Da Han (大寒) Solar Terms – Diet and General Wellness Guidelines

We are into the Da Han (大寒) solar terms (节气) starting from 20 Jan to 03 Feb 2024. Da Han is the 24th Solar Term (the last) out of the entire 24.

After this solar term, we will start all over again from the Spring season!

Although Da Han is not the coldest solar term (traditionally), but it is still cold/cooling compared to other solar terms.

As the saying goes “大寒大寒,防风御寒” – this means that we should protect ourselves from the chilly wind and cold. 

As Da Han also starts to bring in stronger and chiller winds, people who have a qi/yang deficient body type will find their body weak or uncomfortable if they do not wear enough clothes to protect themselves from the wind/cold.

In this Da Han solar term, our dietary approach should be following the direction of 保阴潜阳. This means to nourish the yin energy in our body to achieve a balance with the yang energy.

The following are the foods that are suitable to be consumed in this solar term:

Goji Berries – Not only can Goji berries strengthen the kidneys, but they can also help to strengthen the liver. In TCM, the liver affects one’s eyesight, thus, goji berries have been proven to help strengthen and protect eyes from weakening and diseases. Goji berries are one of the best foods/herbs to nourish yin.

Black Beans – Black beans are an ideal food for people with weak kidneys and spleen. They have the additional benefits of dispersing blood clots and improving blood circulation. It can be added to rice and cooked together or added to any soup (especially soups that enhance blood circulation).

Chinese Chestnut – Known as 栗子. It not only strengthens kidney qi, but it also helps to strengthen the spleen. Nowadays there are Chinese chestnut snacks available that you can eat immediately after opening the packaging.

Walnuts – One of the best solar terms to eat walnuts. Helps to boost kidney qi. It can also help to relieve back pain and knee pain. Walnuts are easily available and can be consumed as snacks.

One Of The Best Solar Terms To Eat Porridge

Da Han is one of the best solar terms to eat porridge and the following is a simple recipe for Chinese Chestnut porridge that you can try:

Ingredients (for 2 pax):

  • Dried longan (10g)
  • Red dates (3 to 5 pcs)
  • Chinese chestnut (100g)
  • Rice – feel free to add some mixed grains too (1 cup)

Steps:

  1. Wash and rinse the dried longan.
  2. Remove the seeds inside the red dates and cut it into small slices.
  3. Wash the rice and bring it to boil. Note: You will need quite a bit of water here because we are cooking porridge. For me, I add as many as up to 6 cups of water to 1 cup of rice.
  4. Once the rice starts to boil, put in dried longan, red dates and chinese chestnut (I use those instant snacks ones so it needs minimum cooking). Wait till it boils again then bring the fire to smallest and let it simmer for 15 to 20 mins. Then it is ready to eat!
  5. As I am using thermal cooker, I only let it simmer for 4min then remove from heat and put inside the thermal pot and let it retain the heat for one hour before eating. I find that using thermal cooker is very gas efficient, instead of having the need to simmer on fire for 15 to 20min, I just need to let it sit inside the thermal pot for an hour. And thermal cooker does not require any electricity or fire to work!

General Wellness Recommendation

This is the last solar term of the year to wake up a bit later (if possible). Avoid heading out too early (before the sun rises) to exercise as it will increase the chance of your lungs being exposed to cold air. If the morning sky is still dark, you can do some light exercise indoors instead.

If the morning is sunny, then it is a good chance to go jogging or brisk walking. This will liven your mood and spirits as well. 

Remember to keep yourself warm especially if you know you will be heading outdoors or to colder places.

Have a healthy Da Han solar term!

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