Traditional Chinese Medicine and Digestion
Traditional Chinese medicine views food as a therapy that uses the energetic qualities of food to help what is imbalanced in the body. In Chinese nutrition, foods are chosen based on their nature (warm, cold, drying or lubricating) and taste (acrid, sweet, sour, bitter, salty and bland). Each food has their own unique nature and taste that are strategically combined and cooked to help balance and heal the body according to what issues are presenting in each person. It is important to choose whole foods because whole foods will contain the most amount of nutrients rather than foods that has been processed. Not only is it important to eat nutrient dense foods but the way it is consumed and how you feel also contributes to better digestion.
Guidelines for better digestion
Eat at regular times until you are content and not over filled.
Eat locally and organically whenever possible in order to avoid chemicals.
Focus on what you are eating. It is important to avoid reading, watching TV or looking at your phone while you’re eating. Enjoy what you are eating by eating mindfully. Eating while doing these activities divert blood away from the stomach to your brain, preventing you from digesting food properly.
Eat a hearty breakfast and a light dinner. Energy of the body moves through the body cyclically, so It is important to eat between the hours of 7am to 7pm because different organs are more energized at different points of the day. Eating late-night snacks stresses your digestive system which leads to indigestion and weight gain.
Avoid cold and raw foods/drinks. According to Chinese medicine, when we eat the body transforms food by heating and breaking it down with “digestive fire.” Cooked foods are more easily digestible because they are already cooked. Whereas cold and raw foods (like salads and sushi) take up extra energy to warm and break down, causing the digestive process to work not so well. So be sure to eat cooked warm meals.
Signs of poor digestion
It is important to be able to detect signs of poor digestion so you can make better decisions when eating. Signs of poor digestion may include poor hair, nail, or skin health, stomach aches, bloating, fatigue, gas, burping, GERD, diarrhea and constipation.