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When you go to the doctor’s office and complain of a sore throat, your physician may ask to peer into your mouth, pushing your tongue down with a wooden tongue depressor.
When you visit an acupuncturist or a Chinese medicine practitioner, you will also be asked to stick out your tongue—but for an entirely different reason.
This means that what is going on with the tongue gives you a pretty good idea of what is going on in the gut.
How well we digest food and drink shows up on the tongue. This is visible in the tongue coating and in the tongue color.
The tongue coat, which often shows up on the middle or at the back of the tongue, lets you know how well you are metabolizing the food you eat:
Tongue color can range from pale pink to red or even have a bluish tinge.
The tongue color reflects the distribution of body fluids throughout the body. For example:
If you would rather not talk about your feelings, an acupuncturist will still be able to learn a lot from looking at your tongue! This is because the tongue gives clues about your current mental and emotional state.
When it comes to emotions, the tip of the tongue is especially important:
If you see a thick tongue coat, it is time to make some changes!
A thick tongue coat in the center of the tongue body or toward the back of the tongue indicates an overburdened digestive system. An overgrowth of bacteria or yeast in the digestive system will often show up as a thick tongue coat. The color of the coat may be white or yellow, depending on a person’s constitution.
Too much dampness can contribute to a thick tongue coat as well. When we overburden our digestive system by eating to capacity, we slow down gut motility. While a little digestive disharmony may not seem like anything to worry about, over time it can lead to other problems that involve the immune system and the hormonal system.
If you are suffering from a thick tongue coating, try the following:
Fermented foods and probiotic beverages are some of the most effective ways to bring your inner ecosystem back into balance. A healthy tongue should look fresh and have a very thin, white coat. Introducing living enzymes and probiotics to assist in the digestion of your food and to repopulate the digestive tract with beneficial bacteria is a must when correcting digestion and fighting Candida.
A simple solution to improve digestion is to follow the Body Ecology Principle of 80/20. This means eating until you are 80% full. It also means not overwhelming your plate (and your gut) with too many starchy or acidic foods. Make sure that 80% of your plate is made up of non-starchy vegetables, fermented vegetables, and ocean vegetables.
Soups, broths, steamed vegetables, and cooked foods are often better choices for someone with digestive issues. Avoid large amounts of raw fruits and vegetables.
Herbs and spices such as turmeric, cardamom, ginger, coriander, black pepper, and fennel all aid in warming the system and improving digestion.
A cup of warm tea 20 minutes before a meal is a great way to stoke the digestive fire. Ginger tea can also benefit indigestion, bloating, and nausea.
Enzymes can assist the digestive process by improving the body’s ability to break down the foods initially in the stomach and later in the small intestine to increase mineral absorption.
Every person's tongue is unique with distinct characteristics that are a reflection of their inner health. According to ancient Chinese medicine, the appearance of the tongue can reflect the health of the entire body. Additionally, the look and texture of the tongue can be a good indicator of the health of the digestive system, based on the coating and color of the tongue.
If you have Candida, you will have a thick tongue coat that points to an overburdened digestive system.
You can use these helpful tips to improve your digestion and the appearance of your tongue:
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