Why do we Crave Certain Flavours?

A healthier you is a happier you and a healthy body always begins with a healthy diet. With the media bringing awareness of health concerns that arise from poor diet, we try our best to abstain from processed, fatty, and greasy foods, or foods with harmful chemicals or additives and opt instead for smoothies and salads as this is implicitly and explicitly acknowledged as the universal definition of a healthy diet that works for everyone. In reality, each body is different and we all have different nutritional needs according to our body’s constitution. Therefore, eating according to your constitution is as important (if not more!) in contributing to a healthier you.

One important aspect of eating is the taste of food and it can be categorized into five flavours: sweet, bitter, sour, spicy and salty. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the intake of certain flavours can help the function of the five organs in your body to balance your health, treat different diseases as well as recover from some acute illnesses.

Functions of the different flavours

Each flavour has a distinct job within the body and is linked with one of five important organs to help the organ function when there are disorders:

Sour flavour (liver) calms the body

Salty flavour (kidney) moves stagnation

Spicy/pungent flavour (metal) expels wind/cold

Sweet flavour (spleen) tonifies the body

Bitter flavour (heart) clears heat

Therefore in TCM, when we crave certain foods especially during special situations involving stress, anxiety, insomnia, and menstrual cycles for females, it is more than just a craving: it is your body giving signs that there are imbalances in your body that needs to be addressed immediately.

Craving Salt? Kidney (Water Energy)

A block in energy flow or lack of energy to the kidneys can result in salt cravings. In TCM, some of the problems related to the kidneys are lower back/knee pain, early grey hair/hair loss, menstruation problem, sexual dysfunction, developmental problems, fatigue etc. Some people believe that we crave foods that are necessary to our bodies, but this is not always not true. If you crave salty foods and indulge in large amounts, your symptoms can actually worsen especially for those who are overweight or have high blood pressure.

What type of food is helpful?: Seafood such as prawns, kelp and seaweed, along with walnuts and goji berries in healthy amounts are all great to incorporate into your diet.

Craving Bitter? Heart (Fire Energy)

Even though bitter cravings are not as common, craving them can actually be a link to your heart health as well as signs of excess heat in the body. Excess heat is related to anger, emotional instability, anxiety, and even insomnia. Ingesting bitter foods can help to relieve fevers, drain dampness, induce bowel movement, improve digestion and fight infections to improve the overall flow of energy in your body. However, people with weak, thin, dry and cold constitutions should take caution and limit their intake of bitter foods.

What type of food is helpful?: Bitter melons or other bitter leafy greens, chard, dandelions, chamomile, alfafa, romaine lettuce and rye all help with this condition.

Craving Sour? Liver (Wood Energy)

In TCM, Our liver is strongly related to our emotions and an imbalance can cause anger/stress/anxiety, resulting in a craving for sour foods. A liver imbalance could also be causing you to crave fried, greasy, fatty foods. Some symptoms of an imbalanced liver energy can be irregular menstrual cycles, depression/anxiety, migraines/headaches, tinnitus , tight muscles etc.

What type of food is helpful?: Tomatoes, oranges, kiwifruits, vinegar can open up the liver qi and help circulation.

Craving Spicy? Lung (Metal Energy)

In TCM, the lungs help to defend against foreign pathogens/invaders/evil which can cause sicknesses in the body. These pathogens can come in physical forms such as bacteria and viruses, or in psychological forms such as grief and anxiety. Individuals who crave spicy food may be at the onset of catching a cold or may hold onto negative thoughts and brood over them, which is why eating spicy and pungent foods during the winter is especially helpful. Spicy food can help get rid of such pathogens and can also help our immune system against sickness.

What type of food is helpful?: Go for spearmint, rosemary, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, anise, pepper, cloves, fennel, spring onions, curry, chilli, and onions.

Craving Sweet? Spleen (Earth Energy)

In TCM, the spleen is one of the most important organs because it helps to filter your blood and plays a key role in the immune system. If you’re craving for sweet things, that means the spleen Qi(energy) is weak or there is some imbalance which may lead to dampness. This can also cause lack of energy, digestion problems like stomach or abdominal bloating especially after eating, irregular bowel movement, low appetite, sinus congestion, heavy and puffy extremities, poor quality sleep, brain fog etc. Since children are at the stage of developing their spleens, they have stronger cravings for sweets. Eating small amounts of healthy sweet foods can help children’s growth and development.

What type of food is helpful?: Cherries, carrots, figs, winter squash, sweet potatoes, nutmeg, yam, brown rice, dates, whole grains, cinnamon etc. (If you have spleen Qi deficiency or dampness, eat hot cooked food instead of cold raw food/salad).

In the same way that each organ has a function in our body’s systems, each flavour also functions in different ways. By having healthy amounts of each flavour, your body can maintain a balance which also helps to prevent future illnesses. So the next time you start craving specific foods, try to see which organ is demanding your attention!

How to deal with restless legs syndrome?

Restless Legs Syndrome is a nerve condition characterised by annoying feelings with the lower limbs with the powerful desire to slowly move the lower limbs, typically experienced when attempting to rest. This odd sensation, typically with the calves, is explained as a kind of cramp, soreness or maybe a creeping, moving sensation. Some liken the feeling to shooting darts of electrical power, or perhaps squirming creatures inside the lower limbs. The feelings range in seriousness from not comfortable to aggravating to painful.

The most distinctive aspect of the condition is always that when lying down and trying to relax triggers the symptoms. Consequently, the majority of people with restless legs syndrome experience difficulty falling asleep as well as staying asleep. If left untreated, the problem can lead to lethargy and also day time low energy.

Those with restless legs syndrome feel unpleasant sensations within their legs, particularly when seated or lying down, together with the hard to resist impulse to move about. Most of these sensations usually take place deep inside the leg, between the knee and ankle joint; more infrequently, they can affect the foot, upper thighs, arms, and even the hands. Although the feelings may occur on only one side of the body, they will most often have an impact on both sides. Because moving the lower limbs relieves the discomfort, people with restless legs syndrome commonly keep their lower limbs moving to lower or stop the sensations. They may pace the floor, constantly moving their lower limbs when sitting, and move about in bed.

Most of the affected individuals find the sensations of restless legs syndrome to generally be significantly less obvious throughout the day and much more evident later in the day or during the night, particularly in the course of the onset of sleep. For some people, the symptoms disappear by early morning, allowing for more refreshing sleep at that time. Other triggering situations are periods of inactivity such as long car trips, sitting in a movie theatre, long-distance flights, immobilisation in a cast, or relaxation exercises.

What’s causing it is unidentified but people with a family background of restless legs syndrome comprise somewhere around 50% of the cases, and those with lower iron levels or anaemia, chronic illnesses such as kidney failure, all forms of diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and peripheral neuropathy, some women that are pregnant in their final trimester and individuals using certain drugs are most often more prone to to be affected by restless legs syndrome.

Restless legs syndrome may affect anyone of all ages, even though the problem is more prevalent with advancing age. It occurs in both genders, while the frequency can be marginally higher in women. From time to time those with this will encounter spontaneous improvement over a duration of weeks or months. Although rare, spontaneous improvement after a number of years could also take place. Whenever these improvements come about, in most cases during the first stages of the disorder. Normally, however, sensations become more intense over time.

Typically the clinical diagnosis of restless legs syndrome is tricky to arrive at. Doctors usually depend generally on patients’ descriptions of the sensations and details using their medical history, which includes earlier health concerns, family history, and also present medicines. Patients can be asked about frequency, duration, and also the level of the symptoms in addition to their inclination to daytime sleep activities and sleepiness, interference of sleep, or daytime functionality. If a patient’s background is suggestive of restless legs syndrome, lab studies can be conducted to rule out other concerns and confirm the conclusion restless legs syndrome. Blood testing, studies to determine electrical activity in the muscles as well as the nerves, and Doppler assessments in order to measure muscle signals with the lower limbs may well be recommended. Such tests are able to find any associated injury or disorder in nerves and neural roots or some other leg-related movement problems.

How important is zinc to our bodies?

Zinc is a chemical element having the symbol of Zn. It is also a key micro-nutrient for us in which zinc plays critical functions in the growth of tissue and many other physiological processes. Zinc is needed for as a element of in excess of 200 enzymes. Receiving sufficient zinc can be significant to health because of this. Of most significance would be the part that it takes on in the strong purpose of the immunity mechanism as well as in wound recovery. There is no doubt that zinc is significant for normal function as well as health and well-being. The key diet sources of zinc consist of meat, liver, eggs, oysters, peanuts, fowl, whole grains, almonds and also pumpkin seeds.

A deficiency of zinc is uncommon in developed countries. There are a lot of medical disorders associated with a deficit of zinc, for example long-term fatigue, a growth retardation, cirrhosis, hypogonadism, skin rash, alopecia, diarrhea, eye and also lesions on the skin, weakened immune functions as well as impotence.

Before purchasing zinc supplements, it could probably going to be important to decide if there is a insufficiency in zinc first. Many alternative health practitioners utilize the Zinc Taste Test they will state enables you to analyze for a zinc lack. The clinical evidence on this taste test is obvious and it is not valid and certainly not reliable, so is totally worthless to determine if there really is a zinc deficiency. The only way to detect whether someone is lacking in zinc is by a blood evaluation.

Should a person consider zinc dietary supplements? Like any supplement, they are really a complete waste of money if you have no deficit. Our bodies just gets rid of the zinc which is consumed which it does not need. There is nothing that excessive zinc can do to boost something, and it will just be flushed in the urine. You can’t boost the body’s immune system as well as other body functions if you take zinc dietary supplements if your zinc quantities are normal. This is among the large myths advertised by the dietary supplement market for financial gain. Zinc insufficiency is really uncommon in developed countries, and so the odds of anyone with a lack of zinc is pretty low. Zinc insufficiency may affect around 20% of people throughout developing countries. When you are concerned about it, then eating food items including meat and eggs which are rich in zinc might be all you have to do. You can also find hazards in consuming too much zinc. Along with the economic price of purchasing supplements that you don’t need to have, too much intake of zinc depresses copper and iron absorption and this has consequences with the bodily processes those elements are involved in. Ironically, we must have zinc for a healthy immune system response, yet excessive zinc could suppress the immune reaction. Taking excess zinc isn’t going to enhance the immune system. That is one more misconception promoted by the supplement business. Zinc health supplements may also result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and an distressing metal taste in the mouth.