Even though it’s still hot outside, we are fast approaching the change of the seasons – summer into fall – and of all times of the year, this is the most susceptible for colds, flu and allergies. The weather should be cooling soon, school has started, and activities pick up so generally there’s more stress. And this year, “COVID stress” brings the usual fall stress to new levels.
Autumn is the season associated with the Lung and its partner, the Large Intestine. If you tend to catch colds or have allergies in the Fall, it’s important to take care of these organs! Together the lung and large intestines are related to immunity through the strength of the protective external layer of our skin. Generally, outside pathogens most easily enter through the respiratory and digestive systems, and the lung and colon are responsible for maintaining the function of these systems so that they are not penetrated by outside pathogens. According to Chinese medicine, the body’s defensive energy is directly dependent on the strength of the lung and colon. Incidentally, these are the two areas attacked by the Coronavirus.
So how do you stay well through this vulnerable time and keep your family well, too? The good news – there are many alternatives to support health through this time. The serious news – NOW is the time to act.
First of all, change your diet now to reflect the season to come. Cooler weather means ingesting warmer food and drinks.
Here’s what to eat:
- Switch from salads to soups.
- Eat cooked rather than raw fruit – consider crisps, cobblers or pies.
- Use lots of spices such as ginger, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, and fennel.
- Ingest root veggies and winter squash.
- Increase protein intake.
Here’s what to avoid:
- Cold, refrigerated or iced drinks
- Raw foods
- Cold juices
- Ice cream and other iced/cold foods
I recommend the following supplements to keep your immune system in top shape:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B Complex
- Vitamin C
- Probiotics – select a formula with a variety of strains of bacteria
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- Herbs prescribed by your Acupuncturist/Herbalist for your unique situation. This may include prevention from viruses and other pathogens.
It’s important to reduce stress and plan for the cooler season to come. Even though it may still be warm during the day, the evenings are beginning to be a little bit cooler, reflecting the weather to come. Thus, this is the time to dress warmer. Here are several ways to change lifestyle to support your immune system.
- Carry a jacket or sweater as needed.
- Wear a scarf or high collar to protect the back of your neck and protect immunity.
- Go to bed earlier and get more sleep.
- Eat regular meals, especially breakfast, even if it’s late morning (skipping meals lowers immunity).
- Take rest breaks during the day.
- Include daily meditation or contemplation time to manage stress.
- Strengthen the Lungs by exercising, stretching, and moving your body.
- Pay close attention to how you feel daily so you can act immediately if you feel something coming on.
- Make sure you are having a regular bowel movement too. Here’s why.
WHAT TO DO AT THE FIRST SIGNS OF ILLNESS
What if you do begin to feel sick? Can you prevent it from taking hold? Yes – it is possible to prevent a pending virus or cold if at the first signs of it you do one or all of the following: