5 Tips to Choose Healthy Energy Foods for Spring

5 Tips to Choose Healthy Energy Foods for Spring

By Madalina Hubert

 

Spring is a time when all life awakens from the stagnation of winter, and energy grows in strength.

Choosing the right foods to eat at this time will help you take full advantage of this newfound spring energy.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is supported by thousands of years of knowledge about the interconnection between the human body, the earth, and the larger universe.

Keep reading to learn what TCM says about energy foods, and how to choose the best foods to support your health this spring.

The Best Foods for Spring

At the core of Chinese medicine is the theory of five elements—wood, fire, earth, metal, and water—which form the basis of our world.

Below is a chart that gives an overview of the five elements, as well as their relationship to the environment and the human body.

Spring corresponds to the wood element, and it is a time of budding strength and renewal.

Since the liver and gallbladder both regulate the flow of life energy (qi) in the body, it is not surprising that these are the organs associated with spring.

According to Chinese medicine, disease comes about when energy flow is disturbed.

Food plays an important part in a healthy body, and in fact, the five elements also correspond to the five flavours found in food, which are sour, bitter, sweet, pungent, and salty.

As much as possible, try to balance the flavours in meals since every flavour corresponds to a particular organ.

There are also particular energy foods and flavours to pay attention to based on the seasons and one’s unique bodily constitution.

5 Tips to Choose Healthy Energy Foods for Spring

1. Choose Foods that Cleanse the Body

One important function of the liver and gallbladder is to cleanse and detoxify the body.

Our bodies thus become lighter and are more able to adapt to the flow of energy in spring.

To help this process and increase your energy, start eating lighter foods, reduce fats (that tend to be more abundant in winter), and avoid processed and refined foods as much as possible.

2. Eat Seasonal Food

The great philosopher Confucius advised people to eat local foods that are in season.

This is because these foods have the properties necessary to help people cope with seasonal temperature changes.

For example, the energy that dominates in spring and summer is yang (active, outward moving), while the energy that dominates in autumn is yin (passive, downward moving).

The foods that are in season in spring, such as sprouts, lettuces, and asparagus, help balance yin and yang in the body and ensure harmony.

3. Eat Leafy Greens as Energy Foods

Green is the colour of spring, and green vegetables are the energy foods to help reinvigorate the body’s energy at this time.

Foods such as baby spinach, kale, and parsley help rejuvenate the liver because they contain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibre, and other beneficial properties.

However, it is a good idea to cook these foods, since spring is a period of transition, and there are many instances of wind and cold that can negatively impact the body.

4. Pay Attention to Sour, Pungent, and Sweet Flavours

Sour is the official flavour of spring.

In small doses, the sour flavour directly benefits the liver and gallbladder, while in large quantities it can damage these organs.

In spring, the body has a tendency to crave the pungent and sweet flavours.

Pungent foods have expansive and warming properties and improve digestion.

Examples include basil, rosemary, and fennel. Stronger pungent foods, such as onions and garlic, also help with the cleansing process through their antibacterial properties.

Sweet foods support the spleen and include sweet potatoes, yams, peas, and carrots.

5. Practice Mindfulness

Spring is a time for a change, and the dominant emotion, according to Chinese medicine, is anger.

It is thus important to eat mindfully, regulate your emotions, and increase the amount of exercise (especially since we tend to be more stagnant in winter).

Spring is a time for new beginnings, but since change can also be stressful, meditation and greater mindfulness are especially helpful.

The goal is to be more energetic and productive during this busy season.

These are some age-old principles from Chinese medicine on how to choose the best energy foods for spring.

By paying attention, you can enjoy a better diet and more energy this spring!

 

Madalina Hubert is a Toronto-based writer specializing in art, culture, travel, and culinary explorations.

 

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