Chinese yam meat balls. [File photo]
Today is Major Cold, the last solar term of the 24 traditional Chinese solar terms. Cold as it is, it also happens to be the beginning of a freezing week as another round of very cold weather is ready to sweep across China starting from tomorrow. What should you eat to stay warm? Are there any eating taboos to help avoid the chilly weathers? Let's hear what Chinese doctors say.
First things first. For staples, you may replace or add to rice or wheaten food starchy foods that are more tonic, like the Chinese yam. It helps strengthen the spleen and reinforce deficiency, and it is best for those who have deficiency in the blood and easily feels tired, says doctor Xia Gongxu from the Nanjing Hospital of Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine.
For the main courses, Dr. Zhang Zhongai from Nan Jing Jinlin said that nutritious food like the carp, chicken and mutton are good choices to beat the cold.
Zhang also warns, however, to avoid the trap of eating high calorie food to beat the cold, as such food may accumulate excessive internal heat, which in turn may makes one irritable and fretful. So, instead of eating fried chickens, it's better to enjoy chicken soup. Stewed mutton is better than mutton kababs.
Angelica with beef soup is a good choice. As it helps enrich the blood and promotes blood circulation. The soup is especially good for menstruating women.
Astragalus with chicken soup. The soup is quite nourishing in several ways. For one, the astragalus may dilate the blood vessels, and thus reduce blood pressure; for another, astragalus cooked with chicken may improve the immune system. The soup is good for the heart and it is especially suitable for those weak people, like the aged, women who just gave birth to babies, and those sweat easily.
Aside from staples and the main courses, you might want to have some soup during these cold days, as cold days are usually accompanied with chilly dry wind. Three soups are recommended as they are conducive to enriching the blood, nourishing the lungs and invigorating the spleen.
Blood enriching porridge. First soak the ingredients: red dates, red beans, black rice, peanuts, rice for 40 minutes, and then boil for ten minutes. You may enjoy the porridge with brown sugar after simmering those ingredients for about 40 minutes. The porridge is especially good for women.