We usually think of February as the “heart” month, mostly because of Valentine’s Day and the fact that we represent the emotion of love with the heart symbol.
However, it is now June, and in Traditional Chinese medicine, we learn that the heart is stimulated and activated (along with the small intestines) to recycle its energy during the summer months.
These systems correspond to certain physiological and psychological functions. So, when I talk about the heart, I am not talking about the physical organ sitting in your body necessarily, but rather the energetic manifestations of a particular system in the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual realms.
The heart is an incredibly important energy system in Chinese medicine, often said to be the ruler of all the other energy systems. It is related to the fire element, which is the universal energy of summer.
On a physical level, the heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body, just as it is in allopathic medicine. It controls the health and vitality of the blood vessels and also controls sweating, the tongue, and speech. However, perhaps the most important role of the heart, according to Chinese medicine, is that it houses the spirit: our desires, intuition, and vitality–some may say our “zest for life.”
The emotion associated with the heart is joy. Joy is a state of being. You attain joy by keeping happiness and gratitude as your main vibrations. This means that joy nourishes the heart. Keep in mind, however, that excessive joy (known as mania) is a symptom of an imbalance.
The heart represents the very act of being alive – from the physical heart beating in our chests, to the flow of blood through our veins, to our mental ability to stay present and focused, and to our emotional selves being whole and complete. It is the energy of summertime – abundant, hot and lively.
Food becomes the main source of nourishment for the heart.
The heart is nourished through red foods, such as cherries, strawberries, kidney beans, and azuki beans. Being closely associated with the blood, it is also nourished by blood-tonifying foods such as burdock, corn, and dark leafy greens. Red foods have been shown to help the heart biochemically, and since the heart is associated with summertime, think of the abundance of fruits and vegetables available right now, and try to reflect that energy in your food choices.
Another nourishment for the heart is the feeling of connection and relationships. The heart is about celebrating that which you love such as people, places, or ideals. Beauty and ritual also nurture the heart. The best example of a heart-healthy ritual includes coming to monthly Seasonal Cooking Classes. It meets all the qualifications to nurture a healthy heart. You commune with like-minded friends for a healthy cause, to eat beautiful seasonally-appropriate food. Do you like how I did that? 😉
Join us Saturday the 11th to learn what foods Improve Heart Health.
Ever wonder how you can help your heart stay in balance? Well, what you put into your body goes a long way in determining how balanced you are. In this cooking class, I will be teaching about the foods you should consume in order to promote good heart health. I will demonstrate the ease of preparing heart-friendly food and you will be tasting the results.