Benefits of congee
Congee is an ancient remedy in TICM, it is known as a healing porridge. This rice stew is extremely easy on the digestive system and offers the body a sustainable and accessible energy source, perfect for a troubled digestive system.
With just a few ingredients simmered low and slow on the cooker, you can make a delicious and warming meal. This is especially good for breakfast or when someone is not feeling well. Below are some of the valuable benefits of congee.
Hydration: the starchy mixture can stay in the body longer than other types of food and allow the system to absorb liquid at a slower pace. Most Chinese people do not drink water or beverages with their meal but consume a cup of broth or congee. This is a more satisfying level of hydration for your organs.
Collagen boost: chicken stock or bone broth (organic where possible) which is the second key ingredient for congee, has the added benefit of collagen which can aid in intestinal lining restoration, cartilage health, skin health and gut bacteria. For vegetarians, a mushroom broth with seaweed is beneficial, nutritious and delicious. I make my own broths using just salt and coarse black pepper for seasoning as pepper is great for digestion. There is a post up already on how to make.
Gut healing: able to repair intestinal permeability, leaky gut and reduce inflammation.
Removes cold and dampness: warms the digestion which warms the entire body. Adding ginger powder and scallions is a triple threat to push out excess cold and dampness.
Relieves constipation: improves bowel regularity and creates an ideal temperature to push out toxins and waste.
Improves Spleen Qi (energy): harmonises stomach and spleen meridians. Often low Spleen Qi manifests into the following symptoms: bloating, sinus trouble, sinus congestion, water retention, frontal headaches, gas, loose stools or irregular bowel movements, lethargy, grogginess upon rising, brain fog, and easy bruising.
Tonifies Qi (vital energy) and Blood: for those feeling weak and fatigued, congee can give strength and energy by promoting circulation and warming the body.
Lactation: enhances milk production in breastfeeding mothers Postpartum symptoms: many times these symptoms arise from the strain that a new mom as been through and manifest as deficient blood and Qi. Congee helps to nourish spleen Qi and blood which replenish vital substances that were lost.
The simpler your meal is to digest, the less effort is required by your stomach, which means there is more time and efforts dedicated to restoring and healing. Also, proteins, minerals and vitamins will then be able to be absorbed in your system to allow further healing.
You can top your congee with any of the following toppings or eat it plain, depending on your mood. It can be sweet or savory, thick or creamy, the options are endless.
Toppings: ginger powder, fresh ginger, scallions, pickles, mushrooms, goji berries, seaweed, chopped walnuts, tamari, lemon, olive oil, sesame oil, honey, sesame seeds, coconut oil, herbs or absolutely anything you like.