Feeling Autumn closing in? Here are our tips for staying well at this time of year
In Autumn we are still benefiting from the summer’s bounty of fruit and vegetables. The days are still long and often sunny, so it’s a great time to get outside and boost Vitamin D levels before the shorts days of winter close in. If we pay attention to maintaining our immune system in September and October, we may well avoid many of those winter bugs doing the rounds in November and December.
Here are five great lifestyle tips for staying on top of your health at this time of year…
1. Eating Seasonal Foods
There are so many foods that are in season and good to eat at this time of year. These foods are more likely to be locally grown, and therefore fresher, while avoiding the endless air-miles involved in carrying out of season foods to us from across the globe.
Try putting the following on your shopping list: pumpkins & squashes (smaller is better in terms of nutrition), parsnip, carrot, kale, celery, leeks, spinach, chard, runner beans, Brussel sprouts, winter cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, beetroot, cucumber, tomatoes, apples and pears (if they’re from the UK), raspberries, plums, and wild blackberries (get outside and pick your own).
Cook your fruit: too many raw fruit and vegetables can be taxing on our digestive system so it’s a great idea to stew any apples and pears that you might be having. This is especially important if you have been advised by your acupuncturist that your Spleen energy is flagging! Signs of which can include: tiredness, feeling cold, gaining weight, loose stools, and bloating.
Qi Nutrition have some great recipe ideas that take into account Chinese dietary principles.
The BBC Good Food website is another great resource if your looking for ideas about what to do with your seasonal veg.
For everything you need to know about making Kimchi, check out this page on the Feasting at Home website:
2. Pickling Fruit & Veg
This is also a great time of year to pickle fruit and veg to last you through the winter months. My personal favourite is known in Korea as Kimchi – a sweet, sour, and spicy side-dish that adds flavour to any meal. Not only are these pickled foods delicious, but they are packed full of vitamins, minerals and those good bacteria that are thought to help digestive health.
Clearing Damp: if you have been advised by your practitioner that Damp is an issue, you will find these pickled condiments particularly helpful. Signs of Damp can include: a feeling of heaviness, a heavy/muzzy head, poor appetite, spots, and swollen joints.
3. Avoiding Flu & Colds
Lack of sunlight and adequate rest will really start to take their toll at this time of year. Given our busy lifestyles it’s unsurprising that we are more likely to get ill. Dr Jenny Goodman recommends a ‘first aid package’ of vitamins to stave of these bugs.
- Vitamin C: 500-1000 mg at every meal
- Zinc: 15 mg daily
- Selenium: 100 μg daily
- Echinacea: 15 drops 2 or 3 times daily
If you take this daily throughout the winter, it should prevent flu and colds. If you do feel yourself coming down with something you can double all of the above dosages until it passes.
Looking after you lungs: many people find that their Asthma and other lung issues get worse during mould season, and if that’s you then this advice is particularly relevant.
4. Beating Back Mould & Dust Mites
Mould counts in our houses soar in September as we start closing our double-glazed windows and putting on the central heating. The UK is a very damp place in general, and we then add to this the vapour produced by cooking, bathing, showering, breathing and possibly drying our clothes indoors. These all lead to condensation, and mould loves nothing better than these damp conditions.
These moulds can give off toxic substances, and people can become ill from spending too much time in a mouldy environment. If you find any black mould patches around your house, then you already have a pretty severe mould problem. Also, house dust mites love to feast on all this mould so this could be another factor contributing to any breathing woes. Your best option to avoid mould is to keep the windows slightly open and the heating on. Also, make sure that you turn on the extractor fan in your bathroom and your kitchen when showering or cooking. If you do notice any mould, the best way to clean it off is with traditional Borax solution.
Get in touch to book your seasonal maintenance treatment:
5. See Your Acupuncturist
The changes of the seasons are a great time to come in for some general maintenance treatment. The transition from Summer to Autumn can be particularly demanding on our Lung energy, hence the prevalence of flu and colds at this time of year. As the autumn months draw in, the Fire energy of summer gradually gives way to the Metal energy, and this can account for feelings of melancholy and sadness that might arise. Acupuncture and Tuina treatment can help to strengthen our Lung energy’s capacity to fight of bugs, and support a smooth transition from summer into autumn.
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