Winter is associated with the element of water and influences the health of the kidneys, bladder, endocrine glands (including adrenals), bones (including bone marrow) and teeth. The energetic kidneys are the primary source of vitality, energy and heat, as well as vital essence. Energy is drawn from this source during times of stress and anxiety, or when the body requires healing. Winter is inactive, cold, and damp in nature; it reflects emotions of fear, feeling unsupported, and joylessness. Excess emotions can cause disharmonies of the kidney.
It is also important to avoid too many raw foods during winter because they tend to cool the body and can deplete our digestive “fire,” which is the ability to assimilate food efficiently. One way we can be sure to keep stomach and kidney energy burning is by eating warming foods while cooking them longer, at lower temperatures, and with less water. Emphasize on soups and stews, root vegetables, dark leafy greens, kidney and black beans, walnuts, black sesame seeds, whole grains, and seaweeds. These specific foods help fortify the kidneys, uplift emotions, nourish the body, keep you warm, and help you conserve energy.
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