October 02, 2018
How Diet can Contribute to Mental-Emotional Problems in Chinese Medicine
A woman’s menstrual period, also known as “Heavenly Water” in Chinese, is an event that is supposed to come and go smoothly. The menstrual blood is discharged fully as a smooth flow of bright red blood with a moderate level of heaviness on the first couple of days and tapering off to become lighter over the next few days. It can be a divine experience!
However, it is very common to hear of women with intense period pain, very heavy periods, pre-menstrual symptoms such as sore breasts, lower back pain, cramping in the lower abdomen, bloating and irritability, moodiness and increased emotional sensitivity. All these signs are a signal of your body being out of balance as a result of poor diet, poor lifestyle, a constitutional deficiency, trauma, pathogens and/or emotions. We’ll have a look at some foods to eat more of and foods to avoid during our period to make sure we have the best possible chance of having a divine menstrual flow!
You want to avoid cold foods and fluid such as ice-cream, foods straight from the fridge and cold smoothies, even if they are full of kale, chia seeds and coconut milk. Your digestive system, the Spleen in Chinese Medicine, will become sluggish so food isn’t transformed completely and the nutrients aren’t transported around the body. When your Spleen energy is low, you may have a heavy menstrual flow, cramps with cold hands and feet, diarrhoea and other digestive issues. This lack of energy and movement in the Spleen creates what we call Damp. When you are Damp, you can experience bloating, cramping and general discomfort with your period.
Foods to eat to support the Spleen:
Foods to eat to replenish Blood lost:
Allowing the free flow of Liver Qi is important because the Liver meridian flows through the Uterus and when the energy is blocked, it results in uncomfortable symptoms, including depression and low energy. Dampness in our system can exacerbate these symptoms.
Foods to avoid to reduce Qi Stagnation and Dampness:
Give this bit of diet advice a go and your body will thank you for it!
Zhao, X. (2006) Reflections of the Moon on Water, Virago Press, Great Britain.