Food can at times be our best medicine. In millennium of practice, Chinese medicine has identified a number of foods that are more than just yummy; they can increase energy, ease digestion and aid bowel movements, and ward off diabetes or cancer. Now, we call these types of foods superfoods or functional foods. Here are a few such foods that everyone should think about including more of in their diet.

Pearl Barley (aka Job’s Tears) – Boiled and eaten like soup or oatmeal, pearl barley reduces water retention in the body, reduces heat, and contains anti-cancer properties. It can also be used in weight control. Dosage: 15-30 grams.

Aloe – An amazingly potent laxative, which cools the body and can be taken as a beverage or in yogurt. It is also used in weight control. 10-20 grams.

Wolfberries (Go ji berries) – This slightly sweet orange colored fruit, usually dried like a raisin, helps to prevent onset of diabetes, and can ease constipation. It can also increase blood production. 6-9 grams.

Dragon’s Eye (Longan fruit) – This small fruit with a large pit tonifies Qi (nourishes energy) and blood, promotes blood circulation, and reduces cold in the body. It can be eaten fresh or (in the off-season) dried. 3-6 grams.