The way our bodies process food and water affects how much energy we can produce and how well all of our organ systems work, which in turn nourishes our body, mind, and soul.

Chinese medicine views nourishment as reliant on two qualities: the capacity for receiving and the capacity for transformation. Food can only nourish a mind and body that are receptive to its nourishment. Consuming the “ideal” diet does not ensure optimal nourishment. A weak digestive system may mean that good quality food is poorly absorbed.

In Chinese medicine, the Spleen is considered the primary organ of digestion. Within our bodies, the process of digestion transforms food into a form that may be used and transported to the appropriate location. “Transformation and transportation” is the term for this essential Spleen function. Our ability to be nourished by food is determined by the strength of our Spleen.

We typically feel a feeling of heaviness when the Spleen is weak. We can feel generally exhausted, our limbs seem weak and heavy, and we become congested easily. After eating, there can be a propensity to bloat, issues with food digestion, and fatigue. There is usually low or irregular appetite and loose stools.

Here are some general tips for eating healthily to support the spleen.

Relaxation: The Chinese believe, it’s best to avoid combining work and food. The optimal state for our digestion is when we are enjoying the food and not getting distracted by outside factors. Make mealtime a relaxed occasion with yourself or with others, avoid watching tv or on your computer and mobile or eating on the run.

Chew thoroughly:  It’s been said that ‘the stomach has no teeth’. Efficient chewing reduces the workload of our digestive system. In turn preserving our energy.

– Avoid chilling the Spleen: Eating an excessive amount of raw or cold food will weaken the Spleen. Warmth is necessary for the digestive process. In Chinese medicine, this is referred to as digestive fire.

-Select foods with strong life force: such as those that are organic and locally farmed.

-The Spleen likes to stretch, it releases soft tissue constrictions and improves tone and relaxation in our organs and limbs.

-A massage will also be beneficial since it will help our muscles release built-up toxins and encourage us to soften on the inside.

Simply modifying how, when and where we eat may improve our digestion significantly. A practitioner can help when our system requires further support with Chinese herbal Medicine and Acupuncture. Strengthening the Spleen will enhance digestive function and have a significant impact on general health and wellness.

Leggett, D. (2014). ‘ Helping Ourselves: A Guide to Traditional Chinese Food Energetics’. Meridian Press.
Leggett, D. (2014). ‘Recipes for Self Healing’. Meridian Press.