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Healthy Eating For Spring with TCM

Updated: Jun 18, 2023

kid laying in grass with basket of strawberries

Keeping yourself hydrated and nourished is a

key component of spring.

Spring is a time of renewal, regeneration, growth, and energy. Plants and animals awaken from their slumber during the cold winter months, and vital nutrients stored in the roots of the plants and bodies of the animals come to the surface as life becomes more vibrant and fluid. Human beings are no different. Humans stay indoors more during the winter months, but as the weather warms we tend to venture outdoors and enjoy the nicer weather.

As a species, humans should be more active during the warmer spring months and to do this, we need proper nourishment, Traditional Chinese medicine focuses greatly on the body's qi, the energy that provides our life force. When we are being more active and exerting more energy is it harder to keep the qi nourished. To keep the qi plentiful, we need to eat the proper foods at the proper times.

How Should Spring Effect my Diet?

During winter there is a large emphasis on warm and filling foods, but in the same way that you adjust your wardrobe to fit the season, it is important to also adjust your diet. People tend to become more active in spring and as a result, it is important to eat foods that help to boost energy and support activity. According to TCM, it is important to incorporate sweet foods into the diet so as to help boost energy. The only thing to be aware of with sweet foods is the importance of moderation.

What Qualifies as a "Sweet" Food?

Sweet foods are not referred to as processed sweets--so what are they then? Sweet foods in TCM are foods have higher naturally occurring sugar levels, such as:

bowls of fruit and nuts
  • Fruits

  • Nuts

  • Yams

  • Carrots

  • Potatoes

  • Greens

Sweet foods help to create more natural energy for the body, but be careful not to overdo it. Too much sweet flavored foods can overload the body and make it sluggish. Sweets should be countered with pungent foods. Pungent foods aid in the movement of Qi upwards and outwards through the process of perspiration. Pungent flavored foods include scallions, onions, ginger, radishes, garlic, leeks, and chives.

The Importance of the Spring Season According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, spring is the season of the liver and the gallbladder. These organs regulate a smooth flow of energy throughout the whole body. However, they are prone to stagnation because we do not take proper care of ourselves. This can manifest as anger, irritability, depression, insomnia, and even pain. Foods that help ward off stagnation include foods rich in chlorophyll, such as wheat grass, spirulina, chlorella, parsley, kale, swiss chard, and collard greens.

All of these foods are abundant during the months of spring. It is also a good idea to have a glass of warm water with a slice of lemon first thing in the morning. This will help detoxify the liver and gallbladder to start the day off fresh. Lastly, foods that have a slightly bitter taste can help ward off heat in the liver. This includes foods like asparagus, quinoa, romaine lettuce, and dandelion tea.

Yours in health & wellness,

Dr. Angie Signature

Curious about how to eat according to the seasons? Book our New Patient Special and talk to your acupuncturist

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