Chinese Medicine for Better Digestion

Chinese Medicine:

All of us want to feel our best, and in Chinese medicine, that means having good energy. We get our energy from the air we breathe and the food we eat. Unfortunately, while many of us eat well, we often have poor digestion, which can translate into low energy, fatigue, and a host of other health problems.

The Chinese view digestion almost like a pot of nutritious soup in your body simmering over a low flame. Foods that are added to the soup can enhance or dramatically hinder how well it cooks. For example, if you add ice cold foods to the soup, it will dampen the flame and the soup will stop cooking. This will ultimately take energy to bring the soup back to the simmering point. The same is true for a lot of raw fruits and vegetables. Rather than enhancing our energy level, eating the wrong foods can actually deplete our energy. A better plan is to "predigest" foods if possible to make the nutrients more available and enhance energy.

Here are some things that you can do to improve your digestion and get the most nutrition from the food you eat:

-Very cold or raw foods take a lot of energy to digest, and eaten frequently can put a strain on your digestion. "Predigest" your fruits and vegetables by sauting or steaming them briefly.

-Drink room temperature or warm liquids. Avoid iced drinks.

-Eat smaller meals more often to keep your blood sugar even and ease your digestion.

-Eat at least two hours before bedtime to give your system time to digest. Eating too close to bedtime can cause heartburn or insomnia.

-Ginger and Hawthorne are two common herbs used in Chinese medicine to help digestion. Ginger is good for calming an upset stomach and can be found in teas or can be grated raw into hot water. Hawthorne is used to help ease digestion and can be found in capsules, teas, or candy.

Lynn Jaffee is a licensed acupuncturist specializing in acupuncture health care for women. She has a clinic in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. For more information check out

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