We’ve been focused on health, or the lack of health, for many months. There’s another issue we all deal with that can be countered with proactive habits — overwhelm. Have you ever considered that food can influence your level of overwhelm?
We’ve all experienced a range of feelings – fear, anxiety, overwhelm, anger – in recent months. For the overwhelm that comes with daily life, there are many resources. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the kidneys are the body’s central source of yin and yang.
When our kidneys aren’t functioning optimally, other health problems, including overwhelm or anxiety, can arise. The world we live in today takes a significant toll on our kidneys, whether we know it or not. These issues can be small enough to go undiagnosed by doctors but can have a substantial impact on he rest of our bodies.
Your Adrenals & Kidneys
Factors such as stress, poor sleep quality, alcohol, and environmental toxins can be extremely taxing on the kidneys. Chinese Medicine views the adrenal glands and the kidneys as the same organ. The adrenals are two glands located on top of your kidneys. They are responsible for the production and regulation of essential hormones, including those involved in the stress response. When the adrenal glands become overworked, through too much stress, lack of sleep, or other factors, they are unable to function normally. This can lead to numerous symptoms, including insomnia, digestive problems, weak immune function, and especially anxiety.
Thus, by supporting the kidneys through specific foods nourish the function of the adrenal glands, you can ease some of these symptoms. Eating foods like tangerines, plums, grapes, grains such as amaranth, rye, oats, and barley, celery, asparagus, cabbage, and black beans nourish your kidneys.
Are Your Kidneys Balanced In Yin & Yang?
Further following Chinese Medicine, it is beneficial to know whether your kidneys are deficient in the yin or yang. The yin is responsible for cooling and hydrating the body. If they are yin deficient, you might experience symptoms such as insomnia, night sweats, dry skin, eyes, and mouth, and brittle hair. Chlorella is exceptionally beneficial for increasing the kidneys’ yin and is best taken on an empty stomach.
Spirulina, another type of algae, also works well. It would be best if you also were eating carrots, grapefruit, celery, cucumber, blueberries, kidney beans, and watermelon. These are considered ‘cooling’ foods that will help increase your yin.
Yang, on the other hand, is related to stimulating and warming your body. If your kidneys are deficient in yang, you might experience diarrhea, lower back pain, fatigue, and feeling cold, often seeming worse in the morning. If you are experiencing these, eat “warming” foods such as cinnamon, ginger, cloves, walnuts, quinoa, and black beans. Avoid iced drinks and raw foods and limit your fruit intake as these are all considered ‘cooling’ foods that will contribute to your yin-yang imbalance.
Aside from foods to help stimulate balanced kidney function, meditation can help in combating daily overwhelm. Is this is new for you, apps such as Headspace or Calm can help you fit meditation into your schedule in just a few minutes per day. Prioritizing time to clear your mind can transform your entire day.
Trying “cooling” or “warming” foods? I’d love to hear about your experience and what you notice.