Damp and Traditional Chinese Medical Nutrition

Nutritional Sheet for Damp & Phlegm

According to the nutritional theory of  Traditional  Chinese  Medicine,  Dampness  and  Phlegm  are created  when  there is disharmony or dysfunction in digestion  and  fluid metabolism.

Because of the intimate relationship between these Damp and Phlegm and the digestion, food is viewed as an important contributing factor in both cause and treatment. In addition to internal causes, certain foods contribute towards the disharmony and other foods are recommended to harmonise the states of Damp and Phlegm.

To improve digestion,  it  is  recommended to  consume  fresh  foods  that  are  slightly  cooked. Food  that  is  prepared  simply, helps  to  preserve essential  nutrients  and  are more  readily  digested  and  absorbed.  In general, it is suggested to eat  smaller  meals  more  frequently,  sitting down while eating, to relax while eating, to increase enjoyment of  meals  while eating  and  chewing  thoroughly  to  savour  flavours.

30  –  40%  of  meals  should  consist  of   complex  carbohydrates,  especially  rice,  rye,  barley  and millet.  40  –  50%  of  the  diet  should  be  comprised  of  cooked  vegetables  and  proteins  should  comprise  only  about  10%  of  the  diet.

Pungent  flavours  including  onion,  garlic,  turnip,  ginger,  mint  and  basil  are  beneficial  in  dispersing  congested  fluids such as Damp and mucus,  while  overly  rich,  oily  or  heavy  foods  should  be  avoided  because  they  can  overwhelm  the  digestive  system.  Cold  foods  such  as  raw  fruits  and  vegetables,  tofu,  and  ice  cream  should  also  be  avoided  since  they  will  slow  down  the  digestion  process  and  make  the  body  work  harder.

Below is a list of recommended foods.  You should not limit your diet to only these foods.  Instead follow the guidelines above of the optimum ratios of carbohydrates, vegetables and proteins, and add the recommended foods from the list below within your meals.  Wherever possible choose organically grown foods.

Specific beneficial foods for Dampness and Phlegm: cooked whole grains – esp. rice, toasted  oats,  barley, rye, millet, buckwheat, sourdough breads, asparagus, cucumber, celery, pumpkin, squash, carrots, corn, parsnips, peas, onions, shallots, leeks, garlic, turnip, radish,  mustard greens, chrysanthemum leaves, day lily bulbs, water chestnuts, mushrooms including oyster & shitake adzuki  beans,  chick  peas, black  beans, kidney  beans, fava  beans,  cowpeas chicken, Chinese black chicken, quail, lean meats, goose, rabbit, frog, clam,  seaweeds, mackerel, tuna, anchovy, perch, eel, catfish, crab, oyster black pepper, fresh  ginger, mustard, nutmeg, cloves, cardamon,  nutmeg,  thyme,  basil,  fennel,  horseradish,  chilli peppers, jasmine, rose, rice syrup, barley malt, dates, figs, sugar cane,  stewed  fruit-  esp. pears, persimmons, kumquats, grapefruit, cherries

Foods to restrict or avoid: salads, raw fruits, citrus, wheat, sprouts, wheat grass, raw vegetables, avocados tofu, dairy (except for goat milk products), nut butters, pork, duck  and other fatty foods, eggs, soy milk, overly sweet foods, refined sugars, high doses of vitamin C, seaweeds, chocolate, cold foods like ice cream or smoothies iced drinks including ice  water


This factsheet is not intended to diagnose or assess. The information provided is not to be considered a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care practitioner.

James O’Sullivan from Galway is a credible and engaging speaker, a people friendly practitioner and lecturer of Integrated Medicine, serving his patients, his students and the public with the positive benefits of both Conventional Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. He is a respected author and has appeared on many public media. #jamushur