You might have read my previous post on mental health. If you haven’t, you can read it here. Did you know that gut and brain is connected? The gut includes every organ involved in digesting food and processing it into waste and it’s often called the “second brain”. The gut is connected to the brain by 2 ways- physically by the vagus nerve and chemically by hormones and neurotransmitters. All these signals can be disrupted when the microbiome are messed up.
Imagine the gut as a garden. You need to give water, fertilizer and seeds, prune it and purge harmful invaders like weeds to have a flourished garden. In your body, the fertilizer refers to pre-biotics from food like vegetables; seeds refers to probiotics from fermented food and weeds refer to bad bacteria and virus (that’s why it’s important to poop everyday).
If you don’t give those necessary needs, your gut flora or the microbiome will be messed up. This may cause unhappy relationship between the gut and brain, which usually show up as gastrointestinal symptoms like heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, mental symptoms like chronic stress, autism, anxiety and depression.
So, please start filling half of your dinner plate with vegetables tonight and eat meat like condiments (eat meat like “Condi-meat” as Dr Hyman says).
What TCM food to eat for mental health?
Top brain food are rich in antioxidants, good fats, vitamins and minerals. Avocados, dark green vegetables, free range eggs (yup, with yolk), walnuts and dark chocolate (choose 85% and above) are all good choices.
When it comes to TCM, we don’t really look at calories, macronutrients or vitamins. We focus on which organs the food goes to and the hot/cold properties of the food. TCM food therapy is also based on your body type. For example, the red chinese dates Jujube is wam in nature and enters the Spleen, Stomach and Heart. Of course, it’s digested in the Stomach first but the Jujube “power” is shown in other organs.
So, imagine you have a certain set of skills. You excel in creative ideas and illustrations. But if you’re in the wrong industry, say at an accountant’s firm, your skill set will most probably be useless and go unnoticed. But if you quit that job and immerse yourself in the creative industry, boom! your creative juices flow and your artsy powers are unleashed. Just like jujube, they don’t really belong in the Lungs, and they work best in the Heart. I know it’s an abstract concept, but hope you get the idea.
- Red Chinese Dates Jujube
- Barley, Job’s Tears (Yi Y Ren)
- Yellow root vegetables – Pumpkin, Sweet potato, yellow zucchini (Spleen)
- Lotus seeds (Lian Zi)
- Lily Bulbs (Bai He)
For more, get your copy of “TCM Food for Mental Health” by clicking the box below.
Here I share some with you 12 pages of what to eat for mental health such as nervousness, anxiety, depression, irritability based on different body types.
Take care of yourself and take charge of your mental health today. Many turn to the outside for help. New clothes, new lipstick , new relationships… but the answer is always INSIDE of you. If you need someone to guide you to YOURSELF, you can talk to a therapist or psychologist (you can even do it online if you’re busy) from resources such as BetterHelp here.
🥒Thank you for reading and eating your veggies! 🥕