Foods to Support Your Chinese Medicine Diagnosis
After you have your Chinese medicine diagnoses, you can add foods into your diet to support your constitution. Nutrition is a great way to affect change in your health. You need to eat anyway! Add foods into your regular diet that complement your Chinese medicine diagnosis. Don't eat anything you are allergic to! And see your Chinese medicine provider for more detailed suggestions.
Building Kidney Yin:
Yin tonics tend to be sweet and cool. To tonify Yin, we favor sweet, sour and salty over bitter and pungent flavors. The quintessential yin tonic is the pear, sweet and juicy. Some other examples are eggs, asparagus and duck.
Building Kidney Yang:
Yang tonics tend to be sweet, pungent and warming. Spices such as cinnamon and ginger are typical yang tonics. They are foods that warm the body. Other examples of yang building foods include garlic, shrimp, lamb and walnuts.
Building Spleen Qi:
Qi is the energy found in all living things. Foods which tonify Qi tend to be sweet and often warm in nature. Good Qi tonifying foods include rice, royal jelly, sweet potato, squash, dates and oats.
Building the “Blood”:
In general naturally red foods help to build the Chinese medicine idea of blood (which includes but isn't exclusively what we normally think of blood). In particular, dark green leafy vegetables and chlorophyll-rich foods are helpful. Some other good Blood building foods are beets, dark berries, red meat (especially organ meat), the redder fish such as salmon and molasses.
Moving Blood Stasis:
Blood stasis can be a serious diagnosis in both western and eastern medicine. If that is the case with you, please talk to your doctor about exercise and nutrition because you may need an individual determination on what’s best for you. In general, Blood stasis often benefits from movement. Eating a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables should be the basis of everyone’s diet and this is also true for the person with Blood stasis. Pungent spices, such as turmeric, peppermint, coriander and pepper are also helpful to move blood.
Moving Liver Qi Stagnation:
Moving Qi is much easier than moving Blood but mostly the same food and lifestyle suggestions apply. Keeping your digestion moving with the digestive enzymes found in foods like papaya is another great way to keep the Qi moving.
Foods to Help Build Heart Qi:
In general, you can eat the qi building foods above but you can also add in foods and herbs specific for the heart such as schisandra and longan berries.
Foods to Help Remove Excess Heat:
You can almost imagine what a cooling food would be. Here are some easy examples: watermelon, cucumbers, tofu and peppermint.
Foods to Resolve Dampness:
Foods that drain fluids and resolve dampness include: aduki beans, job’s tears (Chinese barley), mushrooms and green tea. Greasy foods exacerbate dampness as does sugar, alcohol and dairy. Think of ice cream as frozen phlegm…Sorry about that!
Written by Stephanie Gianarelli of Acupuncture Northwest & Associates. An acupuncture clinic specializing in mental health, pain, fertility and pregnancy with clinics in Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma, Washington.