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To determine the needs of everyone, naturopathy uses what we call the « temperaments », which were determined by Hippocrates only…. 2400 years ago.
There are four temperaments, and each one regroups typical characteristics in terms of physical appearance, personality, and constitutional susceptibility (weaknesses and predispositions concerning health and diseases). Of course, it is not so simple, and the main idea is not to put people in boxes. Some people will be easily associated to a certain temperament, whereas others will be harder to categorise; some would even be between two constitutions. It’s a bit like... life – nothing is ever black or white, perfect or totally horrendous! So, let’s put this into perspective!
I suggest you carefully read through the descriptions below, go with your intuition, and determine your own temperament. I have added some dietary advice for all four temperaments.
Phlegmatics: the good sort, peaceful and welcoming!
This is the guy or the girl who is always happy, relaxed and jovial – who loves life and its many appeals! They enjoy their food. They like having drinks and eating out with their friends or getting cosy with a nice piece of cake. Unfortunately, they have a little tendency to be overweight.
They are brevilineal, imposing but not very toned, with a round face, short members; they are not very tall and not very dynamic. Their skin is pale, almost diaphanous, and generally humid and cold. They are sensitive to the cold; they hate humidity and seek warmth.
They have had digestive problems since childhood and a tendency to store on fat even when they aren’t being excessive with their food. They should be more careful with what they eat than others, and they don’t like that (who would?!).
They are pleasant and social, although quite discreet. They are “bons vivants”, dreamers, who sometimes prefer to follow the move and go with the flow. However, they can be very persistent and totally able to stay on course. They do a little bit of sport but not by passion.
They are predisposed to digestive problems, being overweight, water retention, oedemas and blood circulation issues. They should look after their cardiovascular system.
Their thyroid is very sensitive to frequent dieting, so they’d do better avoid them and rather opt for a healthy daily lifestyle. They are prone to chronic fatigue.
Healthy eating tips
They’d rather avoid dairy, sugary food, bad fats, acidifying foods and salt. They do not digest raw vegetables very well and therefore should eat them sparingly.
They can have coffee, dark chocolate and hot chili, in moderation.
They can have fruits and veg as much as they like (preferably cooked), wholegrain cereals (adjusted to the amount of physical activity), hot spices, and gentle and slow cooking methods (e.g. steaming).
They need exercise and sun. Long walks in the mountains or by the sea are ideal for the phlegmatics!
Sanguines: solid as a rock!
They could literally eat stones if they were tasty! They can digest anything, they are big eaters, and they work a lot and never get ill – that is, until the day when it catches up with them.
They are large, dynamic; their skin is warm, red / pink and moist. Their handshake is firm. They are always too hot and can be compared to living hot water bottles or a boiler! They need to breathe and to open the windows even in the winter; they sweat abundantly. They are fond of physical sports and are very active. They have an incredible resistance to diseases and all kind of excesses, which makes them feel like they can smoke, drink, eat anything they want – but eventually their bodies say stop.
They are attentive to others, active and they take initiatives very easily as they are born-leaders. They also like competition.
However, they may seem a bit shallow from time to time, impulsive and not persistent, moody and unfaithful (although jealous! Classic…) They are excessive and bad-tempered but not resentful. They like money and are quite generous. They love thrill, challenges, team sport and have a strong group spirit.
Their excessive side pushes them to over consume in rather too high quantities of the things that are not doing them any good. As a result, they confronted inflammation problems (skin, joints), and allergies. The must refrain themselves, because they are perfect candidates for cardiovascular diseases and cancer. It is very difficult for them to accept it, as they cannot understand why they should be careful with their health, when they are perfectly healthy and never ill (and you can’t blame them!)
Healthy eating tips
It would be good for them to avoid hot foods like spices, and instead go for refreshing foods like citrus fruits and raw vegetables.
They need to consume proteins and carbohydrates in sufficient quantities as they are very active, fruits and veg in large amounts (often raw), stay well hydrated, avoid acidifying foods (except for citrus fruits), and above all… find a good balance between healthy food and excess!
Also, they need regular physical exercise – changing it often so as not to get bored.
Cholerics: dynamic and muscly !
This is a very active, autonomous, independent temperament. It is after success and achievement, despite health and body abilities…
They are slender, muscled and dynamic, with squared faces, strong and boney jaws and a yellow / olive-greenish complexion. They look like athletes, with sharp gaze and strong handshakes (the kind of handshakes that absolutely destroy your bones!)
They are very lucky as they don’t need a lot of exercise to get toned and muscly. If they do not exercise, they easily thicken out, but just a bit of activity to get quickly back in the game! When others really, really struggle… this is so unfair!
Cholerics are individualists. They like responsibilities and power. They are confident, they want to surpass themselves, they are ambitious and enterprising. They are rather resentful and self-centered. They would not make the most romantic partner, and their fidelity depends on their own morality; and as they like change, we can expect anything! Cholerics are leaders and can be quite bossy.
If they weaken, it might well be on the liver and gallbladder side (hepatitis, indigestion, cholesterol, triglycerides, uraemia). They get upset stomachs very easily, and acidifying foods are not good for them, leading to joint issues.
Healthy food tips
Following the example of the sanguine temperament, they need to favour refreshing foods, cooked and raw vegetables, and citrus fruits. They should be careful with excesses and stimulating foods – despite the fact that they love them – such as spices, chocolate and coffee, as well as bad fats, eggs and fry-ups.
They can be excessive with fruits and veg (hahahhaha), but for the rest, they need to limit themselves to rather reasonable amounts.
Melancholics: the strong minds!
This is the last temperament, and it is the most cerebral type out of the four. These people are strong minded, and they can move mountains! On the other hand, their powerful brains can tend to let them forget that they have human limits: therefore, they need to learn how to listen to their bodies and respect themselves.
They are thin and slim, tall, sometimes skinny. Their skin is dry and cold, their complexion can be greyish, almost waxy, with sharp and mobile eyes. They are sensitive to cold, and their handshake is limp, cold and dry (they won’t be the ones killing your hands!) They dislike sport and prefer soft activities like yoga for example; they are more attracted to creative and intellectual activities. Having said that, they are not totally inactive.
Melancholics need security. They have a strong mind, but often have negative thoughts in their heads, therefore the world seems hostile and dangerous to them sometimes. They are persons of great integrity, it’s black or white with no shades of grey. They like to be on their own, dream, imagine and… control. In group, they are introverts and seem cold in their relationships with others. They don’t like to be wrong and tend to perfection. They try to understand everything and are very interested in spirituality. Also, they like to build up reserves like little squirrels, in case something would happen. They like planning, they like to be prepared, they like to save money and control their expenses. They are determined, but not persistent.
Their hyperactive brain leads Melancholics to insomnia, stress and issues with their nervous and digestive systems (acidosis pathologies).
Moreover, this tendency to increased nervousness can lead to premature ageing. Kidney issues and sclerosis are frequent evolutions of this temperament that we can observe in older unhealthy people.
Healthy eating tips
It would be advisable to eat in low quantities but more frequently (4 to 5 times a day) so as to relieve the digestive system. Melancholics know what foods are good or bad for them and have their little eating habits and patterns. They are often vegetarian. The best nutritional plan for them is loaded with carbohydrates as they are important to this cerebral type who needs a lot of energy. They should take the time to chew their food to help with digestion and avoid excesses and stimulating foods that just wear out their nerves.
They should opt for cooked vegetables (steamed) and anti-acidic foods.
They also need to check their magnesium (cocoa, nuts, wholegrain cereals, green leafy vegetables) and vitamin B (wheatgerm, veg, fruit) intake to support their neurons; another intake to check on: omega 3 and good fatty acids (fish) to strengthen their nervous system.
They should drink a lot of water to eliminate the natural acidity from their bodies.
Having a break and a nice snack at around 5pm would be good for them: dry fruit, compotes, sweet raw fruit (e.g. apple, pear, banana, peach, fig).
So tell me, what temperament are you?!
If you need help finding out, just answer the questions below and send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org (or via the contact form on my website) and I would be happy to give you a hand! Talk to you later!
1- Are you sensitive to cold? Yes / No
2- Are you rather thin? Yes / No
3- Are you rather muscled? Yes / No
4- Do you often suffer from digestive problems? Yes / No
5- Do you like physical sport? Yes / No
6- Are you very cerebral? Yes / No
7- Do you like planning? Yes/ No
8- Are you stressed by nature? Yes / No
9- Are you most of the time among the first people to take action? Yes / No
10- Do you prefer to be alone? Yes / No
11- Are you rather conservative (no politics involved…)? Yes / No
12- Are you a born-leader? Yes / No
13- Are you resentful? Yes / No
14- Is your face more: Round / In a « V » shape / Massive/ Square?
15- Is your skin very pale in general? Yes / No
16- Is your complexion: Red / Tanned, coloured?
17- Are your hands rather: Dry / Moist / Warm / Cold?
18- Are you rather: Introvert / Extravert?
19- Is your digestion strong (you can eat anything without being sick)? Yes / No
20- Do you have a strong appetite? Yes / No