Nourishing the Spleen Through Food
The Spleen likes to feel a satisfied glow of comfort after eating. An eating style that nourishes the Spleen is one that is homely and generous, one that gives attention to the ‘feel-good factor’, generating a sense of abundance and care.
In Chinese medicine the Spleen is said to be nourished by sweet food. This does not mean sugar but rather the deep sweet taste of grains or root vegetables as in rice pudding or pumpkin soup. Generally speaking the Spleen likes well-cooked food such as thick soups or stews which are easy on the digestion; it has more difficulty with raw and cold food. The weaker the Spleen, the more it benefits from well-cooked meals.
The Spleen also dislikes being flooded with too much fluid so it is helpful to drink only a little fluid with meals and have most fluid intake between meals. It is helpful to separate fruit and sweetened foods from the main meal, eating them instead as between-meal snacks. This assists the Spleen’s function of sifting and sorting and helps reduce digestive fermentation.
Chewing well helps the Spleen to digest, and warms chilled or raw food. We can also assist the Spleen by sitting in a relaxed way with an open and untwisted posture. Sitting slumped or twisted will compress the digestive organs and hinder digestion.
Aromatic flavours stimulate the digestion, so the inclusion of aromatic herbs and spices in cooking will encourage the Spleen not to become Stagnant. Sweet-flavoured foods, especially foods rich in complex carbohydrates, are used by the Spleen to release energy steadily into the system; they form the centre of a Spleen-supportive diet.
Finally, according to the system of correspondences in Chinese medicine it is said that yellow/orange foods such as squash, ‘red’ lentils or carrot are energetically resonant with the Spleen and will support its functions.