Did you know approximately 50% of people will suffer from dizziness, vertigo, or a loss of balance in their lifetime.
Quite often there’s no medical reason or explanation given as to why or how you can fix it.
Here I share Traditional Chinese Medicine 5 element foods to support your body and brain, helping you come back to physical and emotional balance.
The body’s balance system works through a constant process of position detection, feedback and adjustment using communication between the inner ear, eyes, muscles, joints and the brain.
Deep inside the ear, positioned just under the brain, is the inner ear. While one part of the inner ear enables hearing, another part, called the vestibular system, is designed to collect information about the position of the head and the balance of the body. Movement of fluid inside the ear canals caused by head movement stimulates tiny, fine hairs called silica. When these silica sense movement, they transform this mechanical signal into a chemical signal. Chemical signals are what fires the neuron’s in the brain, this is what tells you when you are balanced.
So keeping the ears healthy is essential if we want to remain balanced. In Traditional Chinese Medicine each organ is linked to a season, a colour, an emotion, a flavour, a time of day and much more. This is the 5 element system and it’s really quite easy to follow so you can learn exactly what you need for your body.
The ears, in Chinese Medicine come under the rule of the Kidneys. Even in Western Medicine the ears and the kidneys are connected. Did you know that hearing loss is a potential side effect of Chronic Kidney Disease?
As we age, Kidney energy decreases and we can suffer with tinnitus, hearing loss and poor balance. It is essential to keep kidneys strong with the foods we eat, Qi Gong exercise and acupressure.
Foods that benefit the kidneys, according to the 5 element system are blue black foods such as Nori, Dulse, Wakame and all the family of seaweeds. Dark coloured adzuki, turtle and black beans are also very beneficial. Wheatgrass and Barley-grass with it’s deep dark blue green colour will nourish the kidneys and of course, water. Whilst not technically not blue/black in actual colour, the way in which we depict the image of water, is always blue.
Next, following the 5 element diagram, search out the flavour for the organ. For the kidneys it is salty. Quite often the blue black foods are naturally salty, such as seaweeds and it is the deeply mineral rich food of this flavour that will really nourish the whole kidney system which includes the spine, bones, brain, reproductive organs, hormonal and nervous system. Other foods that are considered salty would include oats and barley. You can find a full list in my 5 element cook books that cover the colours, the foods, emotions, seasons, acupressure points, and energy exercises for each specific organ and system.
One of my favourite recipes for nourishing the kidneys and supporting the bladder, reducing stress incontinence, lessening swelling, eye puffiness and water retention is Barley Water. It can help clear the bacteria that causes urinary tract infections, vaginitis and prostatitis.
If you have experienced stress, joint pain, sleeplessness, or maybe burnt the candle at both ends, then make this drink. Stress is kidney controlled, pumping the body full of adrenaline so that we can go that extra mile. However adrenaline-filled situations create acidic conditions in the body. This Barley water drink can maintain the pH balance in the bodily fluids, although you may also have to address lifestyle issues, as well as food choices, to maintain Yin Yang balance.
Barley is full of potassium and other essential minerals. Potassium levels drop as we age, maintaining healthy levels of this important mineral is key to combating age-related hearing loss and balance issues. The recipe below is one of mine and my many 1000’s of clients favourites, returning to it again and again.
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- 50g barley – pearl or pot barley
- 2 litres water
- 1⁄2 lemon
- Pinch of sea salt
- Pinch of dillisk seaweed (Optional)
Place the barley into a heavy-based saucepan with a good fitting lid. Pour in the water, add the half lemon and pinch of salt. Bring it to the boil and simmer for an hour, make sure the lid is on firmly. After an hour of a slow simmer, use a fine mesh sieve and strain the barley from the water. Using the back of a spoon push on the barley into the mesh to get as much of the white gloopy mixture into the water. This water can be kept in a jug or a bottle in the fridge for about 5 days. Shake or stir the barley water before use as the sediment will fall to the bottom. I usually make a batch from which I take a measure in the morning and in the afternoon. A measure for me would be 1/3 barley water, poured into a mug topped up with 2/3 hot water. You can use agave or honey to sweeten if you like. Its best to drink first thing in the morning, before eating to clear your system. Treat it like medicine because that’s what it is.
Save the cooked barley to use in the following Avocado Salad or in the Chilli Con Barley recipe both found in the Good Food, Better Sex Cookbook.
For more on Body Balance and Brain Health, including acupressure points and Qi Gong exercises to improve Brain and Body Balance watch the online talk