Eat well for the seasons! prevention goes a long way!
Eating with the seasons is vital in protecting our immune system and preventing disease. For thousands of years, Chinese Medicine realized the energetic properties of food, which correlate with the changes in the seasons. The organs are seen as pools of energy, which vibrate at different frequencies. They are related to what’s called the five elements; seasons, emotions, colors, voice, taste and the organs of our body.
You may have been blessed with a great immune system or great genetics passed on from your parents, yet you may not have felt any ill affects from your diet or from changes in the seasons. This is because you have good strong kidney energy. The kidneys are what help keep us healthy, strong and protects us from disease, but it also can age our bodies fast if we abuse them.
Protecting our bodies before we get sick, which means paying attention to the foods we eat, during the changes in the seasons can help build a stronger immune system.
The foods we eat have different energetic properties based on yin and yang, which correlate with the seasons. Foods in Chinese Medicine are not just evaluated for fat, protein, and calories, but how food energies act on specific organ function, flavor and movement.
In Summer, the heart and small intestine channels are affected. Great foods include; apples, carrots, dates, figs, grapes, kidney beans, olives, peaches, pears, squash, string beans, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and walnuts.
Late summer, the spleen and stomach are affected by extreme heat. Incorporate cooler, easier to digest foods such as, millet, apricots, scallions, squash, adzuki beans, yellow peppers, yellow zucchinis, pears, apples, watermelons, turnip, onion, cabbage, peas, pumpkin, parsley, fennel, horseradish, vanilla, walnuts, chicken. round, yellow/orange, naturally sweet veggies are optimal earth phase foods. Enjoy naturally sweet foods which support healthy spleen/pancreas energy, and avoid refined sweets such as, donuts, soda pop, or potato chips.
In autumn, the lung and large intestine channels are affected. Include; green onions, root vegetables such as, potatoes, carrots, garlic and onions, chinese yams, mangoes, cayeene, ginger promote digestion and elimination. sour foods like pineapple, apple, grapefruit and lemon have astringent properties and thus prevent the loss of body fluids.
In winter, cold can enter the kidney and bladder channels. Avoid banana’s and frozen foods and Juicing! the kidneys don’t like cold! Consume more warming foods such as, chicken, eggs, beef, rice, soups, nuts, ground seeds, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, fennel seeds, and adzuki beans. Too much cold and dampness can bring out arthritic conditions, increase low back pain, or pain in general throughout the body.
In Spring, considered the windy season and the liver and gallbladder channels are affected. If we don’t adapt to changes in spring, we can develop flu, colds, or relapse of chronic conditions. Include foods such as, kale, celery, beets, celery, onion, carrot, dandelion, turnips, leeks, mustard greens, chinese yam, wheat, dates, cilantro, mushrooms, sprouted seeds. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, it can be very damaging to the liver.
The aging, and people with weakened immune function or autoimmune disease may feel climate changes way before a stronger or healthier person might, however, if we abuse our bodies overtime, eating the wrong foods in the wrong seasons such as, ice cream or iced drinks in winter, eating too much spicy food in summer, drinking too much alcohol or not get enough sleep, eventually we will burn down our main source of energy, the kidneys and adrenal glands.
Changes in hot, cold, damp or dry weather can hinder the protecting mechanisms of our immune system, which easily can be invaded by pathogens, colds, and flu. Incorporating foods for the seasons can improve and maintain a healthy immune system. This refers not to the state of food, but its effect on our bodies. You can have too much or too little of an element, causing illness, physical, pain and emotional difficulties.
The road to health lies in strengthening what is already correct in the body. By “tonifying” or strengthening kidney qi. So eat well! be well! and focus on prevention and happiness! a little of each goes a long way. Blending diet, exercise, such as yoga, qigong, tai chi, acupressure or tuina massage can also help protect the body from disease.
Judy Bloom, CMP, Contact: 408-666-5775