5 tips for a healthy spleen

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The spleen is not something we pay too much attention to, but it is a body part that we need to take care of all year round (more so in times of cold weather). You may not be aware of it, but this somewhat fragile organ is essential for our health. It helps us maintain our internal energy levels and plays a role in digestion (thus having a small effect on body weight). Here are a few tips inspired by Chinese medicine for a healthy and optimally functioning spleen. 

1) Cold and raw food: the spleen’s worst enemy

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By cold, we mean partially raw or cold foods (such as raw vegetables), but also cold drinks and in general, anything that comes directly out of the fridge.

So by proxy, this means you should go for a hot tea over a cold drink. Eat cooked foods rather than raw, and hot food rather than cold. You can also increase your intake of certain foods such as aniseed, cinnamon, carrots, cereals, cucumber, dates, melon, honey, potatoes, pears, grapes and licorice.

2) Monitor your consumption of moist, sugary or fatty foods

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If you eat too much sugar, your pancreas will tire out and won’t be able to look after your spleen well. Additionally, in Chinese medicine, it is recommended that you avoid moist foods which create phlegm and tire out the spleen. It is recommended that you avoid processed foods, fats (fried foods, fatty meats, etc.) and dairy products. Alcohol is also not recommended.

3) Keep a steady routine

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Get into the routine of eating at fixed times, and stick to it. When creating your routine, try not to eat too late in the evening and try not to eat to excess. Don’t forget to eat a breakfast every morning. Also, try not to snack too much between meals. Irregular eating times weaken the spleen.

4) Go for whole grains and legumes

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These two types of foodstuffs help the spleen work at full speed. Eat them in small quantities on a daily basis, with plenty of vegetables and reasonable quantities of meat (chicken, duck, etc.) or fish (anchovies, crab, prawns, herring, mackerel, mussels, sardines, etc.). You can choose from adzuki beans, dried beans, lentils, millet, quinoa, chickpeas, peas, rice or buckwheat. Wheat can overload the spleen with moisture, so limit your consumption of bread and pasta!

Go for yellow or orangey coloured vegetables which grow on or below the ground (carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, pumpkins, etc.).

5) In terms of emotions

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In Chinese medicine, the spleen is linked to specific emotions: anxiety, worry, intellectual overload…. In short, this last point is to do with the link between our physical health and our emotions. For a healthy and well functioning spleen, go easy on yourself and take the time to relax!


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