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15Aug/09Off

Role of Diet in Traditional Chinese medicine

In the post yesterday we talked about a lot of Chinese herbal medicines, or herbs, are indeed foods. Since foods are critical in Chinese herbalogy, there are certain dietary recommendations being put forth. Some of them are commonsense and familiar, others are more departed from western dietary concepts. However, these minor difference shouldn't hurt the general consensus about the important role played by diet in maintaining good health.

Diet recommendations in general:

1. Eat fresh, raw fruit regularly. Contrary to Western medical belief that the skin of fruit should be eaten because of its vitamins, Traditional Chinese medicine(TCM) somehow suggest peeling the fruits and discard the skin. The seeds however, should be chewed and eaten because of its primordial essence. (Honestly, I'm still very lazy to peel the apples myself. )

2. Eat the foods in a form as close to their natural state as possible, like whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables. TCM doesn't believe that vitamins can make up vital nutrients in foods.

3. Combine food wisely, taking into consideration the acid and alkaline balance of the food. This means taking in equal portions of acid and alkaline food items, and not in excess of one or another.

Example of acid foods: onion, orange, cabbage, coffee, pepper, sugar, tomato, alcoholic beverage

Example of alkaline foods: banana, spinach, bread, carrot, broccoli, potato, eggplant, rice

4. Don't eat when you're extremely tired. Fatigue causes inefficient and sluggish digestion of the food, which clogs down the digestive system. (this makes a lot of sense to me, and I'm actually experiencing this TONIGHT...)

5. Avoid drinking liquids with your meal. Liquids dilute saliva and undermine the effectiveness of the enzymes for digestion. (Hmm...no drink for meals? I probably can't do it.)

6. Don't eat immediate after sexual intercourse. Immediately during or following sex, all systems in your body are subordinate to sensory receptors, including the digestive systems.

7. Don't consume food or drink that is too hot or too cold. Just like the information I shared in a past article, dramatic climate change will cause imbalance of Yin and Yang - and that causes illnesses. Accumulating these dramatic changes inside your body isn't a good thing neither. Neutral temperature for anything taken into the digestive system is recommended. I know there are many Americans, even elderly, love to drink anything with ice. TCM or even my Qi Gong master, highly recommend not to drink with ice for better health and longevity.

Strictly follow these guidelines and sometimes us herbal therapy when necessary will correct imbalances that usually begin as mild digestive disturbances and problem often escalate when left unattended. These complications have risks to become causes that lead to more serious diseases of digestive system, such as gastritis, pancreatitis, gallstones, colitis, ulcers, acid reflux, intestinal abscess and kidney stones.

(sources: Chinese Herbal Medicine made easy by Thomas Richard Joiner.)