Fall in Love with Optimal Health this Autumn

As the days get shorter and temperatures begin to cool, it is the optimal time to start supporting our lung health and building our defensive Qi (energy) to help repel allergies and colds. Fall is the beginning of the yin, or cooling cycle that will eventually transition us to winter.

As we begin to bring out our sweaters, hats and scarves to protect our bodies from the cold and wind outside, we should also prepare to reinforce our insides with seasonal nutrition. The transition begins with fresh crops of autumn fruits and vegetables. Pumpkins, sweet potato and squash are abundant among the fallen leaves, as October brings thoughts of pumpkin carvings for Halloween.

The cold, wind and dryness of fall weather make our respiratory system susceptible to cold and allergies. The lung is the most tender organ in our bodies, as it is the uppermost organ exposed to the outside air. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the internal organs associated with autumn are the lungs and large intestine, so we need to take good care of how we eat and dress for the cooler temperatures.

Autumn Associations in TCM

Element: Metal

Organs: Lung, large intestine

Emotion: Grief

Flavors: Acrid, pungent

Energy: Yin

Focusing on more soups and stews, grains, winter squashes and root vegetables will better balance our bodies with the season and prevent digestive and cold issues that arise from too many cooling foods.

Eating Guidelines for Autumn

  1. Shift away from cooling foods eaten during warmer temperatures, like raw vegetables, frozen drinks and iced beverages.
  2. Start adding foods that generate fluids, moisten the lungs, support our digestive processes and balance our bodies to the outside colder weather.

Vegetables for Autumn

  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Winter Squashes
  • Sweet Potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Cabbage
  • Peppers

Fruits for Autumn

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Persimmons
  • Figs
  • Plums
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Dried Beans

Other Foods to Incorporate

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Honey
  • Miso
  • Hot Cereals

Tending to Your Immune System

To strengthen your defensive Qi to protect you from colds, flu and allergies, prepare your body by getting enough sleep (since it gets darker earlier anyway), eating according to the season, dressing to protect from the cold and wind and getting acupuncture to build your lung Qi and/or to immediately treat your cold or flu symptoms.

Healthy, Nourishing Fall Recipes

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