I probably don’t have to tell you how important digestion is to overall health. Even if your diet is impeccable. You won’t get the nutrition and energy you need if your digestion is not working at its optimum.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is an ancient system of healing. It can be used to address all kinds of health problems, including concerns related to low energy and poor digestion. Here are five ways you can boost your digestion and increase your energy using the wisdom of Chinese Medicine.
1. Food is Medicine
Earth-based medical systems like Chinese medicine recognise that high-quality whole foods can be used as medicine to heal the body and mind. Foods can have medicinal qualities that are valuable to our health.
Did you know your digestion is home to trillions of bacteria that deeply influence your overall health? Probiotic and prebiotic foods can support these bacteria and keep your digestion strong. Good bacteria (probiotics) have the following functions:
- They keep bad bacteria in check
- They support your immune system
- Probiotics also decrease inflammation
- They help to break down food
- They produce essential vitamins, and
- Probiotics even contribute to a healthy metabolism.
Prebiotic foods can include fibrous foods and complex carbs. Some examples of prebiotic foods are leeks, asparagus, onions, garlic, and dandelion. Make sure you also include probiotic fermented foods in your diet like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir, among many others.
2. Keep Your Digestion Warm
If you tend to have a weak digestion like bloating or gas, try sticking with more cooked foods. In Chinese Medicine, your digestion needs to stay warm to function at its best. Eating cooked and warming foods, and drinking warm water instead of cold drinks, will help your digestive fire improve.
3. Consider Energetic Flavour
In Chinese medicine, foods are categorised as having certain flavours, thermal natures, directions, and therapeutic actions.
The five flavours are salty, sour, bitter, sweet, and pungent. These five flavours reflect the energetic properties of the food. When preparing a meal aim to create a combination of flavours with the natural sweet flavour being the most prominent. This is because the sweet flavour supports digestion. Keep in mind, the natural sweet flavour is not the intense sweetness of sugary foods. Instead it can be found in whole foods such as complex carbs, whole grains, legumes, and many vegetables.
4. Use Healing Herbal Medicine
Two herbal medicines used in Chinese Medicine for weak digestion and low energy are Huang Qi (Astragalus propinquus) and Ling Zhi (Reishi mushroom or Ganoderma lucidum). These herbs build digestive strength when there is weakness, stress, or fatigue. They’re both very safe herbal medicines that can be used long term. Always check with your health care provider when starting any new herbal medicine regimen.
5. Digestion for body and mind
In holistic systems of healing, the body and mind are deeply connected. In Chinese medicine, digestion not only refers to physical digestion, but also the processing of thought and experience. If you’re working with your digestive function, consider what truly nourishes you. Notice when you’re overthinking and instead choose to stop that next thought. According to Chinese Medicine, when you indulge in repetitive thinking, you weaken your overall digestive Qi.
These are just some of the things you can do to strengthen and heal your digestion with the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine. When you address your digestion, you impact your overall health in a very profound way.
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Who is the author?
Jennifer Raye holds her doctorate in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She is a published author, experienced yoga and movement teacher, licensed herbalist and acupuncturist, holistic nutritionist, and mindfulness meditation teacher. Jennifer’s offerings reflect her extensive and varied expertise in the fields of contemplative practice and integrative medicine. Steeped in the wisdom of Buddhist mindfulness, and her deep respect for the beauty and magic of the natural world, her teachings emphasize true self-care and are holistic and therapeutic. Jennifer teaches classes, retreats, and teacher training, locally and internationally, in addition to running her private medical practice. She is also the creator of a number of online programs. For more information and free resources visit www.jenniferraye.com.