Keeping On Top of Your Winter Health

Keeping On Top of Your Winter Health

Winter Health

10 Jun 2022

In Chinese Medicine, Winter is the utmost Yin time of the year and is the time of stillness. It is the time to move inside and practice stillness. Winter health is connected with the Kidneys, Adrenals and Bladder in our body, so it is important to ensure these organs are nourished during this season.

A good way to nourish the Kidneys is to:

  • Keep warm when outdoors, especially during cool or windy weather, and indoors if it is cold or if there are draughts. This can be done by wearing warm clothing and avoiding wearing short shirts or tops that expose the trunk to cold.
  • Have regular footbaths with Epsom salts. A lot of major acupuncture channels are connected to the feet so this will help to transmit warmth to the rest of your body. It can also be a great help to wear slippers around the house and warm socks to bed.
  • Cultivate stillness. You can do this through meditation and quite contemplative practices to help calm your body and mind.
  • Enjoy some light exercise to help keep your spine and joints healthy. In Chinese Medicine, the Kidneys and Bones are closely linked.
  • Make sure you keep your water intake up during the cooler months. It is common during Winter that we will drink less, but it important to stay hydrated for the health of your Kidneys.
  • Put a hot water bottle on your back in the upper lumbar area for 20 minutes three times a week. This can be done while sitting on a computer or watching a movie or your favourite series.

Nutritional tips during Winter, According to Chinese Medicine:

Adapting your diet can help to keep your body warm and your Kidneys healthy. Here is what is recommended:

  • Eat foods that warm you to the core. For example, soups, stews, slow-cooked meats and ideally anything that takes longer to cook at lower temperatures and with less water. Avoid foods that are cold and raw, like salads, during the cooler seasons.
  • Salt is the flavour that is associated with the Kidneys and with the Water element. Salt refers to NaCl, however, another interpretation of salt in Chinese Medicine is that it is connected to  the various minerals that are available in foods and supplements. Therefore it is important to maintain adequate mineral intake (eg. Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium etc). It is important not to overdo Salt (NaCl) as this can adversely weaken the Kidneys. A balance is always what we are looking for. Some salty foods to include in moderation during Winter are soy sauce, miso and seaweed.
  • Foods that strengthen the Kidneys are typically dark in colour, or black. For example, black sesame seeds, shiitake mushrooms, clove.
  • Bitter foods can also be helpful for promoting Kidney health. For example, turnip, asparagus, celery and watercress.

Hopefully our Winter tips will help you traverse this season with grace! Let us know if you have any questions!

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