Healthy Eating for Fall

Healthy Eating for Fall

The season of fall brings cooler weather and shorter days. As with any season, the world adjusts accordingly. Plants begin to go dormant, animals start scrounging for food to help get them through the upcoming winter months and humans start winterizing everything. Sweatpants and hoodies become more commonplace and everything…EVERYTHING is pumpkin flavored.

As fall descends on the land, it reminds us we need to start cutting back on the numerous cooling foods that are consumed during the summer months. Things like raw foods, salads, juices and fruits need to be decreased because they can create too much cold in the body. This is just one principle followed by Traditional Chinese Medicine.

There are many facets to TCM and nutrition is one of the most important. The ancient Chinese observed what took place in nature and followed those cues accordingly. So when the season changed to fall and the amount of daylight decreased and the temperatures cooled, the Chinese began to eat what was available. This is what it means to “eat for the season.” By eating according to the season, we can avoid many illnesses and diseases. If we continue to eat raw, cold foods during the cooler fall and winter months, then we set ourselves up for digestive problems, colds, sinus infections and even painful joints.

When a person eats seasonally, they will inevitably notice certain foods are no longer abundant or available. In the season of fall, one should fill their pantry and cupboards with dried foods, heavy grains, seeds, roots and squashes that can help move the body’s energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”) inward.

Fall is also a time to slow down. This means we should cook food for longer periods of time on lower heat. How we cook food will affect how the body tolerates it and how the energy is utilized. Some examples of how to cook for the season of fall include making soups and stews, using a crockpot or slow cooker, roasting and baking foods. These methods create a deeper warmth and supply greater energy from the food.

Foods that are nourishing to the lung are very important during the season of fall. Since many people get sick during these months, lung tonifying foods can be very beneficial. This includes foods like ginger, onion, garlic, pears, walnuts, miso, navy beans, almonds asparagus, broccoli, apricots, bananas, apples, plums and grapes.

The dryer weather can also cause chapped lips, a dry nose, an itchy throat, rough skin and even dry stools. To counter these issues, it is recommended to eat foods that promote the production of bodily fluids, such as nuts, seeds, pears, pumpkin, honey and a traditional Chinese porridge known as congee.

Animal products tend to be warming and grounding by nature. And for those who eat animal flesh, increasing the intake can be beneficial during the cooler fall months. As mentioned before, roasting, baking or stewing the meats is the most beneficial.

When we follow the cues given to us by nature, we can maintain a very healthy existence.

 

Research Update: Acupuncture & Lung Cancer

Acupuncture – Another Tool in the fight against Cancer

In a study conducted and published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information and in conjunction with the National Institute for Health, patients suffering from lung cancer showed improvements in several areas after being treated with acupuncture.

Pain was decreased, appetite increased, nausea and nervousness decreased, and overall, the patients well-being was improved. The study showed that 61 percent of patients reported less pain and 33 percent of the patients reported an increase in their total well-being. Those participants who received more acupuncture treatments reported that their well-being was positively affected and it was determined that a minimum of six acupuncture treatments were required for a 70 percent chance of clinical improvements regarding the overall well-being.

Lung cancer is the leading form of cancer in the United States, according to the American Lung Association. As with most forms of cancer, lung cancer is non-discriminatory in nature and can affect anybody, at any age. However, it is more prevalent in smokers, those exposed to secondhand smoke and people who have asbestos poisoning. Most lung cancer patients have multiple symptoms, including pain, fatigue, depression, difficulty breathing and anxiety. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can be very useful tools in treating the symptoms of lung cancer, as well as decreasing the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy.

Every single person on the planet has cancer cells in their body. Those cancer cells only proliferate or duplicate when there is the perfect storm of conditions in the body, such as:

  • decreased immunity
  • prolonged stress and anxiety
  • improper dietary habits

When the body is balanced, the immune system attacks and destroys renegade cancer cells before they can become malignant. But an unbalanced immune system, will often fail to defend the body from the cancer cells.

TCM and specifically, acupuncture, has shown great promise in helping lung cancer patients deal with the many symptoms they encounter. One of the most important ways regular acupuncture treatments can help lung cancer patients, is by boosting the immune system. The acupuncture needles are homeopathic in nature, but when they puncture the skin, the needles are perceived as an enemy by the body. This causes the body to send an immune-mediated response to the area, which in effect, retrains the body’s immune system to attack the intruders. The needles can be placed near or around the area of the cancerous tumor, which allows the defensive action of the immune system to be channeled to the cancer site itself.

Acupuncture can also be very effective at treating the other common symptoms of lung cancer. Symptoms like fatigue, depression and anxiety, can be managed with multiple acupuncture treatments that balance hormones in the body. When these are decreased, the immune system and the overall body will become stronger.

As with any form of cancer, having the proper diagnosis and treatments are essential. But adding complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, can increase the probability of success at defeating the disease.