Healing the Heart | Calming Foods for the New Year

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Stephanie Pinteritsch

We all have had a difficult year. Existential fears, fears for health and changes in our behavioral patterns towards our fellow human beings affect our well-being.

Our nervous system is a complex field which can be influenced from countless directions. The good news is, that we can use many approaches such as: Yoga – especially Yin Yoga and restorative Yoga, but also meditation, and nutrition to bring us back into balance.

In Chinese Medicine, the heart with the “Shen” – our spirit, is one of the required organ cycles when it comes to the nervous system. When the heart does not calm down, we suffer from insomnia, depression, uncontrolled sweating, panic attacks, states of exhaustion and much more. Of course, there is also the liver and its blood from the Wood Element or the kidneys with our basic energy from the Water Element which are very important organs when it comes to the nervous system.

In our discussion today, we are generally concentrating on the heart. Below, find some dietary suggestions for calming the nervous system and clearing the mind.


Foods to Avoid –

You should avoid food habits which scatter the mind or overheat the body. Too many ingredients in meals, very spicy or rich foods, refined sugar, alcohol, coffee, fast food, late-night eating and large evening meals. There is one rule for evenings: “The later you eat, the more it should look like a soup.”

Foods to Include –

The following suggestions reduce nervousness, treat insomnia, and improve mental focus quieting and centering the spirit.

Grain: whole wheat, kamut (an old wheat type), brown rice and oats calm the mind
Mushrooms: especially Poria cocos is used to balance the nervous system, Lhing zhi (Reishi) directly nurtures the heart and calms the mind; and all the other mushrooms have also positive effects on our nervous system.
Silicon foods: such as oatstraw tea, barley gruel, oat groat tea, cucumber, celery lettuce and celery juice.
Fruits: Mulberries and Goji berries are known as a heart tonicum
Seeds: Jujube seeds and Chia seeds have sedative characteristics
Spices: Dill and basil are fantastic calming ones
Herbs: (used regularly) chamomille, lemon balm, passion flower, johannis herbs, lavender and rose hips are great teas to calm the system and help you to improve your sleep.

Wheat Goji Tea is a beverage that can be used regularly in times of stress.

Ingredients:

Goji berries – handful
Wheat Grains – 3T
Cold water – 1/2L

Directions:

Steep the wheat grains in the cold water for about 20 minutes before bringing it to a boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat to a low simmer and add the goji berries. Cover the mixture and let simmer for about 30 minutes.

Drink unsweetened throughout the day. It is particularly effective if you drink this brew between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Benefits: Moisturizes and calms the mind, nourishes the yin of the heart, liver and kidneys.

Enjoy!

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Stephanie Pinteritsch
Stephanie Pinteritsch
Stephanie is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) nutritionist, yoga teacher and graphic designer from Austria. She devotes her life to the topics of food, yoga and the health. Her daily practices are focused on loving, learning and experimenting with recipes, the healing effects of different foods and ways to integrate these often complex topics as easily as possible into everyday life. Confucius says: "A doctor who has never been sick himself is not a good doctor". This means that only someone who has experienced sickness himself understands how others are doing. Stephanie has experienced much hardship in life and has decided to spend her life helping others heal. As a nutritionist, she love to share her knowledge and to spice up the old philosophies of TCM and combine them with modern input.

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