For the fall we are focusing on boosting the immune system and detoxifying the body from the views of the east and west.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine the element that correlates with autumn is metal. Metal is refined in our earth’s core, and thus the element is all about refining the pure and discarding waste; which relates to the lungs and large intestine seeing as the lungs refine the pure air and the large intestine discards waste.
As the weather begins to cool we need to eat more cooked foods and foods that are in season. In turn reduce fruit juices and salads which are cold in nature. Seasonal fruits such as apples and pears may be prepared with warming spices like ginger and cinnamon to help digest them properly. Also as the weather is drier this time of year, it is a great time to eat oilier foods such as salmon, pork, and duck especially in the form of soups and stews.
As mentioned prior there are many warming spices that are beneficial this fall. The first spice is ginger which has anti-cancerous properties, beneficial against motion sickness and nausea, reduces pain and inflammation, beneficial against colds and flus, migraine relief, cramp relief, anti-inflammatory, and it boosts the immune system. Cinnamon is the second super spice of the fall as it speeds up metabolism, increases circulation, reduces allergies, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, fights colds and flus, balances blood sugar and reduces sugar cravings, clears acne, kills candida, and it benefits your oral health.
Although we try to do everything we can to stay healthy if you get a cold and have a cough, ginger is really good at helping you to disperse your cough and recover from your cold. A great way to take fresh ginger root is to slice about an inch of it thinly and simmer it in warm water for 20 minutes, discard the root and drink the water. If the cough is dry raw pears and pear juice are beneficial. Additionally, you can make tea with honey, lemon, and cinnamon to moisten the lungs. You can further help your lungs to stay moist by using humidifiers.
If you find that you have a lot of phlegm with your cold, spicy food is great at helping to clear the phlegm and help you sweat out the virus. Bananas, almonds, dairy, refined sugars and grains will produce more phlegm in the body, so if you are experiencing a lot of phlegm or constant sinus infections, try cutting out these foods. An occasional sinus rinse is also great to help keep the sinuses clear of phlegm. Be careful not to do it too much, Colorado is really dry and rinsing too often can cause the sinuses to become dry and irritated.
The second organ that plays a major role in your health during autumn is your large intestine. During this time of year when it is so dry many people suffer from constipation. You may be suffering from constipation if you do not have a bowel movement every day, or if you have small rabbit stools and strain to move your bowels. To take care of your gut health you need to be making sure that you are adequately hydrating. Urine should be a pale yellow, if it is darker you will need to consume more liquid. You should also be eating foods with a high fiber content. This time of year, root vegetables are abundant and high in fiber and nutrition as well as cruciferous vegetables. I also recommend for constipation that you take 2 tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseeds in a glass of water with the magnesium. The flaxseeds moisten the intestines and provide the fiber to cleanse your intestines, and the magnesium helps to relax smooth muscle so your intestines can relax enough to let you have a bowel movement. If you are still having issues with your intestines, acupuncture and herbs can help with your digestive health.
On the Western end of things, it is encouraged to eat with the seasons there is less sunlight and thus the metabolism changes. This time of year beets, leafy greens, squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, turnips, broccoli, brussel sprouts, collards, cranberries, lemongrass, persimmon, swiss chard, and pomegranates are in season.
Pumpkin is also an excellent source of many natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds such as α, ß-carotenes, cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Carotenes convert into vitamin-A inside the human body. Zea-xanthin is a natural anti-oxidant which has UV rays filtering actions in the macula lutea in the retina of the eyes. Thus, it may offer protection from "age-related macular disease" in the older adults. The fruit is a good source of the B-complex group of vitamins like folates, niacin, vitamin B-6, thiamin, and pantothenic acid. It is also a rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.
Another superfood is sweet potatoes the tuber is an excellent source of flavonoid phenolic compounds such as beta-carotene and vitamin-A. 100 g of tuber provides 14,187 IU of vitamin-A and 8,509 µg of ß-carotene, a value which is the highest for any root vegetable. These compounds are powerful natural antioxidants. Vitamin-A is also required for the human body to maintain the integrity of mucosa and skin. It is a vital nutrient for healthy vision. The tubers are also packed with many essential vitamins such as B-5, B-6, B-1, niacin, and riboflavin.
Additionally, in the fall you can get fresh parsnips roots which are high in vitamin-C. Vitamin-C is a powerful water-soluble antioxidant, readily available to us from natural sources. It helps the human body to maintain healthy connective tissue, teeth, and gums. Its anti-oxidant property helps protect from diseases and cancers by scavenging harmful free radicals from the body. Further, the root is rich in many B-complex groups of vitamins such as folic acid, vitamin B-6, thiamin, and pantothenic acid as well as vitamin-K and vitamin-E.
Lastly there is swiss chard. Chard leaves are an excellent source of vitamin-C. Its fresh leaves provide about 33% of recommended levels per 100 g. Research studies suggest that regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C help maintain normal connective tissue, prevent iron deficiency, and also help the human body develop resistance against infectious agents by boosting immunity. Chard is one of the excellent vegetable sources for vitamin-K; 100 g provides about 700% of recommended intake. Vitamin-K has potential role in bone health by promoting osteoblastic (bone formation and strengthening) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet help limit neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has an established role in the treatment of patients who have Alzheimer's disease. It is also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin-A, B-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
To boost our immune system in the fall we may take things like vitamin C which may be found in lemons, oranges, tomatoes, kiwis, strawberries, and grapefruits. This nutrient is great as an antioxidant, immune booster, helps treat colds, reduces heart disease, lowers blood pressure, raises good cholesterol, prevents cataracts, treats glaucoma, treats gingivitis and protects against cancer.
Glutathione is also really important for the body. It boosts the immune system, detoxifies the body, it's an antioxidant, it slows aging, reduces muscle and joint pain, improves focus, improves sleep, and reduces stress. You can get this through apples, pears, asparagus, avocado, broccoli, spinach grapefruit, tomatoes, parsley, garlic, carrots, oranges, whey protein, and sulfur rich foods like cabbage and broccoli. CO-Q10 found in grass fed beef, herring, free range chicken, trout, sesame seeds, pistachio nuts, broccoli, cauliflower, oranges, strawberries, and sardines can help to lower fatigue, defend against free radicals, it's anti-aging, and helps with cognitive disorders.
Lastly we want to leave you with some general healthy tips. Make sure to drink half your body's weight in water, eat plenty of greens, use MCT oil in your coffee to boost brain health, do intermittent fasting, eat fruits in the morning and vegetables in the afternoon, try sleeping seven to nine hours a night, and dry brush everyday to help move and detoxify the lymph system. If you need to sweat infra-red saunas are best. Since disease is thought to grow in an acidic environment, try to alkalize the body by putting lemon/lime in your water, but be careful because the acid in the lemon juice can hurt your teeth.
If you are still feeling under the weather or need additional support we are available with detox programs, o-therapy treatments, and acupuncture.