chinese spring vegetablesTraditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) places great emphasis on wellness, advocating for dietary and habitual adjustments in harmony with the natural shifts of the seasons. Among its most promoted health practices is dietary therapy, which aims to balance yin and yang within the body, thus reducing illness, boosting immunity, and enhancing longevity. The following five vegetables are particularly beneficial during spring, nourishing the body and preventing disease:


1. Bean Sprouts

Bean Sprouts

Ancient Chinese wisdom tells us to “eat sprouts in spring.” Why sprouts? They symbolize vibrant life, and bean sprouts are the most common and accessible type. In spring, some may suffer from dry mouth or cracked lips. Bean sprouts taste delicious and offer numerous benefits. They can clear internal heat (preventing dry mouth and irritability), reduce swelling, eliminate bodily melanin, treat warts, moisturize the skin, and alleviate constipation and digestive issues. They are also beneficial for those with high blood lipids. Both soybean and mung bean sprouts retain and even increase the vitamin content of the original beans, improving mineral absorption and making proteins and carbohydrates more digestible.


TCM believes that consuming bean sprouts at the start of spring regulates the body’s Qi (organ energy) and protects the spleen and stomach.


2. Spinach



Spinach is a cooling food. It aids in blood replenishment and hemostasis. It benefits the organs, promotes blood flow, quenches thirst, lubricates the intestines, supports liver health, and aids digestion. In particular, it relieves stomach discomfort and protects the stomach. Each spring, some people experience headaches, dizziness, or anemia symptoms. From a TCM perspective, consuming spinach can alleviate these conditions.


3. Asparagus Lettuce (Celtuce)

spring Asparagus lettuce

In China, celtuce is also known as a “spring vegetable,” making it one of the most suitable vegetables to consume in spring. Nutritionists have discovered that celtuce is rich in vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and dietary fiber. It contains compounds that combat springtime allergies, as well as alleviating the discomfort caused by allergic rhinitis. Celtuce can be enjoyed in various dishes like cold salads, braised, stir-fried, and even pickles and kimchi, fulfilling diverse dietary needs.


4. Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo shoots are tender and subtly flavored yet nutritionally rich. They offer benefits such as nourishing the body, enriching the blood, dissolving phlegm, aiding digestion, promoting urination, and protecting eyesight. However, they contain insoluble calcium oxalate, which contributes to kidney stone formation. Additionally, improper cooking methods might expose one to cyanide, interfering with cellular hydrogen utilization and potentially harming health. Therefore, bamboo shoots should be consumed in moderation and cooked using scientifically sound methods.


5. Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushroom

Known as the “king of mountain treasures,” shiitake mushrooms have a slightly sweet taste and a gentle nature. They help strengthen the body, protect the spleen and stomach, and dissolve phlegm. Shiitake mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides, which have anti-tumor properties, boost immunity, and lower cholesterol. TCM also views them as helpful in treating fatigue and weakness from chronic illness. Consuming more shiitakes can alleviate fatigue during seasonal transitions. Both dried and fresh shiitake mushrooms are nutritious, though dried ones are more aromatic and suitable for stewing with meats, while fresh mushrooms are better suited to cooking with vegetables. Dried shiitakes should be soaked in warm water at about 70°C for 2-4 hours before cooking.


These five vegetables, recommended by TCM for spring consumption, embody a blend of taste and medicinal benefits, making them ideal for enhancing springtime health and wellness.



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