Top TCM tips for healthier eating
Supporting the Spleen and Stomach
TCM believes that the Spleen and Stomach are majorly responsible for our digestion and the break down of food/drink. There are many ways we can support these organs so that our digestion works best.
Here are my top Traditional Chinese Medicine tips for optimal digestion:
1. Eat 80% warm and cooked foods and warm/hot beverages
The body has to work harder to warm up and break down raw and cold foods and cold drinks, so eating foods that are warm and cooked ensures that your Spleen and Stomach can work faster and more efficiently to extract nutrients from what we eat.
2. Practice moderation; eat until you are around 70-80% full.
When we overeat, our bodies are forced to work harder and faster to try and digest the excess food we eat. A lot of the time, our bodies struggle to handle this extra workload, and this leads to Qi Stagnation. Symptoms of Qi Stagnation include bloating, abdominal pain, gas, indigestion and reflux.
3. Eat at regular intervals during the day
The Spleen and Stomach work best with a repetitive schedule. If we aim to eat our meals at similar times each day, our body is able to prepare by producing essential enzymes and other substances which help to make digestion that much easier, and run more smoothly.
4. Focus on your meal
When we eat, our minds should be relaxed and focused on our meals. Try to avoid eating when in a rush or on-the-go, stressed, angry or busy. Sit down and appreciate your meals without the distraction of mobile phones, TV, and life's stresses. This will help your organs to digest and absorb the nutrients from your food, and avoid stagnation.
5. Avoid excess greasy, oily, fried and spicy foods
In TCM, too much greasy, oily and fried foods can lead to the formation of what we call Dampness. This is excess fluid that can result in symptoms of loose bowel motions, heaviness of the limbs and bloating. Too much spicy and hot foods such as lamb, chilli and curries can lead to the formation of Heat or Fire within the body. The key is balance.