September is here and it is my personal favorite month of the year. I enjoy the cooler weather, the start of football season, the “back to school” transition, and of course my birthday! But of course there is more to it than that. The ancient wisdom of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Ayurveda (Traditional Indian Medicine) tells us that each season has its own rhythm and character related to the temperature and weather changes along with the variations in daylight they bring. All of these factors impact our health and vitality as the body responds to the changing of the seasons.
Each season has specific organs to be detoxified, rebuilt, and nurtured during that season. In the fall it is the lungs and the large intestine, in the winter the adrenals and kidneys, in the spring the liver and gallbladder, and in summer the heart and small intestines. In addition each season has specific foods, teas and herbs to support the body during that time. As we move from season to season over the next year I’ll devote one article to each season.
For the autumn the focus is on the lungs and the large intestines. The lungs are the gateway into the body for perhaps the most important nutrient – oxygen. Oxygen provides our cells with the energy to sustain our life. But through the lungs environmental irritants also enter our system, these are the various pollutants and natural substances that we breathe in that can create a variety of symptoms for us such as allergic reactions, asthma, or general congestion. Herbs such as Usnea, Licorice root, and Echinacea root support the lungs as they are soothing, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial.
The large intestines are the home to many types of bacteria – both the good and the bad. The good bacteria aid our digestion and convert our waste into beneficial vitamins (B vitamins and Vitamin K) and help digest fiber. The bad bacteria are at the root of many digestive ailments such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and IBS. Many of my clients (and other Americans as well) suffer from these symptoms simply because their gut bacteria is out of balance with the bad bacteria outnumbering the good. I recommend two ways for my clients to increase their good bacteria. One way is through eating nurturing, immune-enhancing foods such as yogurt, kefir, and raw sauerkraut, as well as fiber from flax, psyllium, or chia seeds. The second way is through supplementation with probiotics.
However, with all nutritional supplements there are all kinds of quality out there. You will read all kinds of claims. Here’s what to look for to ensure a high quality probiotic:
• Has living bacteria that ensures the bacteria are alive and active.
• Is packaged in a fermented culture to provide a continual feeding system for the bacteria.
• Includes organic acids to promote the growth of good bacteria in the colon.
• Is enteric coated to keep it intact and survive the stomach and bile acids until it reaches the colon.
• Provides evidence that it is gluten-free, non-GMO, hypoallergenic, and without preservatives.
• Has proven adhesion, meaning it sticks to the walls of the digestive tract.
• Is safe for infants, children, women and men as well as those with compromised immune systems.
• Has multiple strains of beneficial bacteria including the TH-10 strain. TH-10 strain defends against yeast, parasites, and pathogenic bacteria overgrowth that create endotoxins.
The tea for autumn is Fenugreek. It has a lubricant quality that dissolves mucus in lungs and moistens the digestive tract to provide these organs the additional support they need during this season. The list of autumn friendly spices includes cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and anise.
In addition to those foods recommended above for the large intestines, I’d recommend the following: Obtain your protein from lean beef, veal, lamb, poultry, fish, shellfish, and legumes (lentils, black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, split peas). For fruits go low on the glycemic index with berries, apples, pears, peaches, and nectarines. It is a great time to get local apples! For vegetables (as always) look first for what is in season and eat all the colors of the rainbow.
Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. His office is in Thiensville. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.