A Chinese medicine guide to digestive health

In Chinese medicine, what you eat is key. If you’re looking to improve your fertility, adapting your food is the way forward.

Fertility treatment in Chinese medicine is focused on improving your overall wellbeing, and our digestive system plays a significant role.

According to Chinese medicine the stomach and the spleen form the work horse of the body. Their primary function is to take all the food we eat, break it down and convert it into energy. This is the energy that will power us for the day ahead. Quite simply, poor food = poor energy.

Not only is the spleen responsible for processing the foods and converting them into energy, it also processes fluids, sending them around the body to nourish and moisten the muscles, joints and tendons.

How Yin and Yang affect what we eat

What we eat is important in terms of the energetic effect that food has upon us. It’s important that we understand what our body needs and eat the correct foods based on those needs.

Someone who is Yin deficient will probably suffer from symptoms of dryness, such as dry skin or thirst. They may also have trouble sleeping. This can be rectified by introducing foods which are known to be Yin nourishing, such as cucumber and sweet potato.

For those that are Yang deficient, with symptoms of feeling cold and lethargic, more warming Yang type foods are needed in their diet, such as porridge and beef.

The energetic cycle and when we eat

Timing is incredibly important when it comes to nourishing ourselves through food.

In Chinese medicine, there is an energetic cycle during which each organ has a peak in its energy. There are twelve main organs, each of which has a two-hour window when they are performing at their strongest.

The morning cycle is all based around the digestive system. The reason for this is because what we eat first thing is what energises us for the day. There is the well-known Chinese saying of ‘Eat like a king in the morning, a prince at lunchtime and a pauper in the evening’, which is based around the concept of our body’s natural cycles.

How we prepare our food

The process of cooking food influences its energetic effect therefore it’s important to consider the way we prepare our food.

Raw foods, such as salad and fruit, are the coldest and require a lot of energy from the body in order to heat them up and break them down. Consuming too much raw food will weaken the digestive system, create cold within the body and generally deplete your energy.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, we have foods which have been deep-fried or roasted, such as chips, roast potatoes and coffee beans. Foods which have been roasted or fried will introduce a lot of heat into the body, which will aggravate some conditions.

Top tips for looking after your digestive system

  1. Never skip breakfast
  2. Limit your dairy intake
  3. Concentrate on eating – don’t eat your meals whilst working, watching TV or using your phone
  4. Limit your sugar intake
  5. Don’t eat large meals late at night
  6. Don’t drink excessive amounts of fluid whilst eating
  7. Eat warm foods such as stews, casseroles and soups in the winter
  8. Save the salads and other cold raw foods for the summer
  9. Don’t overload your digestive system with large meals.
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