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Now that the fresh foods of summer are behind us, are you wondering how to eat in Fall and Winter? In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), food is considered medicine and is used to harmonize the body, mind, and spirit. All foods have their own energy and characteristics that either help to balance our bodies, or create imbalances which ultimately result in sickness. According to TCM, Fall is a critical season to prepare your body for winter.

In Fall and Winter, it’s important to keep warm and prevent dryness. Here’s a primer on how to eat in Fall and Winter, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine:

Foods to Defend Against the Dry Weather

Food plays an important role in ensuring your body can adjust to the changing seasons. The dry weather can cause a number of occurrences in our bodies, such as:

  • Itchy throat
  • Dry nose
  • Chapped lips
  • Rough skin
  • Dry stools

To help combat the dryness of Winter, your diet needs to promote the production of body fluids and their lubricating effects throughout the body. Start with foods that moisten the lungs, such as pears and apples. It’s important to note that people with diabetes or blood sugar concerns should limit their fruit intake.

Apples, pears, and persimmons contain a lot of water and are very good at getting rid of fire in the heart and stomach, which may be left over from the summer. Other moistening foods include:

  • Lily bulb
  • White fungus
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Spinach
  • Barley
  • Millet
  • Seaweed
  • Mushrooms
  • Nuts or seeds such as almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, and sesame seeds
  • Lotus root
  • Clams
  • Eggs
  • Carb or pork
  • Pumpkin
  • Honey
  • Soymilk

In addition to eating moistening foods, the body also needs extra fluids to deal with the dry environment. It is a very common practice to eat porridge for breakfast and soup for dinner that is made with the above ingredients in Chinese tradition.

Foods to Eat in Fall and Winter to Support the Lung System

In Chinese Medicine, the Fall also correlates with the lung system, which dominates the skin, respiration, body fluids, metabolism, blood circulation, and immunity.

Pungent foods and herbs induce perspiration, stimulate, and clear the lungs while sour foods have astringent properties and thus prevent the loss of body fluids. Luckily, there are many foods to eat in fall and winter that can help support the lung system, according to TCM.

Pungent Foods and Herbs

  • Onion
  • Ginger,
  • Bay leaves
  • Capers
  • Caraway seeds
  • Cardamom
  • Chives
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Cumquats
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Leek
  • Oregano
  • Nutmeg
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric
  • Watercress
  • Cabbage
  • Turnip
  • Horseradish
  • Chillies and peppers

Sour Foods

  • Pineapple
  • Lemon
  • Apple
  • Grapefruit