In this article I want to teach you how important food can be for nourishing and supporting your body in winter.
What is tonifying food?
Chinese medicine considers food which we eat as being highly nutritious which has certain effects on the body such as tonifying yin and yang, qi and blood. When you eat these certain foods, it can help to balance your body.
For example, if you have blood deficiency eating more goji berries, chinese red dates (you can buy this in your local Chinese grocery) and carrots will help improve your blood.
When you have poor circulation such as cold hands and cold feet you can eat chives, prawns and lamb more often to warm the circulation.
When you have constipation due to too much heat and toxins in the intestines; eating more cucumber, tomatoes, eggplant, plums and spinach can help to clear and detox the intestines.
It is important to eat more natural foods and use less chemical medication to balance your body. Diet therapy can help the body at any stage of disease: from the beginning, during treatment and after recovery.
Why in the winter it is very important to have diet therapy?
1. During the summer, the heat can cause energy loss and exhaust the body. The qi and yin are reduced, so by the end of the summer many people are exhausted. Food can help rebuild this qi.
2. Because from summer to the winter and autumn, the transformation of the seasons is very large and the temperature is constantly changing this makes it a lot easier for people to get sick. By winter, when the temperature is much lower, the body looses a lot of heat, it is important to acquire more heat energy from food.
3. Winter is troublesome for some people, Such as those who are older, young children, those who suffer from asthma, heart disease and kidney disease.
4. Chinese medicine has five elements of theory; ‘winter is the time of the kidney’ the kidneys are the source of energy for the immune system and it considers winter as being a good time to restore the energy and qi from certain foods. If the kidneys are strengthened during winter, they can help the other organs to become stronger which essentially helps to prevent disease. It is also good for the body’s health for the next season.
What to eat during autumn and winter?
If you have kidney yang and qi deficiency, symptoms such as lower back pain, loose stool, lack of energy, lower libido, impotence, cold hand and feet, tightness of the joints. You can eat more of the following foods: Prawns, onions, chives, venison, lamb or beef bone soup and sea cucumber.
If you have lung or kidney yin deficiency you may suffer dry skin, dry mouth and very thirsty during the night, hot flushes, constipation and a dry cough you can eat more pear, chinese cabbage, carrots, tofu, cucumber, celery, fish. Especially in the autumn, eat more foods which have a sour taste which will help you improve the moisture in your lungs and reduce the dryness in your body. (This idea is from five elements of Chinese medicine).
If you have stagnation of liver qi and spleen qi, you may suffer from the following symptoms such as bloating, easy to get angry, depression, insomnia and vivid dreams. Eating white radish, coriander, celery, fish and peppermint tea more will help improve this.
If you have qi and blood deficiency then you may have the following symptoms, such as pale complexion, lack of energy, low iron and amenorrhoea. You can eat more chinese radish, goji berries, carrots, beef bone soup, chicken soup and eggs. These food are also suitable for people who have given birth and after an operation.
In the winter we suggest eating more foods with a bitter taste, as these foods help to strengthen the kidneys such as bitter gourd. This idea is from Five elements of chinese medicine.
If your body is not very healthy and you get sick quite often, and you are unsure of what foods you should eat please visit your Chinese medicine practitioner. Boosting your immune system will not happen over night, you should eat these foods and listen and look after your body regularly just like you would get your car serviced. Finally, I wish you a happy and healthy winter!