A strong spleen affects all aspects of our health. In Chinese Medicine, how and what we eat are connected to allergies, immune function, energy, joint, and overall health. A strong digestive system -- or spleen in Chinese Medicine -- is able to transform the food we eat into the energy we need for these important functions and to live our lives. With a strong spleen, we are somehow able to turn a turkey sandwich into creative ideas and bone mass! A strong spleen also generates strong lungs, which play a vital role in our immune function.
With a weak spleen, instead of turning the food we eat into qi (energy) and blood, the food puddles into something unusable. This unusable stuff is called dampness. Dampness can be fat sitting in the body, joint inflammation and pain, cognitive cloudiness, or phlegm and mucous. This phlegm and mucous can exacerbate or cause allergies and other problems. Dampness is literally like dampness as we know it, heavy, hard to get rid of, and can cause sleepiness and fatigue. A strong spleen affects all aspects of our health.
- Guidelines to strengthen the spleen
- What to Eat
- What NOT to Eat
Sit down and eat in a calm and relaxed manner. Take your time and do not eat while angry, discussing business, on the phone or watching TV.
- Greens and vegetables preferably local, seasonal and organic
- Fruit also local, seasonal and organic
- A variety of mushrooms on regular basis such as shitake, maitake and even buttons are good
- Grains—less wheat, more rice. For some people, it is very important to eliminate wheat or gluten for short or long term in order to get relief. If you do this, avoid over-processed substitutes for wheat and stick to other simple grains. Other options include rice, quinoa, amaranth and millet.
- Beans—home cooked, not canned
- Cooked food, soups, stew, broths cooked with bone
- Occasional red meat, fish, chicken, if you are not vegetarian. Preferably organic, hormone-free and free range.
- Healthy fresh fats, such as flaxseed oil, olive oil, butter, coconut oil . Find which fats are best for you.
- Local raw honey is medicine and is health promoting. It has helped many people alleviate their allergies.
- One tsp. of honey with 1 T apple cider vinegar in a bit of warm water can be cleansing and help digestion when taken just before a meal.
- Eat simple meals, home-cooked as often as possible…delicious and beautiful... it becomes a part of you when you eat it!
Also try these options:
- Any food you react to
- Any food you experience fatigue, congestion, sneezing and bloating after eating - do not eat for now. This may be temporary and you can try again in a few months.
- Hydrogenated fats
- Sulphites (dried fruit and wine)
- Food dyes
- Artificial sweeteners
- Foods that are over-processed for the purpose of labeling “gluten-free”
- Processed food in general
- Limit dairy
- Limit wheat to less than or equal to 1 serving per day (none if you are gluten intolerant)
- Limit iced drinks, cold food, ice cream/sorbets/popsicles
- Limit coffee (1 time or less per day)
- Limit caffeine (1 time or less per day)
- Limit alcohol (1-2 servings per week or less)
- Limit greasy or deep fried food
- Limit sugar
- No shellfish
- No chocolate
- Limit or no alcohol
- No spicy food
- No mango
- Limit oranges
- No greasy food
- Check nuts, soy, and fish
- No Sulfites (on dried fruit and wine)
- No food dyes
- Minimize milk, melted cheese, dairy
If prone to skin rash, hives or eczema, add these guidelines:
If asthma or wheezing, emphasize: