Healthy habits after eating

A few years ago one of my patients told me that her boss had a heart attack after dinner, whilst he was watching television. He was only 55 years old. This story has made me think, this man did not have a heart attack whilst he was busy or during exercise, but whilst he was resting and a relaxing time of the day. This type of case happens quite often these days. This story should make us think about what we should do straight away after eating.

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Many people sit on the couch watching television, reading newspapers or books after a meal, until bed time without movement. This type of habit is not healthy after eating, especially if you have a big meal or a large stomach.  When sitting on a soft surface like a couch, the stomach in compressed between the lower part of the body and the top. This creates extra pressure on the heart as it is central in the chest. This posture will affect the circulation to the heart. Sometimes this may lead to a heart attack especially those who are middle aged. So this is the story of my client’s boss.

This type of habit can also cause a gain in weight, hypertension and diabetes.

Due to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, I have a few suggestions for you to do after you have eaten.

1. Massage your stomach

After a meal you can stand, warm your hands and put your hand on you stomach (palms facing stomach) and rub your stomach clockwise ten times, and anti-clockwise ten times. Then from the middle of the stomach run your hands down to your umbilical area ten times.

Effects: Massaging the stomach can aid digestion by stimulating blood flow to the area. This will also help you to have regular bowel movements. This may also help to reduce the symptoms of bloating, discomfort and gas after eating.

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2. Walking

Chinese culture has a traditional saying that “One hundred step after dinner can make you live up to 99 years old”. This means that if you go for a mild walk after dinner it will be good for your health. I suggest that you walk slow and relaxing for approximately 10 – 15 minutes. Avoid sitting or lying down straight away after eating, as it may cause a decrease in digestion.

Effects: Helping digestion, relaxes the liver and gallbladder, reduces the pressure to the chest and heart.

3. Wash your mouth after eating

Traditional Chinese medicine believes that many diseases enter the body through the mouth. So every time you eat a meal simply rinse (and spit) your mouth with green tea or natural water 2 or 3 times. This is especially important when you eat strong tasting foods such as garlic, spring onions or chili. Washing your mouth after eating will also help you to protect your teeth.

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4 Responses to Healthy habits after eating

  1. Harry Hartawan 22 July, 2013 at 6:34 am #

    Your article says “……. many people sit on the couch after having a meal. This habit is not healthy…..” or in other words having the same sense, My question is: does this unhealthy habit cause irregular heart beat?

    • Ping Ming Health 12 August, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

      Dear Harry, we don’t think that sitting after a meal will directly cause an irregular heart beat. However, this and other unhealthy habits can result in internal organ issues that could affect the heart from a Traditional Chinese medicine point of view. If you have an irregular heart beat, please make sure to have it checked out by your doctor.

  2. Erhan 4 October, 2016 at 9:46 pm #

    Hi there , I am a new qi gong practitioner and i am very interested in TCM .

    I drink my tea after meals to aid in digestion but instead of massaging my stomach I tend to read and i think this is not helping me .

    As far as I am aware , reading-digesting new information ( solar pkexus chakra ) might put some extra work on stomach.

    Its not very helpful I think , could you give me some information about that ?

    • Ping Ming Health 12 December, 2016 at 8:11 pm #

      Hi Erhan, traditionally it is popular in China to have a short stroll after a big meal to help the body digest. Nowadays many people eat at their desk and return to work straight away. This habit is unhealthy for digestion because excessive thinking weakens the Spleen (digestive system).

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