Xiao Han (小寒) Solar Terms – Diet and General Wellness Guidelines

We are into the Xiao Han (小寒) solar terms (节气) starting from 05 Jan to 19 Jan 2024. Xiao Han is the 23rd Solar Term out of the entire 24.

Traditionally, the temperature is the lowest during the Xiao Han solar term (even lower than the next solar term, Da Han(大寒)) most of the time.

I still remember on 14 Jan 2018 (Xiao Han), it was one of the coolest days recorded in Singapore (about 21 degrees Celsius). Looking forward to this year’s cooling days during this solar term.

As the saying goes, “人到小寒衣满身,牛到大寒草满栏”. It means that people should wear a lot of clothes (depending on where you are living) during this Xiao Han solar term because of the cold/cooling temperature.

During this Xiao Han solar term, we should increase the intake of the following foods that have a warm thermal nature or black in color (for alignment with the kidneys in this solar term):

Chinese Chestnuts – 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 – 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.

Black sesame – Black sesame can also be used for relieving constipation on top of its kidney and liver-strengthening properties. An easy way of eating black sesame is to apply the black sesame paste to the bread for breakfast.

Deer meat – Deer meat has a strong property of strengthening the kidney yang energy (肾阳) so it is a good food addition for people who have cold palms and feet during this solar term (or any other solar term) due to yang deficiency in the kidneys.

Nowadays, it is very convenient to eat snacks like walnuts and Chinese chestnuts as they mostly come in easy-to-eat packages. Do give it a try to eat them during tea-break in the following days!

General Wellness Recommendation

As we are into possibly the coldest solar term of all, I highly recommend you keep your feet warm when you sleep by wearing socks. This will make your body more resistant to the environmental chill qi (寒邪).

For people who have running nose (or sinus) almost every morning, you may want to try putting on a fabric mask before you head out for work in the morning. By keeping the air you breathe in warm, it will also help to stop the running nose.

Remember to keep yourself warm by wearing more clothes especially if you know you will be outdoors or in a cold environment most of the time.

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