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Kernels of TCM wisdom - NUTS for nutrition

EAT nuts for your heart, brain, and reproductive system - that's where your "innate essence" is stored. Zhang Qian reports that "warm" energy nuts are especially good in cold winter.

Nuts are a well-known health food and traditional Chinese medicine recommends nuts as part of a healthy diet, especially in winter as nuts are hot/warm yang energy foods. Eating nuts when it is cold can help reinforce energy, though eating too many nuts in warm weather can cause excessive internal heat.

Nuts are loaded with vitamins, nutrients, and unsaturated fatty acid and can help promote heart health, reduce cancer risk and fight problems of aging, according to Western medicine.

TCM considers nuts especially good in reinforcing the kidneys (the term for kidneys and the reproductive and urinary systems). Nuts promote brain health, sharp thinking and generally build up health.

All nuts are good for you. Walnuts, almonds and chestnuts are especially popular and part of TCM dietary therapy. Walnuts

Nutrition: Rich in protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. Most of the fat in walnuts is linoleic acid, a nutritious unsaturated fatty acid that helps lower cholesterol and prevent hardening of the arteries. The vitamins B and E and phospholipid in walnuts can help delay cell aging and improve memory. Microelements like calcium, zinc, cooper and chromium are essential for metabolism.

TCM function: Walnuts are a "warm" food that benefits the spleen (the term for the digestive system), reinforces blood and kidney energy, nourishes lungs and benefits spirit (the term for brain function). It is widely used to relieve coughing, frequent urination and poor memory.

The surface of the walnut resembles the crinkled brain surface, so it is believed to benefit the brain. This is based on the ancient theory that eating things that resemble parts of the body can actually benefit that body part.

Walnuts also nourish the skin and help prevent gray hairs, according to "Kaibao Bencao" ("Materia Medica from the Kaibao Era") by Liu Han, TCM doctor in the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

Eating a few walnuts every day as snack is recommended for everyone, but don't eat more than 100 grams, lest it cause indigestion. Eating a few when you feel tired can act as a pick-me-up, relieving fatigue and stress.? Walnut, sesame and he shou wu (fleece flower root) drink

Ingredients: Walnuts (100g), sesame (100g), fleece flower root (50g), honey

Preparation: Grind all ingredients into powder. Mix with honey. Store in sealed jar. Add two tablespoons to boiling water, making a drink or paste.

Dosage: Take frequently.

Function: Reinforces blood, nourishes skin, helps prevent gray hair.? Walnut wine

Ingredients: Five walnuts, sugar (30g), yellow wine (50ml)

Preparation: Mash walnuts and sugar. Cook with yellow wine, gentle heat, for 15 minutes.

Dosage: Eat half in the morning, the rest at night.

Function: Helps reinforce kidney energy and soothe nerves. Helps relieve headache, insomnia, poor memory, and chronic cough.

Tips: "Warm" walnuts are not recommended for people with excessive internal heat. Walnuts' fat may aggravate diarrhea. The brown coating is nutritious and should not be removed. Almonds

Nutrition: Rich in protein, unsaturated fatty acid, sugar, carotene, fiber, vitamins B and C, bioflavonoids, microelements like calcium (twice much as that in milk), iron and selenium. Helps lower cholesterol and reduce cancer risk. The high unsaturated fatty acid and rich fiber can aid in weight loss. Recent research shows that regularly eating sweet almonds can promote microcirculation and thus improve complexion.

TCM function: Nourishing the lungs and relieving constipation are the major uses of "warm" (yang energy) almonds, according to Li Shizhen, pharmacist in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), in his "Compendium of Materia Medica."

Bitter almond is widely used to relieve coughing, asthma, dissolve phlegm and relieve constipation. Sweet almonds are tastier but less effective than bitter almonds.? Almond congee

Ingredients: Sweet almonds (10g), rice (50g)

Preparation: Peel sweet almonds, mash them, make congee.

Dosage: Eat for breakfast.

Function: Helps relieve coughing and asthma. ? Almonds, celery, cucumber and carrot salad

Ingredients: Sweet almonds (50g), celery (100g), cucumber (80g), carrot (20g)

Preparation: Peel almonds, slice celery, cucumber and carrot. Place in boiling water for a few minutes and remove. Dress with oil, salt.

Function: Helps dispel excessive internal heat, lower high blood pressure, coughing and asthma. Chestnuts

Nutrition: Rich in protein, unsaturated fatty acid, carotene, vitamins B1, B2 and C. Fresh chestnuts are richer in vitamin C than tomatoes. They contain microelements like potassium, magnesium and zinc. Eating chestnuts can help prevent common ailments of aging, such as hardening of the arteries and poor memory.

TCM function: "Warm" (yang energy) chestnuts help nourish the stomach and spleen, reinforce kidneys, strengthen tendons, promote blood circulation, reduce bleeding, dispel internal damp and "wind." Widely used to relieve vomiting or diarrhea due to deficient energy in stomach and spleen.

Chestnuts are one of the most recommended foods in winter because of its kidney reinforcing function. According to TCM, one's "innate essence" is stored in the kidneys (the term for kidneys and the reproductive and urinary systems).

Eating chestnuts can also help relieve pain in legs and lower back, treat poor memory and too-frequent urination, a common problem among the elderly.

Tips: Chestnuts are rich in sugar, so they are not recommended for diabetics or anyone trying to lose weight. Don't eat too many, especially after a meal.? Chestnut, jujube and fu ling (tuckahoe) congee

Ingredients: Chestnuts (30g), tuckahoe (12g), 10 jujubes, rice (60g)

Preparation: Peel chestnuts, make congee. Sweeten with sugar.

Function: Helps relieve diarrhea caused by excessive cold in the stomach and spleen.


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