Meditation & Health #25 – Four Seasons of Kidney Care
Four Seasons of Kidney Care
By Belle & Dan Shan
Kidney health has a profound impact on the overall health of the body. When in poor condition, the kidneys can be the cause of many illnesses. Keeping them healthy is an essential part of total-body wellness.
The optimal methods of kidney care change in accordance with the seasons. The methods are in sync with the elements associated with the prevailing weather conditions during each season.
Spring : Rejuvenation
Life begins anew for Mother Earth and her creatures in springtime, and in keeping with the spirit of renewal, it is the ideal time to rejuvenate the kidneys as our bodily functions enter a more active mode. Exercising outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine gets the kidney energy flowing. Simply taking brisk walks is highly beneficial.
However, the spring season often features strong winds and fluctuating temperatures, which can cause weakened immunity and health concerns related to our kidneys. Keeping our neck, lower back, waist, abdomen, and the soles of our feet warm is important for kidney health.
Summer : Balance
The sweltering heat during summer can be unbearable, prompting us to down cold drinks, wear midriff-baring clothes, and crank up the air-conditioning.
Unbeknownst to many of us, our body heat is concentrated on the surface of our body while our internal body’s temperature remains low during summer. Hence, if we catch a cold during this season, our kidneys may be weakened. To keep them healthy during summer, avoid excessive consumption of cold foods and drinks. A cold internal body means depleted yang energy in the kidneys, which eventually results in frequent night urination. For those whose internal body is cold, consuming warm ginger tea helps to rid the dampness.
Autumn : Hydration
A dry season, autumn is when the warm yang energy recedes while the cold yin energy increases. We tend to feel discomfort as the air becomes drier
and the moisture in the body decreases.
It is important to stay hydrated during autumn to protect our kidney health. Increase clear-fluid intake, cut down on salty foods, and consume moisturizing foods such as pears, water chestnuts, honey, kelp, and orange and yellow vegetables.
Winter : Warmth
Our metabolism slows down during winter. We are more vulnerable to illness and thus protecting our kidneys becomes critical.
Keep warm at all times and protect yourself from drafts. Engage in outdoor activities when the weather permits to increase metabolism and improve blood circulation. Eat seasonal produce such as turnips, parsnips and squash, and try baked apples or pears as sweet indulgences instead of sugary treats. Drink warm water instead of overindulging in coffee.
Food Therapy for Healthy Kidneys
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) advocates consuming five colors of food for nourishing different internal organs.
Red foods are the fire element. They nourish the heart and boost the immune system,helping to prevent colds. Examples of redfoods are apples, tomatoes and beets.
Wood-element green foods such as avocadoes, spinach and broccoli benefit the liver and gall bladder.
For the spleen and stomach, eat earth-element yellow foods including yellow peppers and pineapple.
White foods are considered metallic, and good for vision, emotional peace, and wellbeing of the lungs. Onions, mushrooms, cauliflower, and turnips are classified as white foods.
Black foods such as black rice, black beans, black sesame, and blackberries are the water element, recommended for nourishing the kidneys. According to ancient TCM wisdom, kidneys function at their peak between 5 p.m.and 7 p.m., making that window of time the best in which to consume nutritious black foods.
Those whose kidneys lack yin energy may experience dizziness accompanied by ringing in the ears, an aching back with weak legs, a parched mouth and tongue, hot-temperedness, hot palms, and a tendency to perspire heavily.A light diet that includes plenty of hydrating foods is recommended.
For those whose kidneys lack yang energy, the internal body tends to be cold. Symptoms such as cold limbs, pain in the lower back and knees, frequent urination, and a pale complexion may be present. Foods with warm properties such as red dates, ginger, longans, and peaches are recommended.
Our kidneys are the source of our vitality. Taking special care of them throughout every season of the year not only promotes their health, but the health of our entire body.