Winter is wrapping up, still delivering cold weather, short days and lots of rain. If you are feeling healthy right now, that’s great. But if you are feeling out of sorts, read on. The foods we eat have an impact on our health, and our food choices need to change according to the seasons. Nutrition counselling is an important part of acupuncture. In this blog post we will share some acupuncture winter dietary advice. Apply these simple principles and see if you feel better.
What’s Ailing You?
Here are some common health issues that tend to arise during February and March. (1) Frequent and repeated colds, sinus infections and chronic congestion; (2) Stomach pain and bowel irregularity; (3) Low back pain and neck pain; (4) Low energy, no motivation, depression.
Of course, you can have these problems any time of the year. But each of these conditions can be aggravated in the winter due to eating the wrong foods. Let’s take a look at some acupuncture winter dietary advice.
Acupuncture Winter Dietary Advice
First, let’s start with frequent and repeated colds, sinus infections and chronic congestion. Frequent colds comes from a weakened immune system. We call it deficient Wei Qi. Sinus infections and chronic congestion also point to Wei Qi deficiency, but also show a weakness in the Chinese Spleen function. In Chinese medicine the Spleen regulates water metabolism. When the Spleen is weak, water accumulates and can turn into phlegm, which often lodges in the head. This results in either chronic sinus infections or chronic congestion.
Eating cold, raw foods in the wintertime can damage the Spleen. Foods like salad, raw fruits and vegetables, fruit smoothies and cold beverages all damage the Spleen in winter. Try eating warm, cooked foods instead. This will strengthen your Spleen and reduce phlegm production. Boosting your Spleen will also boost your immunity, to help reduce frequent colds. Warm, cooked foods include stews, soups, and anything made in the crock pot.
Second, we turn to stomach pain and bowel irregularity. Some people live with stomach pain all year round. They often have been given the diagnosis of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). However, some tend to have more stomach and intestinal problems during the winter months. In these cases, it is important once again to make sure to avoid eating cold foods.
The stomach needs warmth to function properly. When it’s cold outside, the stomach has to work harder to maintain the proper warm environment to digest food properly. Eating cold foods like frozen drinks, smoothies, ice cream, ice water, cold milk, etc. gives the stomach a hard time. It is not able to digest well, leading to stomach and intestinal pain. This type of stomach pain often includes having a cold sensation in the stomach, loose stools and a lot of gas. Changing your diet to warm, cooked foods will harmonize your stomach and ease your pain.
Back and Neck Pain
Third, let’s examine low back pain and neck pain in terms of acupuncture winter dietary advice. Cold weather causes muscles to tighten. Leaving your neck or back exposed to cold and wind is one of the worst things you can to. It will increase the chances of neck and back pain. Make sure to eat enough protein in the winter. This will build your blood. When your blood is abundant and circulating well, you will have less chance of injuring yourself. Meat protein is the best source, but for you vegetarians, make sure to get your protein through other sources.
This does not mean eating only protein. You still need to eat a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates and fats. We typically need about 20-30% of our foods as proteins. Make sure they are cooked well and eaten warm. A good way to keep your blood circulating is to walk every day or do some form of exercise 2-3 times a week. If you cannot exercise due to body pain, a gentle walk works wonders.
Fourth is the issue of low energy, no motivation, and depression. Sometimes the foods we are drawn to when we are struggling with low energy, no motivation and depression are the worst for us. I’m talking about sweets. Imagine you are at the office after lunch in February. You have four more hours of work but all you want to do it take a nap. Someone brought in a box of donuts, or leftover birthday cake. Tempting, right?
As Nancy Reagan used to say about drugs, “Just Say No”. While sugar will give you a temporary lift, it does a great deal of long term damage. It’s better to avoid sweets completely than try to eat them moderately when you are feeling this way. Now is the most important time to stick with a simple, well balanced diet of cooked, warm foods. This will help you get the true energy you need.
When suffering from low energy, no motivation and depression, it is also very important to get some acupuncture. These conditions tend to build like a snowball rolling down a hill. The acupuncture will stop and reverse this downward spiral and get you back on your feet again.
We hope you have found this acupuncture winter dietary advice helpful. It’s amazing how a small change in your daily dietary routine can make a big difference in how you feel. For more information feel free to give us a call. To book an appointment, you can book online right from our website.
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Follow this acupuncture winter dietary advice and chances are you’ll feel better. Soon it will be Spring. In the warm months it’s fine to eat more food that has a cold nature, but don’t overdo it. The stomach always prefers warm, cooked foods for good digestion.