Winter & The Kidneys: A Chinese Medicine Prospective

“He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope has everything” Arabian proverb


The ancients understood that winter is a time of contraction and introspection, a time to evaluate your actions from the previous year and meditate on changes that you would like to institute for the future. We still embrace this concept with new years resolutions. Traditional Chinese dietary therapy is a great way to incorporate the enormous effects of the season into our personal lives and, like our lives, always keep evolving.

In Chinese Medicine, the winter is associated with the KIDNEYS, the OCEAN, SALTY foods, REPRODUCTION and the emotion of FEAR. When the KIDNEYS become out of balance people suffer from: Joint problems, Knee pain, Teeth problems, Back pain, Pre-mature graying, Reproductive imbalances, Pre-mature aging, Excessive fear or worry.

The following list of foods (from Paul Pitchford’s book, Healing with Whole Foods) help address any KIDNEY weakness and should be eaten by everyone in the winter.

Foods should be cooked longer with less water and less heat. The theory is that concentrated foods will provide longer lasting energy on those cold and dark days.
•    Soups (avoid raw foods)
•    Molasses (source of iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium)
•    Black Beans
•    Seaweeds: kelp, wakame, hijiki
•    Tuna, Sardines, Crab
•    Root vegetables: turnips, sweet potato, parsnips, beets
•    Ox Tail soup, Chicken soup-anything with marrow for the bones
•    Wheat germ
•    Spirulina
•    Pork
•    Miso
•    Soy sauce
•    Black sesame seeds
•    Millet, Buckwheat, Kasha, Barley
•    Walnuts
•    Asparagus
•    Kidney beans

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