The spleen is yet another important organ in your body's system, serving many purposes from aiding in digestion to producing chemicals that destroy and recycle old blood cells.
If you have serious blood loss, the spleen will even act as your personal blood bank
In Chinese Medicine, the spleen is considered a central or key figure in the body, responsible for providing the nourishment which supports all aspects of healthy functioning as well as the mental or thinking process of the mind and how we digest information and allow it to nourish us.
You can nourish and strengthen your spleen
1. Always chewing your food thoroughly to make it softer and easier for the body to digest and mix with your saliva. That old adage of chewing each bite thirty times is just as important as ever, helping the spleen to both digest and warm chilled or raw food. We can also assist the spleen by sitting in a relaxed way as sitting slumped or twisted will compress the digestive organs and hinder digestion.
2. Avoid overeating so that your body has a generous amount of time to digest. Over time, overeating can weaken the spleen as well as other digestive organs.
3. Change to healthy, living whole foods with an equal mix of meat, diary, fruits and grains but a extra load of vegetables. Leafy greens and root vegetables such as sweet potatoes are extra nourishing for your spleen. Carrots, rice, barley, squash, pumpkin, parsnips, apples, ginger, garlic and cardamom are further nurturing foods for the spleen. Having fruit first thing in the morning is a great way to nourish the spleen and get your digestive fire started to make sure your body is running efficiently the rest of the day.
4. The spleen likes the "comfort" feeling after eating. Being homely and generous gives the spleen a feel-good factor and generates the feeling of abundance and care. In Chinese medicine the spleen is said to be nourished by sweet food. Not sugar of course but rather the deep sweet taste of grains or root vegetables as in a good old fashioned rice pudding or pumpkin soup. Well-cooked food such as thick soups or stews are easier on the digestion - the weaker the spleen, the more it benefits from well-cooked meals.
5. The spleen also dislikes being flooded out with liquid so rather drink only a little fluid with meals with the majority of your fluid intake between meals. It is helpful to separate fruit and sweetened foods from the main meal, eating them instead as between meal snacks to help the spleen to sift and sort while reducing digestive fermentation.
6. Your spleen dislikes food and beverages that are too cold. Your digestive system uses extra energy to heat such food and drink, taking away valuable energy which could be used to digest. If you want to eat or drink something cold, having a cup of warm tea beforehand will help.
7. The spleen is involved in blood production so exercise is vital as without it, poor quality blood results and weight problems could follow. Abdominal muscle strengthening exercises are essential to keep the spleen functioning well. You will find that a gentle regime of sit ups and thigh toning squats (as the spleen meridian runs up the legs) will benefit your spleen.
If your spleen is not functioning as it should, you may show these symptoms
If the spleen is not working optimally, it can lead to a number of health problems including obesity, bloating, muscle weakness, loose stools and constipation.
- Weakness in the arms and legs or heaviness in the four limbs
- Sallow complexion
- Loose stools
- Low appetite
- Stuffy feeling in chest or epigastrium
- Brain fog