According to the 5-element theory, Winter is the season of "water" element, associated with the organs Kidneys and Bladder (and adrenals), and the color black.
The time of year is at the utmost "yin", the deepest layer, and invites us to care for our deepest organ: the kidneys. The kidneys store our primordial energy, our "Jing" or essence, and are responsible for development and growth, reproductive health, bones and hair. Signs of Kidney deficiency can include hormonal imbalances, premature greying and aging, weak and sore lower back etc.
Consume black-colored foods to reinforce the Jing and preserve your kidneys in the winter!
Black sesame seeds are rich in healthy omega 3 fatty acids, that can lubricate the intestinal walls and help with constipation. The seeds are also rich in fibre, that can improve bowel movements.They are used in Chinese medicine to treat numbness, dizziness or blurred vision due to blood deficiency. It also treats constipation due to blood or fluid deficiency (i.e. dryness of the intestines), and is commonly used to prevent premature graying of hair.
Black garlic (fermented garlic)
Black garlic is obtained after slowly fermenting whole garlic bulbs, for 1-3 months under specific heat and humidity conditions. Through the process, the garlic looses its pungency and strong smell. It turns into a soft, mushy texture that tastes close to figs.
S-Allylcysteine has been shown to assist with the absorption of allicin. This makes Black Garlic much more effective than White Garlic for all the benefits mentioned above and additionally it is well tolerated by the digestive system so the chance of gastric distress is completely minimised.
Kim and collaborators suggested that the total polyphenol and flavonoid of black garlic increase 9.3- and 1.5-folds, respectively, after a program heat schedule as compared with fresh garlic
Nori sea-weed (紫菜）
Essence and Flavor: Sweet, Salty, Cold
Channel Entered: Lung
Resolves phlegm, softens hardness, dispels heat, promotes diuresis
Nori sea weed is an excellent source of iodine, so adding it to your diet at least three times a week can help keep your thyroid in check. The average iodine content of Nori is 37 mcg/g. (25% RDI)
Eating nori may also help reduce cholesterol levels, according to a Japanese study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
Seaweed also contains an amino acid called tyrosine, which is used alongside iodine to make two key hormones that help the thyroid gland do its job properly
Black beans are the "grains of the kidney". Black beans can tonify the kidneys and calm the mind, improve eye sight, clear heat, invigorate blood circulation, reduce swelling and detox.
Black beans contains iron, magnesium, copper manganese and vitamin K which all contribute to building and maintaining bone structure and strength.
Black beans are also high in folate, which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair, thus preventing the formation of cancer cells from mutations in the DNA.