Chinese medicine has a unique perspective on foods that will make you tired, sluggish and drained. In today’s blog, I am going to break down the philosophy behind certain foods and why they make you feel a certain way, as well as reveal tips to improve your digestive health. 

The foods that may make you feel sluggish and drained are types of foods are referred to in Chinese medicine as “Damp Producing Foods”. Dampness is an ancient term that can be explained in more modern terms as digestive waste – the by-products of food that is low in absorbable nutrients. Dampness accumulates in the body and can block the free flow of energy, hence causing tiredness, difficulty concentrating, weight gain and more.

Damp producing foods include:

  1. Foods that are high in sugar
  2. Dairy, especially from a cow
  3. Greasy and oil foods (vegetable oils)
  4. Heavily processed foods
  5. Certain fruits

A good tip would be to try to avoid what I call the 3 whites: sugar, flour and dairy. 

But dampness is not only produced by what you eat, but also by how you eat. Bad eating habits can affect your digestive system, so even if you are eating the right food but you don’t eat the right way, your digestive system will still produce dampness.

These habits include:

  1. Eating quickly and “on the run”
  2. Eating while you’re upset or aggravated
  3. Working hard soon after eating
  4. Eating while reading or watching TV

If you want to avoid food that makes you sluggish and tired, then avoid these damp producing foods and food habits. My advice would be to eat real food, natural food that is not heavily processed, stay away as much as you can from sugar and flour, eat dairy with caution, and enjoy your meal – eat slowly, relaxed and have fun eating.

How can acupuncture support healthier digestive health?

The root causes of many digestive issues are numerous, including poor eating habits, chronic stress, poor sleep, and other lifestyle issues. As a result, Chinese medicine and acupuncture will always treat each patient holistically, and a plan will reflect this approach to digestive health and healthcare in general. 

For example, a female patient with bloating and gas may require 4-6 treatments and dietary changes, while a male patient with similar complaints may require more (or less) treatments and different dietary changes, depending on other symptoms and how overall health is presenting at the time. Also different acupuncture points will always be selected depending on the individual patient – the female patient may require points between the thumb and index finger, and below the knee, as well as on the abdomen. The male patient with similar symptoms may require points above the knee, below the knee and on the back. Even with the same patient, acupuncture points may change treatment to treatment, depending on how their symptoms are presenting and how treatment is progressing through time. 

Acupuncture is a great option to manage and improve digestive symptoms, without medications or adverse side effects. 

Benefits of using acupuncture for digestion include:

  1. Acupuncture addresses the person holistically, all aspects of health are considered when developing a treatment. A person being treated with acupuncture should expect other aspects of their health to improve, such as sleep, mood, pain, etc. 
  2. Studies have shown that acupuncture improves intestinal movement, reducing symptoms of chronic constipation including pain and discomfort. 
  3. Acupuncture is a proven way to reduce nausea and vomiting, including symptoms associated with chemotherapy, early pregnancy or medications that may result in these symptoms. 
  4. Acupuncture can reduce bloating caused by digestive weakness or overeating by helping the digestive process of breaking down foods without the formation of excess gases that can cause bloating.