by Parisa Wong, Nutritionist
According to Chinese medicine, Yang foods should be eaten in spring and summer and Yin foods in autumn and winter. Autumn is actually a very good time to nurture the body when you are in sync with the season.
Nourishing your arteries and decreasing dryness
The air is dry in autumn, and people are more easily irritable. At this time of the year, choose foods that cleanse your arteries and moisturize dryness to balance the autumn dryness. Good choices include: pears, kiwi, pomegranates, sweet potatoes, carrots, walnuts, lotus root, chrysanthemum, duck, duck eggs, etc.
- Lotus root is a powerful plant that has been used in East and Southeast Asian traditional medicine and cuisine for centuries. Lotus root contains both fiber and complex carbohydrates. These two components work together to help manage your body’s cholesterol and blood sugar. Fiber and complex carbohydrates also help steady the digestive process and nourish dryness.
Nourishing your lungs
Autumn is the best time to nourish and replenish the lungs. Foods that nourish the lungs include: almonds, apples, broccoli, kale, pumpkin, squash, molasses, lily and water chestnut. The best of the season is almonds. There are two types of almonds: sweet almonds and bitter almonds. Sweet almonds have a stronger effect of nourishing the lungs.
Almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. From a western perspective, almonds lower blood sugar levels, reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. They can also reduce hunger and promote weight loss. From a Chinese perspective, almonds moisturize the lungs, relieve cough, smooth the intestines, have a relieving effect on a dry cough and address lung deficiency and chronic cough.
- In Chinese medicine a common food used in cooking to nourish the lungs is white fungus. White fungus (Tremella fuciformis) is a wild edible mushroom that grows on tree bark and branches, especially on broad-leaved trees. It has been used as one of Chinese herbs because of its medicinal benefits for centuries. It tastes sweet and goes to the lung channel. It is commonly used for healing dry coughs, dry skin, clearing heat in the lungs, nourishing the bodies.
Nourishing the blood
One of the most important principles of Chinese nutrition in the autumn diet is to eat less spicy and more foods that are sour, such as oranges and green apples. Other foods that are beneficial include:
- Grapes nourish blood, promote body fluids and quench thirst. They invigorate the spleen and have diuretic properties. Eating grapes in early autumn can also help the body detoxify and relieve internal heat. Red grapes can soften blood vessels, invigorate blood and remove stasis.
- White grapes have the added effect of moisturizing the lungs and are suitable for people with a cough and poor respiratory system. Green grapes focus on clearing away heat and detoxification. Purple grapes are rich in anthocyanins which can beautify and fight aging. Black grapes nourish yin and nourish the kidney more prominently.
The autumn diet regimen should avoid cold foods such as raw salad, cold drinks and food directly from the fridge. It is also important to avoid a lot of dry food and fried foods. Warm foods, like soup or porridge, are the better choice in the fall.
In addition, people's vitamin A reserves in the body are likely to decrease in autumn. This can result in problems such as decreased night vision, dry eyes and respiratory tract infections. Choosing more orange and yellow vegetables, such as pumpkins, carrots and tomatoes, can help ensure that your vitamin A stays adequate.
Personalized Nutritional Support
A balanced diet is the foundation to health. What is optimum varies from person to person and is dependent on your underlying conditions, your age and health status.
If you have questions about what type of foods or nutritional plan is best for you, I would welcome the opportunity to work with you. For more information on my approach to nutrition, check out my blog on Yin Yang theory and detoxification or check out my bio on the Naturopathic Foundations website.
To book an appointment, please contact Naturopathic Foundations Health Clinic at 905-940-2727.