As the seasons change, so do your nutritional needs. In Chinese medicine, Autumn is the season of the Metal element. It is time to focus on lung and colon health to support a strong digestive and immune system as the weather gets colder.
1. Pungent foods cleanse and protect the lungs and colon by dispersing the mucous in your system to prevent illness. This autumn, consume more pungent foods like chilies and foods in the onion family. This includes: chilies, garlic, onions, turnips, ginger, horseradish, cabbage, radish, daikon radish, and white peppercorn. Other mucous purging foods include seaweed, kombu, marshmallow root, ﬂaxseeds and fenugreek.
2. Dark green and golden-orange foods rich in beta-carotene protect the mucous membranes of the body and supports the immune system. Healthy sources of beta carotene include: carrot, winter squash, pumpkin, broccoli, parsley, kale, turnip, mustard greens, watercress, wheat or barley grass, green algae, and nettles. Dark green vegetables also have chlorophyll which is very cleansing to the lungs and digestive system.
3. Eat lots of ﬁber. Once the mucous is dispersed, you want to eliminate it. Fiber is the undigestible portion of foods found in grains, pulp of fruit, and cell walls of vegetables. Fiber cleanses the digestive track. The health beneﬁts of ﬁber are extensive for digestive health, cholesterol levels, immune system support and colon cancer prevention. Apples, pears, cherries, carrots, and oats are great sources of ﬁber to support healthy cholesterol. Donʼt hesitate to try other ﬁbers as well.
4. Cook your food slowly at a low temperature. Transition away from the raw foods of the summer and maximize the energy from your foods while minimizing the effort necessary for your digestive track to break it down.
5. Breathe deeply. Take time each day to sit quietly and breathe. Oxygen circulation in the body invigorates blood ﬂow and calms the mind.