“When one tugs on a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. – John MuirEATING SEASONALLY
Let Fall Feed Your Health Autumn is in full harvest and an ideal time to make health changes along with the change in seasons. Fall is one of my favorite seasons to detox from the sugary foods of summer and direct more time toward work and projects at home.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) considers autumn a season that focuses largely on the large intestines and lungs, which often get congested this time of year. If you adapt yourself to the changes of the seasons, you are more likely to maintain optimal health. It is important to gain control of both your internal climate (emotions) and external climate. Maintain a balance of inward-directed activites and outward physical activites. Get outside in nature and move your body in ways you love. A strenghtening program will build more muscles from higher protein meals.
Nature provides the perfect foods each season to help protect our immune system for the following season.
Eating seasonally allows you to eat foods that are at the peak of their ripeness as their nutritional content is higher than foods grown out-of-season and are unripe. Eating fresh, seasonal produce tastes better, contributes to local economies, is more sustainable, and helps the environment.
Check out these delicious and healthy foods that are currently in season:
- Pumpkin – Rich in vitamin A and both alpha and beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin and low in fat. The potassium content makes it a great addition in any recovery smoothie. The seeds are a great snack and are loaded with linoleic acid (omega 6) and oleic acid (monounsaturated fat similar to olive oil).
- Squash – High in antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory. A variety of squash are in season, all with great health benefits and can be prepared in many ways.
- Turnips – Packed with vitamin C, many B vitamins, and calcium. The green leafy stalks are also rich in nutrients.
- Asian mushrooms – shiitake, maitake and reishi mushrooms are a great source of vitamin D and will help support your immune system as you prepare for the cooler months.
- Referred to as “medicinal mushrooms”
- Supports cardiovascular health and has anti-cancer benefits
- Apples – The polyphenols in apples help regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol, thin bile and detox the intestinal villi and the gut wall. Know to protect against cancer, asthma and neurodegenerative diseases with its anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory properties.
- Pomegranates – a superfood containing anti-oxidants, vitamin C, and folate. Pomegranate juice has anti-atherogenic properties and supports heart heath.
Fall doesn’t mean you can get away with not eating your greens! These phytonutrient packed greens are currently in season:
- Herbs – With so many to choose from, it is not surprise there is a huge variety ofhealth benefits offered from herbs
- Rosemary is anti-spasmodic, anti-bacterial, and a digstive aid.
- Thyme is anti-septic, anti-microbial.
- Tumeric is anti-inflmatory and has anti-cancer benefits.
- Ginger is an anti-oxidant, imporves osteo-arthritis, anti-microbial, and boosts immune function.
- Brussels sprouts – You may have had a distaste for these guys as a child, but they help with inflammation, high cholesterol, and are great for heart health! Be creative in incorporating them in your diet.
- Arugula – Cardio-protective, reduces cholesterol, and supports a healthy liver.
- Chard – A less known green with several varieties that is high in fiber, protein, and vitamin K.
Many of these foods have gorgeous earthy tones and can easily be found at your local farmer’s market. Cleansing in the fall supports the liver to transform toxic substances into harmless agents to the kidneys, through the bile into the intestines, for elimination. We also clear toxins through our skin by sweating during excercise and hot baths, steams and saunas. Remember to listen to your body and pay attention to what you eat and how these delicious seasonal foods make you feel.
Mental detoxification is also important. Cleansing our minds of negative thought patterns is essential for a healthy body. Eliminating potential toxic food triggers such as gluten, dairy and sugar can aid in this process.