Improve digestion with sweet foods
Our Spleen, Stomach and Pancreas is nourished by comfort foods that have a sweet essence. This differs from the foods that pop into our mind when we think of the word sweet though. Foods such as root vegetables have a sweet essence that is completely nourishing for the digestive organs named. Processed sugar, however, further depletes Spleen energy, and is not what we aim for when we think of sweet.
Our Spleen and Stomach correlate to the Earth element in TICM. Foods grown in the Earth, in soil, provide grounding and balancing for the body and mind. If you ever feel anxious try eating a sweet potato or any root vegetable and you may notice that you feel more calm and centred after.
Sweet foods are actually the largest category of foods and can be found all year long. Think of whole grains, root vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips, potatoes; squashes like pumpkin, butternut, delicata, hubbard, turban, acorn, spaghetti, beans and legumes, nuts and meats (organic, grass fed, wild caught). For fruits, choose seasonal fruit local to your environment, eaten as a whole with its fibre, avoiding fruit juices. But do limit fruit intake and avoid during cold days as well as winter time. The fructose content in the fruits can actually end up damaging the digestive system.
The Spleen is also energised by foods that are warm in temperature. Imagine the digestive system as a cauldron, always liking to be fuelled by fire. Over consumption of cold foods, raw foods, cold drinks put out this fire. When food is even only lightly cooked, the Stomach and Spleen do not have to work as hard to break it down and use their Qi (vital energy).
Warming spices are a great way to boost digestive function. That is why the Spleen loves ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, turmeric.