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How to Eat and Exercise Based on 5 Element Theory

Presented by Canan Sanatkar

Five Element Theory

Traditional Chinese Medicine derives much of its wisdom from understanding patterns found in nature. Nature is based on five elements and humans are the manifestation of these five elements. These elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water. They play an important role in many forms of our daily lives.

In Feng Shui, they are used to achieve balance, so that a room may heal and nurture.

What Type Are You?

There are a little bit of all five elements in each of us, but we all have at least one dominant and this is said to be our Five Element Type.

Knowing and understanding our elements can be extremely helpful since it can help us to understand ourselves and the people around us why they are the way they are.

Take the Quiz to find out what your type is here.


Wood: Pioneer

  • Wood Body Type: slender, small frame small bone, straight back, look like trees.
  • Color: Green
  • Season: Spring/Wind
  • Taste: Sour
  • Organ: Liver and Gallbladder/11 pm-3 am
  • Emotion: Anger
  • Wood Qualities: goal setter, visionary, achiever, planner, go-getter, task-oriented, list-maker, they live in the future.
  • Wood Downfalls: overachiever, control freaks, “it’s my way or the highway attitude”. Impatient, irritable, frustrated easily, angry
  • Unbalanced: Anger issues, night sweat, wind disorders, eye problems, tendon injuries
  • Balance: They need a job that they can thrive and grow. They don’t like to be stuck. They need to be constantly moving and taking breaks when it is necessary.
  • Diet: Lots of green vegetables, fewer fats, green apples, kale, spinach, some sour foods, artichoke and lean meats and pickled vegetables (sauerkraut), liver as an organ meat
  • Herbs: White Peony Root, Chrysanthemum flowers, red dates, rose water, goji berries
  • Best exercises: yoga, stretches, tai-chi, walking in the forest.
  • Design Ideas: Plants, wood flooring and furniture, sculpture, rectangular or columnar shapes.

Fire: Wizard

  • Fire Body Types: heart-shaped face, bigger forehead and a smaller chin, smaller hands and feet.
  • Color: Red
  • Season: Summer/Heat
  • Taste: Bitter
  • Organ: Heart and Small Intestines, PC-SJ/11 am-3 pm-7 pm-11 pm
  • Emotion: Joy
  • Fire Qualities: fun, passionate, excited, loves to laugh, the clown, and the life of the party, team player, party animals.
  • Fire Downfalls: needs constant stimulation, easily distracted and bored, can’t focus, doesn’t follow through, doesn’t like to be alone.
  • Unbalanced: Anxiety, overly dramatic, heart issues, circulatory issues, central nervous system problems, resistant to love
  • Balance: Adventure, fun in their life, passion in everything they do.
  • Diet: Beets, grass-fed beef, cherries, coffee, cayenne, red-colored vegetables, dark bitter chocolate
  • Herbs: Lotus seed, Longan fruit, Lily bulbs, lychee berries
  • Physical Exercise: Building muscle, short high-intensity training( HIIT). High jumping, core exercises, fast speed race, no endurance  or marathon
  • Design Ideas: Lights and candles, fireplace, paintings with red or triangular shape


Earth: Peacemaker

  • Earth Body Types: pear-shaped, rounded buttocks, bigger on lower body smaller on the top.
  • Color: Yellow/Orange
  • Season: Late Summer/Damp
  • Taste: Sweet
  • Organ: Pancreas, Spleen, Stomach/7 am-11 am
  • Emotion: Worry
  • Earth Qualities: nurturer, compassionate, great listener, homebody, caring, seeks harmony and togetherness,
  • Earth Downfalls: takes care of everyone and put herself last, very sensitive to criticism, wants to be involved and needed, often a doormat, worry, overthinks, overprotective, slower metabolism
  • Unbalanced: Diabetes, digestion, craves sweets, sacrifices everything or become extremely selfish, tendency to gain weight, water retention in the lower body and circulatory issues
  • Balance: Needs to be around encouraging, positive people, they connect people
  • Diet: Pumpkin, cinnamon, sweet potatoes, turmeric, oranges, persimmon, papaya, honey, potatoes, astragalus
  • Herbs: Astragalus, tangerine peel, Poria curls, red dates, ginger, lotus seed, codonopsis root
  • Physical Exercise: biking, running, hiking,
  • Design ideas: Clay or ceramic pots, soft fabrics and colors


Metal: Alchemist

  • Metal Body Type: broad squared shoulders, smaller on the legs (opposite of earth), defined face features, square face, small waist.
  • Color: White, Light Grey
  • Season: Fall/Dryness
  • Taste: Pungent
  • Organ: Lung &Large intestine/3am-7am
  • Emotion: Sadness
  • Metal Qualities: trustworthy, dependable, very hard worker, follow rules, require routine, will always finish a project, follows through, strong silent type, seeing things in black and white
  • Metal Downfalls: difficulties in having close relationships, constant self perceiving, not allow himself to share his thoughts or feelings, they always have a wall, feels lonely and misunderstood, a tendency to feeling blue and sad.
  • Unbalanced: Judgmental, critical, can be cold, depressed, sad, they live in the past, weak immune system
  • Balance: Surrounding themselves with earthy people, grounding, being in nature
  • Diet: light yellow and white, ginger, bone broth, cauliflower, kefir, yogurt, onion, garlic, probiotic, pear, black Spanish radish
  • Herbs: Scallions, ginger, tangerine peel, American ginseng, almond, apricot seed, astragalus,
  • Best exercises: Upper Body training over lower body training. Swimming, rock climbing, no running or biking, breathing exercises
  • Design ideas: Metal objects, metallic finishes and fixtures


Water: Philosopher

  • Water Body Type: rounded baby face, soft skin
  • Color: Black
  • Season: Winter/Cold
  • Taste: Salty
  • Organ: Kidney & Urinary Bladder, Adrenal Glands(life battery) /3pm-7pm
  • Emotion: Fear
  • Water Qualities: creative self-reflective, dreamer, artistic, easy-going, and works better alone, deepest, reading, praying, introvert, meditating, they give the best advice, patient.
  • Water Downfalls: Gets drained if around too many people for a long period time, always late, no motivation, fear of failure, fear of what other people think of them, disappointing others, self-doubts.
  • Unbalanced: Withdrawn, fearful, Hormonal issues, adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues, infertility, edema, low back pain, urinary issues, ringing in the ears, bone problems
  • Balance: Metal elements can give them boundaries and structures and recharging.
  • Diet: Berries, figs, pomegranate, grape, dark seaweed, spinach, beans, walnuts, chestnuts, eggs, adapt-genic herbs like ginseng, holy basil, cinnamon
  • Herbs: Rehmannia root, black sesame seed, ginger, He Shou Wu
  • Physical Exercise: Difficult for them to build muscle, they age very well, water retention all over the body. Endurance training, hiking, biking
  • Design ideas: Fountains, fish tanks, mirrors