One of the foods I consistently recommend to my patients is oatmeal for breakfast. I know…ugh…boring…you probably already saw about 30 posts about oatmeal bowls on social media this morning already. Or you don’t like oatmeal. Or you don’t eat breakfast. I’m really enthusiastic about oatmeal, though, so I keep talking about it. You can read a lot online about why oatmeal is good for you, but there are also some very interesting reasons from the Chinese medicine perspective.
Please keep in mind that the recommendation is for cooked, fairly plain oatmeal. Not that sugary stuff in the little packets. The best thing to do is buy bulk rolled or steel-cut oats and cook them yourself. You can add a little salt, sweetener, or cooked fruit, but not too much. The idea is to get something nourishing and warm into your stomach first thing in the morning, and this will get you off to a good start.
Chinese medicine considers that each organ has a time of day when it is most effective and strong. For the stomach, this is 7-9am. The stomach likes warm food, and oatmeal is perfect because it is both the correct temperature and consistency. Oats tend to have a warming quality and help to strengthen the pancreas and the nervous system, as well as bones and connective tissue. In Chinese medicine they are considered to build and regulate qi energy. In contrast, foods that we typically eat, such as cold cereal and milk, sugary foods, and greasy foods, prevent the digestive system from doing it’s best job. This can produce phlegm and damp in the body, which slows all the systems down.
What happens when you consistently eat oatmeal for breakfast in the morning? Some things I have noticed with my clients is that they report more energy throughout the day, better digestion, consistent bowels, and feel less likely experience cravings. In addition, some patients have improved sinuses, less congestion, and less coughing.
What do you think? Do you eat oatmeal for breakfast regularly? Have you noticed any positive health changes as a result?