Traditional Chinese Medicine, believes that fall or autumn correlates with the Metal Element, which are the organ systems of the Lung and Large Intestine. So, the best way to nurture our bodies come fall is to support our Lungs and Large Intestine organs. The lungs facilitate respiration, body fluid metabolism, blood circulation, and immunity. The large intestine functions to eliminate unnecessary or toxic elements from our bodies. The two together act like partners in crime, balancing and harmonizing each other. They are also in charge of a special task– the Lungs breathe in new life and the Large Intestine lets go of old ways of being. I believe that even though Spring is a time of new growth and lots of moving forward, there is something about Fall that also symbolizes growth but in a different way, maybe the idea of harvesting ideas is on my mind.
If the organ systems are out of balance, symptoms due to dry weather may appear and look like an itchy throat, dry nose, frontal headaches, constipation/dry stools, chapped lips, rough/itchy skin, and hair loss.
Foods are the easiest way to support and ensure that the body adjusts to the change from warm summer to dry fall. We need to eat select foods to promote the production of body fluids and their lubricating effects throughout the body.
- Eat more brown rice for increased energy and stronger digestion.
- Navy beans, almonds, and pears benefit the lungs (especially pears!) and eliminate phlegm.
- Mustard greens improve energy circulation and clear chest congestion.
- Sour foods like pineapple, apple, grapefruit and lemon have astringent properties and are believed to prevent loss of body fluids. The body needs extra fluids to counteract the dry environment.
- Other healthy and beneficial foods to support lung and large intestine function are: mushrooms, nuts or seeds, oats, pear, lotus root, dates, pumpkin, honey, celery, apricot, banana, asparagus, and broccoli.
Another rule of thumb, is eat what is in season! As you can see by the list above doing away with pineapple and grapefruit (summer foods) and bringing in pumpkin and asparagus makes total sense. Mother nature ultimately knows what our body needs and most of the time that is what the Earth provides for us.