Food is not just something that we eat for survival—food is meant to be enjoyed and savored. But even more than a tasty meal, different types of foods provide an array of healing benefits. Nuts are one category of healing food. Aside from their crunchy, salty bite—good as a party snack, and filling when you just need a tasty treat—each type of nut carries its own energy, and is therefore prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat and prevent many ailments.
Check out the following nuts and their properties, as described in the Eating for Healing portion of our Dragon’s Way® program. And remember to toast any nuts before eating them or cooking with them. This makes the nuts easier to digest, therefore conserving your Qi for healing.
Walnuts and pine nuts (pinole nuts) have a very strong kind of energy essence that other nuts cannot match. They are especially effective for strengthening and increasing your Kidney Qi. Used in TCM as herbs and as food, the warm essence of walnuts also helps heal the Large Intestine, and improve Lung problems, constipation and memory. Can you see why? Just look at their shape! Walnuts look like tiny brains. The most valuable part of the walnut is the “screen” between the two halves. It has a lot of energy that can be used to strengthen your Kidney function. Some people make a tea out of them.
Peanuts help improve Spleen and Stomach function and are excellent for helping increase the volume of blood in your body. Munching on peanuts can also help lactating women increase their milk production. Stay organic and avoid the super-salty kind.
Almonds are known for their ability to boost Lung function. In Western society, sweet almonds are common, but TCM prescribes a different type of almond with even greater healing benefit—bitter almond. This smaller almond helps the Lung relieve any type of cough.
Sesame seeds are placed into the same category as nuts in The Dragon’s Way. Black sesame seeds are good for strengthening Kidney Qi, while white sesame seeds help improve Lung function. Both types of seeds can help prevent hair loss and constipation.
Now that you’ve learned a bit about nuts, try this tasty recipe. It combines almond and pine nuts for a healthy, satisfying treat!
1 lb canned almond paste
1 1/2 cups sugar (raw or granulated)
3 egg whites
2 cups toasted pinoles (pine nuts)
Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Crumble the almond paste with a hand blender. Add the sugar a little bit at a time, until the mixture resembles small crumbles. Slowly blend in the egg whites. The mixture will be sticky.
Place the pine nuts on a flat plate. Using a teaspoon, form the mixture into a small ball. Roll the dough in the pinoles until it is covered. Repeat until all of the mixture is formed into balls and is covered with pinole nuts. Place each cookie on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes.
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