Chinese medicine works best as a preventative medicine. How we live our lives on a daily basis, contributes to how well our health is years later. The ancient Chinese follow a number of rules; from what type of foods we should eat and avoid, when we should go to bed, and what time is best to do our daily exercise.
Here are 10 simple tips that the ancient Chinese follow for good health, that you can follow too.
1. Eat a hearty breakfast between 7-9am
In Chinese medicine the stomach is most active and functional between the times of 7-9am. This is when it is most optimal to eat a big hearty breakfast to set the day right.
2. In bed and asleep by 11pm.
This is the optimal time to be asleep, as it is believed that the gallbladder begins the regeneration process at 11pm, then the liver will begin detoxing the body between 1-3am.
3. Do your biggest thinking in the morning
Between 9-11am is the time for the spleen energy, which is associated with mental processes, taking in information, and thought processes.
4. Eat according to the seasons, and what’s available locally
Nature has a way of knowing what our bodies need at different times of the year. Eat the foods that are available locally and seasonally, i.e. don’t eat summer fruits in the middle of a cold winter’s day.
5. Eat cooked foods, and drink water that is at room temperature
Chinese medicine believes that the digestion requires our food to be at room/body temperature to assist in the digestion process. If you find that after eating some cold or raw causes you begin to bloat, or have abdominal pain, maybe switch your meals to be cooked. This is also true for drinks, the body prefers room temperature fluids, however the exception to the rule is drinking a cold refreshing drink on a really hot summer’s day.
6. Avoid greasy, processed, raw, sugary, and dairy foods.
All these foods are believed to cause stagnation and obstruction in the body, and therefore blocking the smooth flow of blood and qi throughout the body. Dairy is considered by Chinese medicine to cause damp in the body, which obstructs the digestion, and creates phlegm in the chest and nose.
7. Can’t sleep, keep a cool head
Ensure you draw any heat away from the head, down to the feet to assist in sleep issues. Soaking feet in warm to hot tub of water with some essential oils (like lavender), an hour before bed, can assist with getting you to sleep faster. Alternatively you can use a heat pack on your feet.
8. Eat dinner between 5-7pm
This is the time for the kidney energy. If you feel exhausted and worn out by the day’s events, boost your energy reserves by having dinner at this time. Dinner should be light, and eaten before 7pm to allow enough time for digestion before bed.
9. Exercise between 5-7am
This is the time when the sun is coming up and everything wakes up. It’s a great way to start the day with some tai chi or qi gong.
10. Control your emotions
It is believed excessive emotions can impact on our health. Each organ on the 12 channels have emotions attached to them, for example when liver is in disharmony, anger and frustration present themselves. Try mediation, going for a walk, yoga, writing in a journal, or talk to a friend to help you through difficult times.
Always consult a health professional for your individual needs.