Staying healthy

  • Lifestyle
  • Friday, 23 Feb 2007

WE WELCOMED the last animal in the Chinese 12-year zodiac cycle, the Boar, on Feb 18. The Boar, ruled by the water element, is usually thought of as a laidback and easy-going type but, because the ruling element for 2007 is Fire, the usually placid Boar becomes more aggressive and tumultuous.  

The Fire or Red Boar symbolises the elements of Fire sitting over Water. Because these elements are in conflict, many predict the year ahead to bring about a lot of changes and bigger challenges, including pressing financial issues, trouble at work and more worries at home caused by delinquency problems and arguments that threaten to break up families.  

Avoid too much red meat (pic above), which has ‘yang’ properties, and instead balance the fire element within by consuming more vegetables (pic below), especially dark greenones.

Overall, the year of the Red Boar is said to be a good year for those born in the year of the Sheep and Rabbit. Those born in the year of the Snake and Horse should be prepared for a difficult year but, instead of lying low, the Red Boar’s inner strength and persistent nature means that the year can be rewarding for those who are up for the challenge.  

Health wise, this year continues to be fire-ruled so those with heart problems, high blood pressure, weak kidneys or liver should take precautions. Many will be more vulnerable to digestive problems and heat-related ailments as well. There is no need to fret because you can make minor dietary changes to counter-balance these effects, and stay fit and healthy. 

Although feng shui and food are not directly related, foods are thought to have either “yang” (warm properties, i.e. increasing the body’s metabolic rate) or “yin” (cooling properties which, if taken in excess, can lead to a drop in internal temperature and metabolic rate). It is popularly believed that you can look after your health by choosing the right types of food to maintain a balance between the “yin” and “yang” properties in our bodies. 

Keep heat-related ailments at bay by drinking enough water to keep your body sufficiently hydrated. Avoid consuming too much red meat or food with high salt content; salt has excessive “yang”. Those born in the year of the Rat, Horse and Dragon have high “yang” polarity and should be extra careful in this area. Try to include more fish, beans and seaweed in your diet as these foods are rich in Omega-3 acids and will maintain balance of the water “chi” within.  

To prevent indigestion, diarrhoea or constipation, eating regularly is very important. Consuming more wheat and fibrous food will bring long-term health benefits in improving the overall digestive system. When snacking, you should eat biscuits or crackers that are baked rather than fried snacks, and select those that have low fat content and are rich in minerals. If you wish to balance the fire element within at the same time, choose dark green vegetables like spinach, broccoli or bok choy, which are rich in antioxidants. 

The Boar loves to indulge in rich foods and this can compromise your health. Take extra steps to watch what you eat. The food pyramid is commonly and effectively used to explain the requirements for a healthy and well balanced diet, emphasising the need to consume more food rich in fibre and to minimise intake of food rich in sugar. Increased intake of wheat cereal products is linked to a lower risk of certain types of diabetes and even gallstones. 

Meditative exercises such as yoga and tai chi are said to help the energies within our bodies flow in harmony and greater balance. It is not a bad idea to include these into your exercise regime as the practice of these exercises are calming and are believed to reduce the impact of the conflicting energies of fire and water. They are also a great way to stay healthy and fit all year long. 

The year of the Red Boar is expected to be a busy one for many of us. Try not to skip meals and, on days that you are unable to have your meals on time, it is good to snack on food like high-fibre, low-fat biscuits or crackers; have them ready by your worktable. Munching on nutritious biscuits and crackers packed with wheat cereal instead of processed, high-sugar food can also keep your organs working efficiently and prevent unnecessary digestive problems. Look out for those that are low in salt content and opt for snacks that are baked rather than fried. 

Whether you are more inclined towards Western or oriental customs, a balanced diet and regular exercise are the two essential keys to a healthier lifestyle. The bottom line: practise moderation and balance in our lifestyle. So stay healthy and active to enjoy this exciting year! – Article courtesy of Jacob’s

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