thirst, irritable if there is a delay in meals; very active physically; precise and orderly mental activity; intolerant of hot and dry conditions; perspire easily; tendency towards insomnia, 5-6 hours is usually adequate sleep; sharp and loud vocal tone.

PHLEGMATIC (cold & moist)
Large frame with tendency towards being overweight; cool, moist and soft skin texture; pale complexion with thin, oily and straight hair; dreamy, watery eyes that are moderate to large in size with an attractive light tint; calm, patient listener; emotionally fearful and shy but self-content; slow but prolonged memory; steady appetite, low thirst levels, can skip meals; physically lethargic and lack stamina; mental activity is slow, but receptive and cool-minded; intolerance to moist and cold weather; low levels of perspiration; heavy sleep, need eight or more hours and tend to oversleep; voice tone is slow and soft.

MELANCHOLIC (cold & dry)
Thin, bony frame; dry and rough skin texture; cold, greyish complexion; dry, dark hair; eyes small and active with a greyish tint; thoughtful, analytical and a tendency towards perfectionism; emotionally fearful, insecure, suspicious and anxious; good short term memory, but not great long term; irregular and variable appetite and thirst; erratic and disorganised physically, but active; mental activity is restless, enquiring, imaginative and philosophical; intolerant of cold and dry conditions; don’t sweat much; sleep is irregular, interrupted and tends towards insomnia; voice is soft but fast. Female melancholics tend to clot during menstruation.

It’s a lot of information to take in, but before you categorically categorise yourself, or feel you could easily fit into two of the temperaments, consider the following:

  • We’re all a combination of all four temperaments, but one dominates.
  • A true reflection of physical appearance is determined by how you look(ed) in your early 20s.
  • Don’t confuse habits with tendencies or preferences. For example, because ice is almost always served with cold drinks, you may believe that you like ice, on reflection cold drinks may not be your preference.
  • Personality traits should be identified when you’re relaxed and away from environmental factors that can alter personality, like a stressful work environment.
  • When evaluating personality traits, consider how other people see you, especially those who know you well like family and friends. For example, if you have a calm nature in general but can become very angry when seriously provoked, it doesn’t mean you have a bilious temperament (known to be short-tempered).
Now that you’ve established your dominant temperament, what food should you eat? Well, too much of food with qualities similar to your temperament’s qualities will result in an excess of that particular quality – negatively affecting your health. So, food that’s on the opposite spectrum of your temperament will be most balancing. If you’re Sanguinous (hot and moist) you’ll be most negatively affected by food that’s hot and moist. This negative influence will be exacerbated if you’re eating in a hot and moist environment.

According to Prof Rashid Bhikha, author of Four Temperaments, Six Lifestyle Factors, different tastes are classified according to their qualities; six tastes are defined as follows:

SALTY - Hot & Moist
INSIPID - Cold & Moist
PUNGENT - Hot & Dry
SWEET - Moist & Hot
SOUR - Cold & Dry
BITTER - Dry & Hot

Metabolism differs with each temperamental type. Knowing this helps determine the ideal quantity of food to be consumed during meals.

SANGUINOUS – your hot and moist qualities (with a medium to large frame) means you should have two medium to large meals a day.

BILIOUS – your hot and dry qualities means you have strong digestion, which allows you to have three medium size meals a day.

PHLEGMATIC – your cold and moist qualities allows only two medium size meals.

MELANCHOLIC – your cold and dry qualities allow for three meals, these should be  moderate to small.

The good news is, if you appropriately adjust the amount of food you eat, you can easily snack between meals. Here are some tips on healthy snacking for your temperament.

SANGUINOUS - Avocado mash with taco, popcorn, smoked mussels, apples, strawberries, grapes and citrus fruits.

BILIOUS - Rice cake with cream cheese sprinkled with pumpkin seeds, almonds, plain yoghurt with honey and sunflower seeds, melons, figs and apricots.

PHLEGMATIC - Brown bread with humus and rocket, chicken biltong, grapes, cashew, hazel, pecan or walnuts.

MELANCHOLIC - Goats cheese on rye with red pepper strips, bananas and sunflower seeds, peaches, dates or mangoes, liquorice.

“Wellness Warehouse strives to help you live life well but because we are retailers and not medical practitioners we cannot offer medical advice. Please always consult your medical practitioner before taking any supplements, complementary medicines or have any health concerns and ensure that you always read labels, warnings and directions carefully, prior to consumption.”