Healthy Cooking Tips

Chinese Herbal Vegetables

eating according to the seasons

According to Chinese herbal medicine, the body is like a tree that lives through the seasons of nature, and it needs constant replenishment to stay healthy and prevent illness.  In the spring, the leaves bloom; in the summer, the leaves and fruits ripen; in the fall, the leaves wither; and in the winter, the leaves fall. There are five bodily organs that need to be replenished with each season.

The Liver

The liver, which enriches the blood with energy and cleanses the body of toxicants, is replenished in the spring time. Eat beet leaves, daikon leaves, leeks, and shiso.

The Heart

The heart, which seeks comfort and coolness from the heat, is replenished in the summer.  Melons, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, bitter melon, sponge gourds, and many fresh high-water content vegetables have a cooling effect and should be eaten.

The Lungs

The lungs, which suffer from colds, coughs, and sore throats in the dry fall season, need to be replenished with foods such as spinach, lotus seeds and roots, lily bulbs.

The Kidneys

The kidneys, which are the lowest organs in the body like the roots of a tree, need protection to survive the winter. Replenish the kidneys with vegetables like broccoli, green chard, mustard green, tong ho, and dark leafy greens.

The Stomach

The stomach, which is located at the center of the body, is crucial to health because it digests food that is used for the other organs.  Replenish the stomach with foods like sweet potato leaves, Chinese yams, tong ho leaves, and aloe vera.

Importance of Sea Vegetables

Also, the Chinese and Far Eastern civilizations have recognized the importance of sea vegetables in the diet for thousands of years. They consume sea vegetables frequently all throughout the seasons. Sea vegetables are high in proteins, vitamins, and minerals, and have traditionally been eaten to strengthen the blood, heart, and circulatory system. Compared with dairy foods, sea vegetables provide up to ten times more calcium and iron by weights and contain other important trace minerals. Varieties range from kelp, arame, hijiki, kombu, wakame, to toasted nori sheets from which sushi rolls are wrapped.

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