Humidity Helpers

A little natural help for hot and humid days.

Do you find it hard to get moving, think straight or find yourself swelling so much that you feel like an overstuffed sausage on humid days? If you your joints scream out every time a weather shift comes you’re not alone…and there’s a reason for it!

Why is it that some people seem to fly though the damp days of summer with loads of energy and feeling great, where others get hit hard? The answer lies in our body ‘type’ or internal pattern according to Chinese Medicine (TCM) Theory.

In TCM we describe this waterlogged state as internal Dampness. And, just like the way, when you soak something in water overtime, it swells, he same is true for people. People who have what we’d term a damp pattern tend to retain water easily, swell and bloat with humidity and may find certain ailments (sore knees or low back, headaches or a feeling of foggy headedness or congestion) all get worse in the humid weather or in damp environments (think damp and musty basement or a rainy city like Vancouver or Seattle).

Dampness can be caused by a few patterns in the body – not enough heat (just think desert compared to wet lands…the main element missing is the sun/heat), or sometimes a diet, environment or lifestyle that has too much moisture in it will contribute to the imbalance.

Luckily, there are lots of little things that you can do to help bring balance back to your body and lessen some of the damp symptoms you are experiencing. Little things make a huge difference over time, so keep at it and the next time we’re having a wet spell, your body will be better able to handle it.

Here are a few signs and symptoms of Internal Dampness:

  • Heavy feeling in limbs or body, mucus or sinus congestion,

  • Heavy or foggy headed (like there’s a wet towel wrapped around it), Achy puffy joints,

  • Loose bowels or fatigue after meals

  • Chronic candida or fungal infections, or prone to yeast infections or vaginal itching

  • Trouble losing weight, thirst with very little desire to drink

  • Easily retain water – oedema or swellings (e.g. I have difficulty taking my rings off or often have indentations from your socks), limbs often feel heavy and tired, Cloudy urine, bruise easily, sticky taste in my mouth, craves sweets,

  • Worry, fret or over think. A lot.

  • Prone to cysts or lumps (including some fibroids, lymph-nodes, swelling, lipomas, cysts, PCOS, polyps)

  • Tongue often feels swollen or ‘big’ in your mouth. There are teeth-marks or scalloped edges on the sides of your tongue

What to do

Diet can have a significant impact on this damp state. By choosing foods that are more drying in nature and avoiding those which are moistening or damp, one is able to mitigate this damp state.

  • Eat foods lower on the glycemic index to help stabilized blood sugar levels (low sugared and avoid processed foods)

  • Include job’s tears or barley in your diet regularly (it helps to rid the body of excess moisture)

  • Green tea (add ginger if you run on the cold side)

  • Warm foods and spices (if you’re a cold and damp mix)

  • Dry roasted or slow roasted foods can be helpful

  • Spices: caraway, celery, coriander, horseradish, marjoram, parsley, add warming spices such as white pepper, dried ginger, fennel etc. if you’re on the cold-damp side,

  • Bitter foods help the body with ‘damp’ conditions: rapini, romaine, kohlrabi, rye etc.

  • Teas: Chamomile, barley, hawthorn or fennel, are helpful for digestion

  • Vegetables: turnip, daikon radish, celery, lettuce, pumpkin, scallion, alfalfa, kohlrabi, asparagus

  • Grains: amaranth, rye, job’s tears, barley

  • Include more bitter and pungent flavours in your diet (bitter greens (dandelion, rapini, romaine, rye, radish, turnip, onion family etc.)

  • Include more bitter and pungent flavours in your diet (bitter greens (dandelion, rapini, romaine, rye, radish, turnip, onion family etc.)

  • Lemon and lime

  • Umeboshi plum

Foods to Avoid:

  • Dairy products – if you have any goats or sheep milk products are easier to absorb than cow’s

  • Avoid overconsumption of fluids (including water at meals). Opt more for a warm broth or sipping on a small amount of water. Thirst should dictate water consumption in the day, not what you think you ‘should’ drink. If your pee is clear/light coloured, you’re hydrated!

  • Sugar and sweeteners in general (if you need something sweet, opt for natural sweeteners like maple syrup or raw honey which helps to rid the body of excess dampness (in small amounts)

  • Avoid raw, cold or frozen foods

  • Avoid ice cream!! Cold, damp and sweet – triple threat!

  • Limit or avoid wheat products – damp types tend to react worse than others to wheat and often gluten products

  • Heavy cream, fried or greasy foods

  • Processed foods

  • Avoid over consumption of animal products, eggs and fats and oily nuts

  • Avoid soy and soy products

  • Fermented/yeasty products if you’re prone to yeast/candida (beer, bread, soy sauce, wine, vinegar, mushrooms, blue cheese)