Manage your health with these fall health tricks and tips to change with the seasons
The fall is particularly hard on your body. Using these fall health tricks and tips can help you minimize the stress on your body and keep you healthy as you move into winter. During the fall your immune system is struggling to flow from the heat of summer to the cold of winter. The transition can lead to colds, flus, general fatigue and illness. Here’s the traditional Chinese medicine approach to making the annual transition as smooth and healthy as possible.
Tip 1: Think about how your body is affected in the fall?
Contrary to popular belief, there are seasons in California. There may not be the extremes that other parts of the country experience, but your body and mind are still affected by the changes in the weather and the overall environment.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) dictates that the way you manage your health needs to change with the seasons. So, take the exterior environment (weather, seasonal foods, etc.) into account when deciding which foods, beverages, temperatures, tastes, etc. will support the best health for your interior environments (organs, immune system, etc.).
The Fall is especially challenging for your lungs and large intestine. It’s the dry season, and the season your lungs are working their hardest to balance your immune system and keep you healthy. During this time, you’re more prone to such symptoms as: dry nose, throat, skin, and lips, excess thirst, itchiness, coughs and colds, sinus infections, constipation, bloating, gas, belching, depression, turbid thoughts and emotions, sluggishness and lack of desire to do anything. You’re especially at risk if you have a tendency toward any of those symptoms throughout the rest of the year.
Tip 2: Beware, autumn is the growth of Yin
“Every phenomena in the universe alternates through a cyclical movement of peaks and bases, and the alternation of yin and yang is the motive force of its change and development.” As the seasons change, the dynamic nature of yin and yang shifts. Autumn is a transitional time when the yang of summer is fading and giving way to the growth of yin. As this transition occurs, you might notice some more yin qualities in you or your family. Here are some yin qualities:
- Gradual onset of disease that lingers
- Sleepy, listless
- Preferring to be covered and curl up
- Cold limbs and body
- Pale face
- Preferring hot drinks
- Weak voice, dislikes talking or crying voice
- No thirst
- Shallow, weak breathing
- Profuse, pale urine
- Loose stools
In moderation, these yin qualities are natural in the fall and even more natural in winter. However, you are more likely to experience extremes of those qualities in the fall, which can become pathogenic.
Tip 3: Change Your Foods With the Season
The best way to stay healthy is to go with the flow by shifting from summer to fall foods. Foods, spices and cooking styles should change with the seasons too. The key is to maintain balance. More is not better. Be moderate in adding in the healing foods, and be aware of the amount of food you eat every meal.
Here is a list of fall flavors and cooking tips and how they can keep your body feeling great:
- Baked and sautéed food stimulates the appetite.
- To internalize your focus, cook with less water and lower heat for a longer time.
- Also, to improve your focus, eat more sour foods, like yogurt, lemon, lime, vinegar, olives, pickles, aduki beans, and sour varieties of apples, plums and grapes. Small amounts have a strong affect!
- To keep the lungs moist and healthy, eat moistening foods, like almonds, pine nuts, sesame seeds, eggs, cooked honey, loquat, pears, and apples.
- Slowly introduce salty and bitter flavored foods as fall progresses toward winter.
- Oolong tea is the autumn tea. Oolong is usually roasted, which imparts “fire” to the tea, making it more warming.
- To help digest the moistening foods, which can be a little sticky and hard to digest, add small amounts of warming and moving spices. For example, add Allspice to sweet potatoes, meatloaf, squash, soups and stews. Cinnamon can be added to pumpkin, egg nog and cider. Add pepper to just about anything. Garlic and cayenne can help release an early stage cold.
- Digestion is always improved when eating in a relaxed atmosphere. For example, avoid eating while watching the news or other potentially negative television. Most of all, be grateful for and enjoy what you’re eating. A little smiling with your meal goes a long way.
- Pungent foods and long, deep breaths can help clear turbid emotions and thoughts.
These fall health tricks and tips should help you fight off illness and fatigue, but if you still can’t avoid a fall illness, contact us today for an acupuncture appointment. Acupuncture can treat colds, flus, allergies and all kinds of ‘strange’ symptoms that occur in the fall. There are also herbs that have antibiotic and antiviral function without side effects.