Food Energetics – Best foods to balance your Spleen

Posted on August 18, 2012

According to Western medicine the Spleen is an organ responsible for filtering the blood to the brain but in the Chinese system it becomes the whole digestive system from the mouth to the bumhole and includes the pancreas and small intestine too. The whole of the digestive process, the quality of the blood and Qi are all dependent upon the strength and balance of the Spleen.

So how can we take care of this often overlooked organ?
The Spleen needs cooked food as raw and cold food is harder to digest. Generally Spleens are happiest with home cooking as it provides that sense of care it craves. Even when travelling it is vital to create a sense of home and structure as this is what the Spleen requires. So have a routine, eat regularly and on time and take the time to relax wherever you are, so don’t rush your meals. Remember when your parents told you to chew your food properly? Or maybe you have heard about monks chewing eat mouthful 100 times? It really does help the Spleen to digest better as the first stage of digestion is in the mouth so remember to slow down.

The Chinese take on it is that the Spleen is nourished by sweet foods but that does not mean sugary, they mean naturally sweet like vegetables such as pumpkin, root vegetables, like carrots and swedes made into soups and stews and corn on the cob, which is both damp reducing and Spleen nourishing.

A general rule is that yellow and orange  foods will benefit the Spleen. These are  colours associated with the element Earth which governs the Spleen, in the 5 Element system, this also connects with the need to feel grounded that the Spleen so needs.

On an energy level, the Spleen has to do with issues such as nourishment and support. Imbalance can be connected with a sense of need rather than feelings of abundance. So to nourish the Spleen, we need to develop our emotional balance as well as our physical nutrition.

When the Spleen is weak there may be a tendency to what the Chinese call stagnation, a lack of movement of the Qi which can lead to problems such as bloating and wind if untreated. The addition of some fresh aromatic herbs such as  thyme and basil and warming and pungent spices such as ginger, cloves and black pepper, to cooked foods will help to resolve this.

A supportive Spleen diet is a complex carbohydrate base. Foods such as chickpeas and most beans, grains like barley, millet and oats which will provide a slow release of energy and nourish the Spleen Qi. Also try not to drink during mealtimes as too much liquid can flood the Spleen, which it doesn’t like, better drink some Jasmine Tea in between meals instead of snacking. If you do need have a snack, try to eat fruits in between meals, rather than with meals to prevent fermentation in the gut. If you are suffering with wind or bloating try sipping some fennel tea.

Life Analysis check