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Autumn: Time for Sour Flavors

By Dr. Maoshing Ni, L.Ac., D.O.M., Ph.D.

Autumn marks the turning point between the heat of summer and the cold of winter. The cooling weather ushers in the harvest and heralds the dying cycle in nature. The seasonal change also causes the respiratory system to constrict, leading to cough, asthma, bronchitis, and even pneumonia. Chinese medicine has always associated autumn with the lungs and large intestine. The Yellow Emperor advises early to bed and early to rise, practice breathing exercises, avoid pungent flavors but increase sour ones in the diet, drink fluids and eat soups, and remain calm and relaxed to avoid the diseases typical of autumn.

Some Important Autumn Foods

Apples

The apple, a universally loved fruit, has long been a symbol of passion and temptation – and now, scientists have confirmed that it also contributes to a healthy heart. Eating two to three apples per day results in decreased cholesterol levels, thanks to the fruit’s rich pectin content. Pectin also helps prevent colon cancer, which ranks among the top causes of death in adults over the age of sixty.

Sweet Potatoes and Yams

These powerhouse foods contain higher amounts of beta-carotene and vitamin C than carrots, more protein than wheat and rice, and more fiber than oat bran. Sweet potatoes and yams also happen to be a rich source of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). This is a precursor hormone – a substance that remains latent until it converts into a hormone that the body needs. DHEA can become estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone, all essential for your body’s ant-aging defenses to work. As one ages, however, the body’s level of precursor hormones like DHEA drop precipitously.

Oats

Oat bran, the outer coating of oats, contains high concentrations of soluble fibers, which help trap cholesterol and move it quickly through the intestines. Unfortunately, most people eat their oats in the refined form, which contains very little of the precious bran that contains beta-glucan and saponins. Whole oats are also rich in the antioxidants that stop cholesterol oxidation, the process that enables it to stick to artery walls.

More benefits: oats prevent colon cancer by binding toxic minerals and acids; they balance the body’s blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates; and the saponins in oats increase production of “killer cells,” a critical part of the body’s immune surveillance system. Try substituting a warm bowl of whole oats for your cold cereal in the morning. Your body will thank you – for years.

Excerpts from Dr. Maoshing Ni's book, Secrets of Longevity Hundreds of Ways to Live to Be 100

 

 

 

 

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