In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), in Winter, the water element, predominates and this corresponds to our kidneys and bladder. To unify with winter, one emphasises the yin principle. The cold and darkness drive one to seek inner warmth and become more receptive and introspective. There are some simple dietary and lifestyle changes that can make your transition into winter smooth, as you will find out below.
Symptoms of unhappy kidneys include-:
Bladder and kidney infections
Low back pain
Cavities in teeth
Weak or broken bones
Premature gray hair or hair loss
Ringing in the ears
Increase of phobias or fears
So, what can you do to support the kidneys in Winter?
1. Keep Warm
Wear scarves and extra layers or scarves around your mid-section to keep the abdomen and kidneys warm.
2. Maintain fluid intake
Warm water and herbal teas are the best support for the kidneys (avoid cold water).
3. Warming cooking methods
Get the slow cooker out! Warming methods of cooking such as baking and stewing or anything that is cooked over a long period and at a low heat is a warming method of cooking from a TCM perspective and will help to nourish the kidneys.
4. Spice it up!
Use aromatic herbs and spices in cooking such as ginger, cardamon, cinnamon, oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary to warm up foods and help assist with digestion. Or, start the day with BBTC's chai tea!
Carrots, beetroots and parsnips are vegetables that grow in winter and help with the drawing down of energy to warm internally, to tonify and build kidney chi.
6. Include salty foods
For example miso, seaweed, sea salt, millet, barley plus any food made salty by the addition of salt- but don't overdo it! These foods have a drawing down and centering action which heightens the capacity for storage and warmth.
7. Include bitter foods
For example lettuce, watercress, endive, turnip, celery, asparagus, alfalfa, carrot, rye, oats, quinoa and amaranth. Like salty foods, these will have a drawing down and centering action which heightens the capacity for storage and warmth.
8. Warm miso soup is a kidney favourite
heat the water and let it cool back down to ninety or one hundred degrees so it is warm to the touch. Add sliced mushrooms, wakame (a sea vegetable), grated ginger and carrots and miso. Before adding the miso, make it into a paste with warm water and then add to the soup.
Firstly, Nettles is a nutrient-rich herb providing a cross section of minerals to help build the blood, improve urine flow and to build kidney chi. Nettles are part of BBTC's Detox and Skin tea. Secondly, Dandelion root is a widely used herb to treat kidney disorders as it increases urine flow and assists with blood cleansing. Dandelion is the base of BBTC's Dandylicious and it is absolutely delicious with or without milk.