After entering winter, the metabolism of the human body slows down and energy consumption is relatively reduced. “Winter tonic” can make the energy transformed from nutrients stored in the body, thus strengthening the foundation and strengthening the resistance. In winter, due to the latent Yang qi, the kidney qi is most vulnerable to loss or damage. Therefore, the diet adjustment is suitable for use food with warm and nourishing characters, so as to supplement kidney qi, and solid protection of kidney essence. However, due to the different body constitution of each person, tolerance to warm tonic could be different.
This article is a continuation of previous introduction on “Preservation of Health in Winter, Nourish the Kidney First”.
The winter kidney-nourishing diet needs following a few principles
A. Warm Supplement in winter
In winter, the climate is cold, and the Yang qi of the human body is relatively weak. In Traditional Chinese medicine, there is a saying that “Making up for the deficiency” and “warming up for the cold”. Therefore, in winter, we should pay attention to dietary conditioning, and choose warm food for recuperation, which can warm the whole body tissue, enhance physical fitness, and improve the ability of the human body to prevent cold.
For example, eat more warm food, such as beef, mutton, chicken, longan, leek, glutinous rice and so on. Drink more hot soup to moisten the viscera, increase appetite, dispel cold and keep warm. Meanwhile, eat less raw and cold food, so as not to harm Yang qi.
B. Eat more black to nourish the kidney
Winter diet and health should follow the principle of “nourishing kidney and preventing cold”, diet to nourish kidney Yin and kidney Yang, increase heat mainly.
The Five-Elements theory believes that kidney qi is in season of winter, and kidney is the motive force of human life and the “congenital origin” of human body. Winter is the best time to tonify kidneys, and black food is the most effective means of tonifying kidneys.
Black food such as black rice, black beans, black sesame, black fungus, black dates, black chicken, turtle, kelp, laver and so on, are a good choice in winter..
Different from mutton, lamb, all kinds of warm kidney food, black food mostly taste peaceful, tonic but not greasy, feeding but not dry, specially good for those with kidney-qi gradually decline, or the frail old man. So, we might as well eat more “black” in winter.
C. Take tonic food according to your constitution
People’s body constitutions are different. It is important to make clear your own physical characteristics, choose appropriate food supplements, and avoid blindly supplement.
Those with yang deficiency: should take something warm, such as lamb, deer, and chicken.
Those with qi and yin deficiency: should take more duck, goose, or tremella.
Those who are thin and easily excited, should take food that tonics Yin and increases fluid, promotes blood and promotes body fluid. Mainly tonify with less-salt and mild supplement, while avoid pungent or spicy foods.
Those who are plump and muscle-relaxed, should take something luscious, instead of eating cold, greasy foods.
In addition to food tonic, there is also medicine tonic. However, one must not randomly take supplement. It is best to find an experienced TCM doctor to check up your constitution type and guide you to choose suitable foods or medicine.
Here are some examples of winter warming food:
Mutton – mutton (lamb) in the “Compendium of Materia Medica” is known as “nourishing original Yang benefiting qi-blood” the best tonic. In autumn and winter, eating mutton can dispel the cold and warm the heart and stomach. Mutton also has the effect of nourishing qi-blood, nourishing liver and improving blood circulation.
Perch fish — perch has warm sweet taste, with functions of nourishing spleen, stomach, liver and kidney, relieving cough and phlegm.
Crucian carp – warm taste sweet, can fill the spleen and benefit qi, warm middle and lowering qi, channeling water and detumescence, tonifying blood and dredging milk.
Millet – millet flat temperature, sweet, yellow into the spleen-stomach, and have the functions of harmonizing stomach and warming middle. Millet conge is often used for children with spleen deficiency and diarrhea, the elderly with qi deficiency and fatigue, and postpartum maternal tonic.
Sweet potato – tonic deficiency, tonifying qi, spleen and stomach, and strengthening kidney Yin.
Chinese cabbage (Napa) – Chinese cabbage is warm and sweet, entering the spleen and stomach meridian. It has the effect of warming stomach and invigorating qi, driving cold and windproof. It can improve epigastric cold pain, fear of cold in abdomen, cold pain in lower abdomen and poor defecation.
Walnuts — Walnut can tonify kidney solid essence, diuretic stone removal, moving intestine laxative, warm lung and reduce asthma, often used for kidney deficiency, lower back pain, urinary stones and other diseases.
Following are a few suitable recipes recommended for the winter dietary therapy – nourishing kidney and stay healthy:
1, Five black tonifying-kidney porridge
Ingredients: black rice, black bean, black sesame, black date, black fungus, walnut.
Method: Wash black rice and black beans separately and soak them in water overnight. Wash black sesame. Put black sesame, black dates, black fungus, walnut, black beans, black rice into the pot, add 5 times of water. First use big fire to boil it, and then change to small fire braised for 1 hour. When the black beans become soft and ripe, the black rice becomes ripe and the porridge becomes thick, turn off the heat and add brown or white sugar (optioinal) for better taste.
Efficacy: tonifying liver and kidney, invigorating spleen and increase appetizing, moistening intestines and defecating. It is an excellent and rare kidney tonic.
2, Chestnut porridge
Ingredients: chestnut 150 grams, japonica rice 100 grams, some rock sugar.
Method: Wash chestnuts, cut. Cook in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes, peel off the shell and film. Put water in the pot, put japonica rice, large fire to boiling, then change to mild fire, add chestnuts, simmer rotten into porridge. Add rock sugar and wait until the rock sugar melts.
Efficacy: chestnut is also called “kidney fruit, suitable for those with kidney disease”, with spleen and kidney, strong tendon and bone. It is especially suitable for people with Yang deficiency constitution. Chestnut porridge can tonify kidney qi, spleen and stomach, can be used for kidney deficiency, waist and leg sour and weak, spleen deficiency, loose stool and diarrhea.
3. Atractylodes and Yam Porridge
Ingredients: fried atractylodes (6 grams), Yam (10 grams), lentils (6 grams), japonica rice (30 grams), wolfberry (6 grams).
Method: after food materials are all washed clean, cook congee with japonica rice altogether, after congee is cooked, adding sugar to adjust evenly, that is it; have it twice a day.
Efficacy: Atractylodis yam porridge tonifying spleen and kidney. General weakness in spleen and stomach can have it for supplement. Atractylodes nourishes the spleen and stomach, Chinese yam can tune up human immune system, Chinese wolfberry has the function of nourishing the liver and kidney, three materials with porridge can strengthen the spleen and kidney with strong muscles.
4, Chive porridge
Ingredients: Fresh leek (Chinese Chive) 30-60 grams or chive seeds 5-10 grams with 100 grams of Japonica rice and a little salt.
Method: Take fresh leek, wash and cut it into fine pieces, or ground the chive seeds into powder. The Japonica rice is cooked first. When the congee is almost ready, add leek or chive seeds powder and salt in the congee.
Efficacy: tonifying kidney, strengthening Yang, strengthening spleen and stomach. It is suitable for those with impotence, premature ejaculation, frequent urination, cold waist and knee, cold pain in abdomen and diarrhea caused by deficiency of spleen and kidney Yang.
Chinese chive (Leek) also known as Yang grass, aphrodisiac vegetables. It is the food for warming and tonifying kidney Yang. Must be used with japonica rice together, can tonify liver kidney, warm the middle and tonify spleen. Those with afore-mentioned symptoms should take it for a long time, so as to get better effect.
5, Lamb stew with radish
Main ingredients: 500 grams of lamb, 1000 grams of radish, 10 grams of tangerine peel.
Other Ingredients: 15 grams of cooking wine, 20 grams of scallion, 6 grams of ginger, 3 grams of salt.
Methods: 1. Wash the radish, peel it and cut it into chunks. Wash and cut lamb into strips or chunks. Rinse tangerine peel, rinse ginger and pat. Rinse scallion and cut into sections
2, boil the cut lamb in boiling water to remove blood and then wash it with cold water
3. put the clean lamb, tangerine peel into the pot with a heavy fire to boil, hit the floating foam, switch to simmer for half an hour
4, add radish, ginger, Onions, cooking wine, salt, stew until radish is cooked, ready to serve.
Tonifying qi and deficiency – The lamb stew with radish is warm and sweet, which goes into the spleen and kidney meridian and has a good effect of tonifying qi and tonifying deficiency. It is suitable for people with weak body, insufficient Yang qi and postpartum milk deficiency and shaking hands. In addition, lamb is rich in protein, for improving the body’s immune capacity is also very good help.
Tonifying the kidney and helping the Yang – lamb into the kidney meridian, with the effect of tonifying the kidney and helping the Yang, suitable for those with Yang deficiency caused by kidney Yang, Fr those with cold limbs, fear of cold without movement, waist acid impotence, can play a very good therapeutic effect. And white radish stewed together, can also match meat and vegetable, to ensure a more balanced nutrition.
Compensatory nutrition: radish stewed lamb mainly contain protein, lipid, carbohydrate, carotene, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E and other nutritional ingredients, and calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc and other trace elements, often eat turnip stewed mutton to supplement their own appropriate nutrients, maintain A healthy body.
White radish is low in calories and belongs to cool food. The choline material it contains can eliminate accumulate change sluggish, promote adipose decomposition, and mustard seed oil can help the metabolism of fat kind food, crude fiber and lignin can accelerate the toxin inside body, and improve constipation phenomenon. If you eat about 100 grams of radish every day in winter, you will get an unexpected slimming effect.
In summary, Diet adjustment for wellness should not unlimited supplement or nutrition, but reasonable collocation or balance, comprehensive nutrition. It is one of the principles on dietary health to adjust diet with the change of climate in four seasons.
“Cold winter qi, one should eat millet to heat its cold”. Winter diet is based on the principle of “warming and tonifying kidney and preventing cold”. Under the principle of balanced diet, choose appropriate food to nourish the body.
We are teaching more kidney-nourishing methods and practice in our Sunday Qigong for Health class online. Please join us to learn more details: