Strawberries are like ice cubes. Orange juice is hot. Salad is cold. If these concepts don’t make sense, you’re not alone. That’s because I’m describing the energetic properties of food according to Chinese medicine. Your stomach is geared to prefer warm foods, or foods that can be more easily digested, but in West we don’t often pay attention to how foods impact or digestion and overall health.
We all know diet is an important factor in overall health, but you may be eating ‘healthy’ foods that are right not right for your body type. Nutrition is one of the five branches of Chinese medicine and correctly described the effects of food millennia before Western nutritionist came to scene.
In general, foods that are harder to digest are considered cold, whereas foods to nourish blood or increase body temperature are considered warm. That’s why lamb (the hottest of meats) is perfect on a cold winter evening, an watermelon is perfect for a summer day. What about Western medications? You guessed it: cold! That’s why medications cause an upset stomach.
In the summer consider cooling foods like celery, cucumber and watermelon. Drink green tea which is both cooling and rich in the antioxidant ECGC
In the fall eat foods that nourish the lungs and lay the foundation for immune health. Consider fruits with white flesh like apples and pears, nuts like walnuts, almonds, and almond milk. Avoid foods that are very hot in nature like coffee which can be a shock to this sensitive organ.
In the spring, it’s important to support the liver, both for its ability to clear toxins. Consider cruciferous vegetables that are also slightly cooling in nature like broccoli. In Chinese medicine the liver has the role of moving qi (to relieve anger and frustrations). Foods like seaweed and mint can both facilitate this function.
In the winter, you’ll want to warm the body and nourish the kidneys. Eat vegetables like kale and winter squash and warming meats like lamb, venison, and beef. Avoid cold damp foods like turkey and cold foods like lettuce, raw vegetables, and soy.
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