Dietary intakes affect the physiology of the body and different foods have various effects on the organ functions. Dietary intakes and patterns are important determinants for maintaining health and disease prevention [1, 2]. Previous studies have reported that an appropriate healthy diet can prevent, control, and treat some chronic non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. Additionally, it can improve the immune system, reducing the risk of viral, bacterial, and fungal diseases [1, 2].

In modern medicine, nutrients and bioactive components of the food item determine the nutritional value of foods and their effects on the human body. Major parameters including moisture content, ash, energy, macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats), and micronutrients (water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, and minerals) are considered in routine diet planning [35]. In recent decades, modern nutrition has been shifted towards a personalized diet planning approach to have the best positive health benefits from dietary intakes in healthy individuals as well as patients [2].

In philosophers’ opinion, maintaining health and disease treatment with appropriate foods and drinks is essential. Food is the primary substance of metabolism producing four humors (blood, yellow bile, phlegm, and black bile) [68]. The quality and quantity of consumed food has a direct effect on the produced humor and most diseases are caused by lack of attention to healthy diet and lifestyle by people [35, 7, 8]. Mohammad Zakaria Razi said: “whenever you can use food for treatment, do not use drugs” [7]. The mentioned narration is considered as a major determinant point of view in the medical management of healthy subjects as well as patients in the traditional philosophic approach [7].

From the philosophers’ point of view, an individualized nutrition program is recommended for each person according to his/her characteristics such as age, season, gender, weather, occupation, climate, and gastrointestinal tract function and considering food properties including temperament [9, 10]. Four major temperaments of food items include warm, cold, wet, and dry. Identification of the food temperament is based on comparative (comparison with other foods in terms of color, taste, smell, etc.) and experimental (observation effects of food consumption by animals or humans under certain conditions or accidentally) models. Moreover, foods are divided into three degrees in each of the four temperaments based on the severity of their induced effect on the organ functions as well as the whole body physiology [914].

A comprehensive and integrated approach to individualized diet planning may lead to greater beneficial effects of dietary intake. Therefore, we investigated the probable relationships between temperament and nutritional facts of Iranians’ frequent foods in the present study.

Material and methods

This study was carried out in three phases using the summative content analysis method during September-November 2019.

Extraction of the Iranians’ frequent food items

First, in order to extract the Iranians’ frequent food items, an academic discussion panel consisting of seven physicians specializing in nutrition and Iranian medicine was held and a list of frequent foods was prepared.

Secondly, the list was compared with the Iranian Food Composition Table (published by the National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute, 2018) and some available food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) [1115] and a list of 152 food items was obtained.

Then, to reach a reviewable list for the integrative studies of nutrition and traditional medicine concepts, foods with the following characteristics were excluded:

  • Compound foods: due to lack of traditional medicine information and sometimes accurate nutrition information in compound foods.

In this study, in order to reduce the study error, the following substances were excluded from the study: pickles, sausages, pasta, cream, and some dairy products such as cream cheese, pizza, cheese, and jams.

  • Missing names in traditional medicine texts or not being found by the researcher: due to the impossibility of collecting traditional medicine information.

In this study, in order to reduce the study error, the following substances were excluded from the study: tomatoes and paste, soybeans, green beans, peas, onions, persimmons, peanuts, cocoa, potatoes, maize and maize oil, tangerines, and carrots.

  • Lack of required nutritional information or not being found by the researcher: the impossibility of collecting nutritional information.

In this study, in order to reduce the study error, the following substances were excluded from the study: Damask rose, rosewater, okra, shallot, fumitory, coriander, jujube.

By excluding the above, the list of 110 frequent foods finally became the focus of this study.

Determination of the extracted food items’ temperament and nutritional facts

Through a comparative study with Iranian medicine, textbooks including Al-Qanun, Al-Jame Le-Mofaradat Al-Adviah, va Al-Aqziah, Makhzan Al-Adviah, Al-Shamel, Tohfa Al-Momenin, Al-Ma, Farhang Nafisi, Farhang Taj Al-Arus and Farhang Arabic, the traditional names of these substances were extracted [10, 1622].

Temperament of food has been determined from two valid books, Al-Qanun Fi Al-Tib (written by Sheikh Al-Ra’is Hakim Bu’Ali Sina) and Makhzan Al-Adviah (written by Hakim Mohammad Hussein Aghili Khorasani) [16, 21]. In case of differences between the two texts, due to the late use of Hakim Aghili, it was based on the opinion of Makhzan Al-Adviah.

Nutritional facts were also extracted from two references, the Iranian Food Composition Table and the USDA International Database (official website of the United States Department of Agriculture) [12, 19].

The food list table was completed by including food names (custom names, frequent/common English names, names in traditional medicine texts, and scientific names), temperaments, and nutritional facts.

Statistical analysis of the extracted data via SPSS software

Finally, using SPSS software and Jonckheere-Terpstra test, the probable association between temperament and nutritional facts was investigated. The statistical test determined whether due to changing different temperaments of food items (cold-moderate-hot and wet-moderate-dry), their nutritional facts change or do not change.

The study method process is summarized in Figure 1.

Figure 1

Summarized study method process


Food temperaments

In this section, the temperaments of the analyzed foods are classified based on warm and cold temperaments (Table I) and wet and dry temperaments (Table II).

Table I

Food assortment based on warm and cold temperaments

Food listHeat quality
Onion, garlic, leek, turmeric, black pepperWarm grade 3
Raisins, honey, camel meat, lamb meat, quail meat, thyme, watercress, dill, mint, eggplant, parsley, carrots, celery, turnip, raisins, date, melon, sesame oil, walnut, pistachio, olive oil, honey, sugar, cinnamon, salt, teaWarm grade 2
Sweet almond, chicken meat, beans, bread, figs, sweet apple, sweet grapes, wheat, split peas, pea, candy, sweet almond, butter, tail oil, hazelnut, sesame, mulberry, radish, cabbage, beet, basil, cherriesWarm grade 1
Rice, sheep milk, yolk, sesame seed paste, leg of lambWarm with unknown grade in the texts
Lentils, cow milk, sweet quince, cantaloupe, banana, pearModerate
Cold with unknown grade in the texts
Mung bean, pomegranate, barley, beans, mung bean, fish meat, goat milk, spinachCold grade 1
Fresh cheese, albumen, yogurt, curd, doogh, cucumber, pumpkin, sour lemon, sour cherry, Omani lemon, watermelon, orange, apricot, peach, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, vinegar, grapeseed oilCold grade 2
MushroomsCold grade 3
Table II

Food assortment based on wet and dry temperaments

Food listMoisture quality
MushroomsWet grade 3
Figs, sweet apple, fresh cheese, albumen, fish meat, lamb meat, doogh, goat milk, cucumber, lettuce, pumpkin, carrots, radish, watermelon, orange, apricot, peach, banana, mulberry, melon, pear, sesame oil, watermelon seedsWet grade 2
Sweet almond, sweet grapes, cherries, pomegranate, beans, spinach, turnip, sweet quince, sesame, pumpkin seeds, butter, ghee oil, tail oil, sweet almond, candyWet grade 1
Pistachio, sesame seed paste, sheep milk, leg of lamb, yogurt, cow milk, yolkWet with unknown grade in the texts
Chicken meat, wheat, bread, cantaloupeModerate
Olive oilDry with unknown grade in the texts
Honey, raisins, mung bean, sugar, honey, hazelnut, walnut, date, raisins, Omani lemon, sour lemon, beet, watercress, mung bean, split peas, pea, barely, beans.Dry grade 1
Lentils, rice, quail meat, tea, curd, thyme, leak, dill, mint, eggplant, celery, parsley, basil, cabbage, sour cherry, grapeseed oil, vinegar, cinnamon, coffeeDry grade 2
Camel meat, onion, garlic, turmeric, black pepper, saltDry grade 3

Water, ash and macronutrients

Ash, moisture and macronutrients including protein, total carbohydrates, fiber, total sugar, total saturated fatty acids, total monounsaturated fatty acids, total polyunsaturated fatty acids, and total trans fatty acids.

Table III shows the food assortment based on water, ash, and macronutrients.

Table III

Food assortment based on water, ash and macronutrients

MacronutrientsFoods with the highest contribution
g/100 g90.690.691.491.691.791.992.593.895.596.3
Measurement methodUsing drying methods in a 100°C oven or a vacuum oven
AshFoodBlack pepperSesame seed pastePumpkin seedsCheeseTeaTurmericNoodle soupCoffeeCurdSalt
g/100 g4.544.624.885.
Measurement methodMineral residues of a food after extraction of organic matter
EnergyFoodHazelnutWalnutButterTail oilSesame oilSunflower oilGhee oilOlive oilCorn oilGrapeseed oil
kcal/100 g646683742747884893897898899900
Measurement methodThe energy is reported in kcal and is calculated using the content of protein, available carbohydrates, fat, fiber and WHO/FAO conversion factors: 4 kcal/g of protein, 9 kcal/g of fat, 2 kcal/g of dietary fiber, and 4 kcal / g of available carbohydrates
ProteinFoodSweet almondBeansChicken Breast meatLeg of lambLentilsSplit peasMung BeanPumpkin SeedsWatermelon seedsCurd
g/100 g20.7120.9521.5221.9422.0322.3822.824.4926.0135.05
Measurement methodBased on the total content of nitrogen (N) obtained from Kjeldahl method, using the WHO/FAO 1973 coefficients in each food item
Total carbohydrateFoodBarleyDried Omani lemonOatmealCinnamonRaisinsIranian riceRice flourHoneyCandySugar
g/100 g73.4376.5276.6979.780.9781.1882.1782.7799.999.9
Measurement methodTotal carbohydrates = (moisture + fat + protein + ash) – 100
Total carbohydrates also contain dietary fiber. The value of dietary fiber, available carbohydrates and total sugar is calculated based on the compiling method
Dietary fiberFoodBarleyPeaOatmealTurmericLentilsDried Omani lemonSplit peasBlack pepperThymeCinnamon
g/100 g17.317.7918.321.122.125.342626.53754.3
Measurement methodThe best method for determining the content of fiber is AOAC Prosky procedure, which contains non-starch polysaccharides, lignin, starch and resistant polysaccharides
Available carbohydrateFoodSugarCandyHoneyRice flourIranian riceRaisinsNoodle soupCornThymeDate dates
g/100 g61.6463.9465.7467.776.1476.7680.7382.6799.999.9
Measurement methodAvailable carbohydrates = dietary fiber – total carbohydrates
Total sugarFoodCherriesTurmericBananaYellow grapePomegranateCurdDate datesHoneyCandySugar
g/100 g11.8114.1615.9816.416.4841.5754.7982.6799.999.9
Measurement method
Total fatFoodSesame seed pasteHazelnutWalnutButterTail oilSunflower oilGhee oilCorn oilSesame oilGrapeseed oil
g/100 g55.0458.7463.5281.1182.5399.2499.799.99100100
Measurement methodTotal fat represents the sum of a mixture of triglycerides, phospholipids, sterols and other similar compounds, calculated using Soxhlet, Mojonnier and Roses-Gottlieb methods
Total SFA (saturated fatty acids)FoodWatermelon seedsCheeseGrapeseed oilSunflower oilSesame oilOlive oilCorn oilTail oilButterGhee oil
g/100 g9.7811.2411.7612.2414.214.2916.6339.45058.97
Measurement methodUsing gas chromatography (GC) [32, 35]
Total MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids)FoodSesame seed pastePistachioGhee oilSunflower oilSweet almondCorn oilTail oilSesame oilHazelnutOlive oil
g/100 g20.8524.4724.5225.8831.6934.735.2939.744.1871.78
Measurement methodUsing gas chromatography (GC) [32, 35]
Total PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids)FoodPumpkin seedsSesameSesame seed pasteWatermelon seedsSunflower seedsSesame oilCorn oilWalnutSunflower oilGrapeseed oil
g/100 g20.921.03924.1328.931.7541.744.1745.6756.0262.62
Measurement methodUsing gas chromatography (GC) [32, 35]
TFAs (trans fatty acids)FoodCurdSunflower oilLamb neck meatGoat milkCheeseOlive oilTail oilSheep milkButterGhee oil
g/100 g0.
Measurement methodUsing gas chromatography (GC) [32, 35]
CholesterolFoodLamb shank meatCamel meatDrumstick of chickenQuail meatLeg of lambTail oilButterGhee oilEggYolk
mg/100 g68.336970761071092302735841188.33
Measurement methodUsing gas chromatography (GC) [32, 35]


Vitamins are organic molecules that are needed and their supply is completely dependent on food intake (except for vitamin D).

Vitamin content of different food items is determined using High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) method [12, 23].

Table IV shows the extracted food assortment based on the highest content of vitamins.

Table IV

Food assortment based on vitamins

VitaminsFoods with the highest contribution
Vitamin CFoodOmani sour LemonSour lemonCabbageThymeWatercressCauliflowerDillBlack pepperParsleyDried Omani lemon
mg/100 g37.8745.6247.955055.1458.8474.75159.7170.33304.75
Vitamin B1 (thiamin)FoodBeansPistachioSesame seed pasteSplit peasLentilsOnionSesamePeaCurdSunflower seeds
mg/100 g0.620.7731.0581.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)FoodThymeBeansAlbumenCheeseSesameYolkDillTeaSweet almondCurd
mg/100 g0.3990.430.4320.460.4660.4670.5090.510.8562.4
Vitamin B3 (niacin)FoodWheat flourSesame seed pasteTeaQuail meatBreadNoodle soupChicken breast meatCoffeeDrumstick of chickenFish meat
mg/100 g5.8885.9427.157.53818.621.05123.22224.9912744
Vitamin B5 (niacin)FoodFish meatPeaEggSplit peasLentilsMushroomsYolkCurdBeansSunflower seeds
mg/100 g1.5911.6241.6371.71.7421.8323.9974.0064.946.745
Vitamin B6FoodThymeSunflower seedsHazelnutQuail meatBeansWalnutGarlicPistachioTurmericCurd
mg/100 g0.550.5590.5640.60.610.6880.7141.71.83.415
Vitamin B9 (folates)FoodParsleyLentilsLettuceSpinachPeaSplit peasThymeBeansBeansMung bean
µg/100 g127130150159210270274284460463
Vitamin B12FoodQuail meatSheep milkCow milkCheeseEggLamb neck meatLamb shank meatCurdYolkFish meat
µg/100 g0.430.610.751.311.9322.532.574.064.68
Vitamin A (RAE)FoodBlack pepperWatercressBasilParsleyDillSpinachYolkCarrotsGhee oilButter
µg/100 g221253273416464477499662801846
Vitamin A (RE)FoodBlack pepperWatercressYolkBasilGhee oilParsleyButterDillSpinachCarrots
µg/100 g4425055095468328338789299541324
RetinolFoodCow milkCurdGoat milkSheep milkQuail meatCheeseEggYolkGhee oilButter
µg/100 g3336464873152210489769815
Beta-carotene (EQ)FoodMintThymeWatermelonBlack pepperWatercressBasilParsleyDillSpinachCarrots
µg/100 g1772226425612654303032764996557157277946


Minerals are inorganic molecules which are divided into macro- and microminerals. Macrominerals include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chlorine, and sulfur and some highlighted microminerals are iron, zinc, copper, iodine, fluorine, and selenium.

In food items, after determining the content of ash (g per 100 g of food), the content of minerals is determined using the Atomic Absorption method.

Table V shows the food assortment based on the highest content of minerals.

Table V

Food assortment based on minerals

MineralsFoods with the highest contribution
CalciumFoodDillSweet almondSesame seed pasteCheeseBlack pepperTurmericTeaCinnamonCurdThyme
mg/100 g22424334237039239454391312001890
IronFoodSesame seed pasteSesameBeansLentilsPumpkin seedsTeaBlack pepperCinnamonTurmericThyme
mg/100 g7.327.789.210.113.3218.219.3927.1639.97123.6
MagnesiumFoodTurmericThymeTeaSesame seed pasteSweet almondSesameCoffeeSunflower seedsPumpkin seedsWatermelon seeds
mg/100 g204220250262268346352371447513
PhosphorusFoodTeaYolkSweet almondPistachioSunflower seedsSesame seed pasteSesameWatermelon seedsCurdPumpkin seeds
mg/100 g4444574764876817317747759231066
PotassiumFoodPeaPistachioDried omani lemonMung beanBlack pepperBeansCurdTeaTurmericCoffee
mg/100 g990100011101120125914001569216022283754
SodiumFoodDrumstick of chickenWatermelon seedsAlbumenEggBreadDooghCheeseNoodle soupCurdSalt
mg/100 g11011017419031042112001654204338000
ZinkFoodTurmericLamb neck meatLentilsLamb shank meatSunflower seedsThymeSesame seed pasteWatermelon seedsPumpkin seedsSesame
mg/100 g3.7844.14.325.336.186.547.127.1710.23
CopperFoodBlack pepperPistachioWalnutHazelnutSesamePumpkin seedsWatermelon seedsSunflower seedsSesame seed pasteTea
mg/100 g1.1291.31.371.4521.4571.4791.5382.0112.0662.5
ManganeseFoodNoodle soupWheat flourOatmealLeg of lambTurmericBlack pepperHazelnutThymeCinnamonTea
mg/100 g3.1463.2133.32455.7676.0636.0927.86711.18471
SeleniumFoodLamb shank meatQuail meatBarleyLeg of lambWheat flourCurdSesameSesame seed pasteYolkSunflower seeds
µg/100 g16.0516.619.352325.629.4434.435.0335.3354.83

Food temperaments and their nutritional facts

Table VI shows the probable associations between warm and cold temperaments and nutritional facts. Nutritional facts with a higher mean of numbers in foods with warm temperament include energy, iron, and manganese, and cold temperament foods had higher amounts of moisture.

Table VI

Relationship between warm/cold temperament and nutritional facts

Nutritional factsCold temperament foods (n = 31)Moderate temperament foods (n = 9)Warm temperament foods (n = 67)P-value for trend
Water86.80 (81.2)83.8 (44.95)58.90 (78.5)0.014
Ash0.78 (1.37)74 (0.59)0.97 (1.51)0.215
Energy59 (292)63 (166.5)217 (317)0.049
Protein2.71 (10.21)1.22 (7.7)3.07 (15.93)0.422
Total carbohydrate8.83 (16.12)6.79 (17.96)8.72 (55.46)0.601
Dietary fiber1.29 (3.1)0.78 (2.81)2.08 (6.21)0.202
Available carbohydrate6.51 (12.59)7.74 (14.64)6.74 (36.9)0.783
Total sugar2.44 (6.68)4.54 (6.88)1.71 (5.32)0.163
Total fat0.68 (4.27)0.95 (6.7)0.87 (15.56)0.422
Total SFA (saturated fatty acids)0.07 (1.85)0.12 (2.72)17 (4.25)0.313
Total MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids)0.08 (0.98)0.06 (2.48)17 (6.72)0.375
Total PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids)0.14 (0.52)0.09 (0.5)28 (1.57)0.165
TFAs (trans fatty acids)0 (0)0 (0.05)0 (0)0.820
Cholesterol0 (0)0 (6.23)0 (0)0.883
Vitamin C8.5 (18.5)1.84 (12.26)2.6 (18.63)0.573
Thiamin0.07 (0.27)0.18 (0.16)0.12 (0.22)0.437
Riboflavin0.13 (0.18)0.12 (0.18)0.11 (0.19)0.977
Niacin0.75 (1.74)0.21 (0.54)0.98 (2.95)0.190
Pantothenic acid0.34 (0.49)0.32 (0.34)0.28 (0.66)0.365
Vitamin B60.1 (0.31)0.1 (0.34)0.15 (0.25)0.373
Folates18 (43)4 (22)23 (59)0.845
Vitamin B1200 (0.01)00 (0.67)00 (00)0.241
Vitamin A (RAE)12 (46)3 (58.5)3 (25)0.081
Vitamin A (RE)24 (90)16.5 (133.75)5 (48)0.062
Retinol00 (00)00 (29)00 (00)0.350
Beta-carotene (EQ)42 (500)15.5 (23.25)25.5 (290.5)0.586
Calcium25 (81)11 (68)38 (98)0.647
Iron0.5 (2.28)0.27 (1.09)1.32 (3.79)0.032
Magnesium13 (66)10 (13.5)20 (79)0.460
Phosphorus43 (222)25 (105)61 (179)0.555
Potassium194 (355)160 (162)269 (335)0.380
Sodium12 (47)6 (47.5)15 (45)0.654
Zinc0.26 (1.29)0.18 (0.78)1.05 (2.48)0.058
Copper0.08 (0.36)0.1 (0.06)0.12 (0.33)0.256
Manganese0.06 (0.61)0.03 (0.25)0.22 (1.97)0.32
Selenium1 (7.86)1.01 (3.51)1.15 (4.51)0.945

[i] Data expressed median (interquartile range (IQR)) with Jonckheere-Terpstra test.

The association between wet and dry temperaments and nutritional facts was also investigated. The results are summarized in Table VII.

Table VII

Relationship between wet and dry temperament and nutritional facts

Nutritional factsDry temperament foods (n = 51)Moderate temperament foods (n = 6)Wet temperament foods (n = 51)P-value for trend
Water11.2 (80.41)71.25 (50.37)81.7 (72.2)0.048
Ash1.2 (1.75)1.03 (0.82)0.74 (0.66)0.046
Energy247 (309)166.5 (175.75)70 (283)0.338
Protein3.52 (10.83)14.8 (16.32)1.4 (11.51)0.379
Total carbohydrate12.98 (58.64)4.26 (60.57)7.54 (14.53)0.021
Dietary fiber2.79 (10.12)0.39 (4.48)1.2 (2.37)0.003
Available carbohydrate6.8 (43.83)7.74 (57.63)6.68 (11.35)0.247
Total sugar1.77 (3.86)0.31 (2.04)3.84 (6.73)0.156
Total fat0.87 (4.98)2.48 (9.04)0.44 (16.32)0.673
Total SFA (saturated fatty acids)0.1 (2.01)0.61 (2.95)0.17 (6.7)0.331
Total MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids)0.12 (1)0.77 (4.35)0.08 (6.72)0528
Total PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids)0.28 (1.02)0.71 (1.31)0.12 (1.49)0.194
TFAs (trans fatty acids)0 (0)0.01 (0.06)0 (0.03)0.009
Cholesterol0 (0)17 (60.06)0 (7.45)0.006
Vitamin C5.78 (36.5)0.45 (8.28)2.6 (13.6)0.183
Thiamin0.13 (0.28)0.06 (0.26)0.08 (0.19)0.419
Riboflavin0.12 (0.19)0.14 (0.08)0.11 (0.19)0.723
Niacin0.93 (1.83)20.91 (23.16)0.6 (1.3)0.273
Pantothenic acid0.25 (0.9)0.79 (0.54)0.31 (0.29)0.765
Vitamin B60.22 (0.36)0.1 (0.11)0.1 (0.15)0.034
Folates31 (86)5 (22.25)15 (26)0.104
Vitamin B1200 (00)0.16 (0.39)00 (0.08)0.002
Vitamin A (RAE)2 (20)12 (30.25)8 (47)0.057
Vitamin A (RE)3 (29.25)12 (56.75)19 (103.5)0.032
Retinol00 (00)3 (18.5)00 (00)0.014
Beta-carotene (EQ)20 (170)3.5 (765.75)40 (295)0.334
Calcium44 (111)9 (30.75)18 (85)0.016
Iron2.3 (4.58)1.13 (2.05)0.44 (0.93)0.002
Magnesium27 (110)16 (57)12 (13)0.026
Phosphorus93 (253)61(106.5)38 (142)0.159
Potassium326 (601)235 (239.5)197 (190)0.013
Sodium12 (33)51 (148.5)10 (58)0.664
Zinc095 (2.22)1.63 (1.43)0.26 (1.28)0.131
Copper0.17 (0.35)0.06 (0.34)0.08 (0.1)0.325
Manganese0.3 (1.87)0.03 (2.11)0.08 (0.67)0.030
Selenium1.15 (4.2)5.9 (9.11)1.01 (5.4)0.774

[i] Data expressed median (interquartile range (IQR)) with Jonckheere-Terpstra test.

As it is demonstrated in Table VII, nutritional facts with a higher mean of numbers in foods with wet temperament include moisture, total trans fatty acids, cholesterol, vitamin B12, vitamin A, and retinol. On the other hand, dry foods had higher content of ash, total carbohydrates, fiber, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.


According to our search, few studies have been conducted on the relationship between modern scientific findings and traditional temperament of foods or drugs. To the best of our knowledge, this study was the first research investigating the probable association between nutritional facts and food temperaments.

Studies of Ardekani et al. on temperaments and chemical compounds of medicinal plants indicated that plants containing phenol compounds mostly have warm and dry temperaments; those containing tannins frequently have cold and dry temperaments and those containing volatile oils often have warm and dry temperaments. Moreover, plants with volatile oils with an alcoholic structure have cold and dry temperaments and those containing alkaloids based have cold or warm and dry temperaments. So, this study showed that plants have a special temperament based on their active ingredients and the effect of each plant based on the active ingredient is somehow related to the temperament [24].

In another study conducted on rats, Parvinroo et al. investigated different parameters by giving hot spices including fennel, apricots, and anise seeds, and cold foods including watermelon, cucumbers and squash seeds. This study showed a significant increase in thyroid hormones using hot spices (FT4 in fennel and T3 in fennel, anise, and aloe) and a significant increase in corticosteroids in cold foods [25]. According to the changes in the body’s hormones by food, it can be said that an increase in thyroid hormones increases the body’s metabolism and indicates the warm temperament of food consumed and an increase in corticosteroids as an anti-inflammatory marker indicates the cold temperament of food consumed. The results of another study conducted by Jafari Nejad Bajestani et al. on feeding rats with foods having different temperaments showed that feeding with watermelon juice reduced nerve conduction velocity and memory in rats, and feeding with carrot seed extract was effective on increasing thyroid hormones. This study also showed the effect of different temperaments of foods on physiology of the body [26, 27].

The classification of foods into cold-warm and dry-wet temperaments has caused different reactions in different people according to their temperament, from fluids (blood, lymph, interstitial fluid, and plasma) to organs (including the gastrointestinal tract, liver, heart, as well as the arterial and venous walls) and these effects can be acute, sub-acute or chronic.

Moreover, in our study, according to the obtained results, an association was found between nutritional facts and four temperaments. Energy, iron, and manganese were observed more frequently in foods with the warm temperament and were statistically significant. According to Iranian medicine, foods with the warm temperament have the ability to perform more metabolism and energy in the body due to the production of warm humors. Therefore, the component of energy is directly related to the discussion of foods with the warm temperament. To the best of our knowledge, the warm temperament itself increases molecular activity and energy production, and in this study, the association between energy and foods with warm temperament was significant [10, 23].

The results of the present study demonstrated that a higher amount of iron was found in warm temperament foods than cold temperament ones. From the philosophers’ point of view, iron has a warm temperament leading to blood production as one of the four main humors having warm and wet temperament. Similarly, iron is considered as an essential agent for hematopoiesis in modern medicine [10, 23].

Manganese is a mineral playing a role in regulating blood pressure and heart rate, as well as energy extraction from foods. Regarding the aforementioned association between energy and the warm temperament, it may be claimed that this mineral would have a warm temperament. Moreover, the heart as a dynamic organ that is constantly contracting, has a warm and dry temperament from the philosophers’ perspective; and it is the warm temperament that causes this muscle contraction. Therefore, manganese seems to have a warm temperament due to its heart desire and its function in regulating blood pressure and heart rhythm. This mineral was found to be at higher levels in foods with a warm temperament.

The statistical analysis of the extracted data of the present study showed that zinc was also found to be at higher amounts in warm foods. Zinc is a micronutrient involved in protein synthesis, cell growth and proliferation related pathways. From the perspective of traditional medicine, the phenomenon of growth requires a warm temperament because it causes expansion and volume increase. In this regard, we can refer a warm temperament to individuals having larger physique and limbs.

There was a positive association between coldness of foods and the content of moisture in the present study.

Additionally, vitamin A was reported to be more in foods with cold and wet temperaments. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a role in the vision and preservation of the body’s mucous membranes. Vitamin A deficiency causes the cornea to become dry and thick, which is called exophthalmia. It can be said that this vitamin has cold and wet temperaments and with these temperaments, it keeps the necessary moisture for the eyes from drying out [23]. The cold and wet temperament may also be effective in creating anti-inflammatory properties for the healing of skin wounds and mucous membranes. Furthermore, the total trans fatty acids (TFAs) and cholesterol levels were higher in foods with high moisture, which similarly may be due to the wet temperament of fats in Iranian medicine [18, 20, 22].

On the other hand, the average amounts of minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and manganese in foods with dry temperament were higher than the mineral content of cold foods. Ash was also observed at higher levels in foods with a dry temperament. By definition, ash is the residual of minerals of foods after the extraction of organic matter; so ash could have a dry temperament due to its mineral and soil components.

The obtained data from the present study showed that dry foods have higher amounts of fiber in comparison to wet foods as well. Consistently, dryness is a factor leading to food indigestion and malabsorption from the philosophers’ point of view [28]. Further studies, especially food analytical studies, are required to investigate the accuracy of aforementioned findings.

Notably, the effect of each food item on the whole body function and organ physiology are not only affected by its temperament from the traditional medicine approach. In this medical approach, the complex of foods’ matter, forms and accident may determine the net effect of that dietary intake on the body [18, 21, 22]. Therefore, we cannot exclusively address all findings of the present study to the temperament concept. Moreover, philosophers have a holistic approach to all phenomena including body and foods: as each food may have a unique effect on each consumer body and each food may be effective in the prevention and treatment of diseases without separating its constituent elements. Therefore, further studies are required to investigate the exact relationships between nutritional facts, foods’ matters, forms, and accidents.

In conclusion, the summative qualitative content analysis of the obtained data in the present study demonstrated positive associations between warmness of the food temperament and their energy, iron, and manganese content. On the other hand, cold foods had higher amounts of moisture, fat, and fat-soluble vitamins. Additionally, ash and mineral content of dry foods were at higher amounts in comparison to foods with a wet temperament. These findings indicate probable relationships between the traditional philosopher’s opinions and their medical approach and modern nutrition. However, further food analytical, experimental, and clinical studies are required to investigate the exact relationships between modern nutritional scientific facts and traditional foods’ characteristics.