Mid-Autumn Festival is just around the corner and mooncakes of all different flavours are appearing on the market again. At this time every year, reports on the high sugar, high fat and high cholesterol content of mooncakes and their detrimental effects on one’s health also start to appear. Such news always impairs the mood of the festival and makes one feel guilty while indulging in luscious mooncakes at family gatherings. Is there then a guilt-free way to enjoy mooncakes?
How TCM views mooncakes
In TCM, the high sugar and fat content of the mooncake filling can contribute to excess energy in the body, which produces heatiness. Baked mooncakes are also considered more “heaty” than snow skin mooncakes, due to the application of high heat in the cooking process. In the body, heatiness is often expressed as a sore throat, mouth ulcers, dry mouth, dry stools etc.
Even with the lower fat and sugar alternatives, excessive consumption can also cause impairment of the digestive system, resulting in a rich and greasy feeling in the stomach, bloating, indigestion etc. This is especially common in the elderly and children, and those with a weaker digestive system.
Thankfully, these effects can be countered with the following herbal tea that reduces greasiness, lowers sugar levels, and has cooling effects.
Mooncake Herbal Tea
Ingredients (Serves 3-4 people)
Hawthorn berry (12g) Wolfberry (10g) Mulberry leaves (10g)
1. Place all ingredients in a tea pot and add hot water. 2. Infuse for 20 mins and it is ready to serve
1. Aids in digestion, particularly in greasy food 2. Manages sugar levels 3. Clears excess heat
Hawthorn is a common herb used to improve digestion, especially of greasy food, and thus reduces bloating, stomach discomfort and indigestion caused by overeating. It is also often used to assist in lowering body fat content. High in antioxidants, flavonoids, saponins and vitamin C, hawthorn may also be effective in lowering blood lipids, cholesterol and blood pressure.
Contraindications: Due to its acidic nature, hawthorn berries should be taken with caution for those with excess stomach acid, acid reflux or those with a weak Spleen.
Mulberry leaf is a cooling herb commonly used to expel wind-heat pathogens that causes colds with sore throat, dry mouth and yellowish mucus etc. It is also used to clear Lung heat to treat coughs with yellow phlegm as well as Liver heat to treat dry eyes and headaches. Research has suggested that mulberry leaf may be able to lower blood cholesterol and lipid levels.
Wolfberries are known to nourish the Liver and Kidneys, thus helping to improve eyesight, moisten skin and promote healthy hair growth. Research has shown that wolfberry may promote immunity, lower blood pressure and blood lipids, and may have anti-aging, anti-tumor and hypoglycemic effects.
一般上的月饼可分别为烘烤制成，或冰皮月饼。前者会因烘烤而比较燥热， 但无轮是哪一种制作法，两者都含油脂、蔗糖。中医认为，由莲子或其他豆类所制成的內馅， 加入白沙糖经过加工熬制后，将产生热气，即便是所谓低脂、低糖的健康月饼，仍存面粉诸成分，过量食用会产生滑腻感。过食月饼后的常见问题有消化不良，胃满、腹胀，血糖升高 等。特别是老人、儿童、肠胃功能不适者，更要注意适量为宜。
山楂 12克 枸杞子 10克 桑叶 10 克
山楂：消食化积，行气散瘀，能治各种饮食积滞，是消化油腻肉食积滞的要药。有降血脂，降低血清胆固醇和降血压功能，可抗氧化，增强免疫，利尿。化学成分含黄酮类，三萜皂苷类，维生素C等。 注意：山楂不可食过量，否则造成胃酸过多，脾胃虚弱者慎用。 桑叶：性寒凉， 能疏散风热，清肺润燥，清肝明目。研究显示，桑叶可能有排除体内胆固醇，降低血脂的功效。 枸杞子： 滋肾润肺，益精明目，乌发润肤。现代研究显示，枸杞子具有促进和调节免疫力，抗衰老，抗肿瘤，降血糖，血压及血脂等作用。