We are almost done with our count-down of the Top Ten Health Tips for Everyone! Today's health tip, again, relates to the food that we put into our bodies. Nutrition is so important - it should always be the first line of treatment for any condition.
Health Tip #2. Eat hearty, warm, cooked meals whenever possible. As we mentioned in Tip #6 (drink lots of herbal tea), in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Spleen energetic is responsible for digestion and it likes to be WARM. Cold “raw” food, like salads and cold beverages weaken the Spleen and can lead to digestive symptoms such as bloating, gas, and irregular and sometimes painful bowel movements (eg, like IBS symptoms); a weak Spleen can also lead to a general feeling of fatigue, overall body weakness, and even depression.
Raw foods are cooling. A body must heat a food to body temperature in order for the Spleen to extract energy from the food. If the Spleen is even somewhat weak (as is the case with most people), eating raw food will use up energy that the body can’t afford. By the time the food is heated up, digestive energy has become significantly weakened. While we are certainly not recommending that you give up eating all fresh greens, if you do have some digestive weakness then sticking to cooked grains and vegetables is a better choice. Alternatively, if you do have a salad or other raw food for lunch, wash it down with a warming herbal tea, like ginger tea, to help stoke the digestive fire.
In order to keep a healthy, happy Spleen, we recommend to all of our patients that they incorporate as many warm, cooked foods into their diet as possible. This can benefit everybody - particularly those with any sort of digestive issues, sleep issues, problems with lethargy or fatigue, frequent colds or low immunity, or general weakness. Some suggestions of hearty, warm meals include soups and stews cooked for a long time, rice porridge (ie, congee or jook), meats and vegetables that have been roasted or baked, and foods prepared with warming spices such as ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne. These guidelines are especially important during the winter months, when the body expends more energy keeping our day to day functions going than during the lighter, warmer summer months.