Oriental Dietary Therapy To Reduce Accumulation of Internal Dampness

Foods to Avoid or Limit to Occasional Treats

  • All dairy products- milk, cheese, yoghurt, ice cream, butter, chocolate, some dips, biscuits etc.
  • Oily, greasy, sticky natured foods, including fatty meat.
  • Spicy, heating foods.
  • Excessively sweet or salty flavoured foods. Many tinned and processed products contain high levels of salt and sugar. Licorice and licorice root promote water retention and are specifically contraindicated for high blood pressure. Remember honey, fruit juices and dried fruits are high in fructose and spike blood sugar quickly.
  • Dry or heavy foods difficult to digest, including nuts and snack foods such as chips, crackers.
  • Yeast and associated products (eg. yeasted breads, vegemite, marmite, promite).
  • Wheat if possible, as it has a damp and sticky nature in the body. Some health food stores stock sourdough millet or rye breads, which may be ok if can be digested well.
  • Lettuce, cucumber, cabbage and capsicum may contribute to water retention.

Foods to Focus on

  • Grains: Millet, Pearl barley, Barley, Rye, Buckwheat, Amaranth. Soak grains overnight to aid digestion (use wholegrains where possible).
  • Teas: Barley/chicory coffee substitutes (Caro, Ecco, Nature’s Cuppa) are bitter and damp draining. Green tea. Dandelion tea. A major Chinese herb is cornsilk tea… simmer the silk form inside corn husk and drink the decoction as a tea.              *Diuretic, so not too close to bed-time.                                                                                    *Corn contraindicated for diabetics due to sweetness, but the silk is therapeutic.
  • Proteins: Marrow bones, lean lamb, fish, chicken, adzuki beans, broad beans, black beans and kidney beans. Soak almonds, brazil nuts, pecans and walnuts to soften and activate them. Chicken broth!!
  • Spices and Herbs: Cardamon and citrus zest lift a meal and aid digestion. Basil, thyme and fennel harmonize digestion.
  • Vegetables: Eggplant moves blood and fluids stagnating in lower abdomen and uterus (good post-partum or post-menstrually). Celery and watercress are diuretic. Pumpkin and carrot are good base vegetables to gently warm digestion and satisfy the stomach and spleen. All green leafy veg is great in abundance. Beetroot is a blood tonic. Broccoli and green beans are nourishing. Steam, stir fry or sauté veggies where possible. Raw salads are cold and dampening … difficult to digest, so best to eat warm foods that have been cooked and softened.


It is also important to eat in a relaxed way, have gratitude and respect for the nourishment of food, eat food warm or at room temp and have 3 regular meals daily.  

Eat, drink and be merry!

Fiona D’Elboux (BHSc, Acupuncture)

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