Autumn is associated with the metal element in Chinese medicine, and the organ network associated with this season is the lung and large intestine, dealing with purification and elimination. The lungs take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide through breathing. The large intestine absorbs water and completes the absorption of nutrients, minerals and vitamins. It also holds and eliminates waste. The lungs are also associated with the skin, respiration, body fluids metabolism, blood circulation, immunity and melancholic emotion.
Since the vigorous summer has over, it’s time to turn inwards so as to prepare for the winter. Letting go of elements on all levels, whether they be physical, emotional or spiritual.
Eating vegetables and whole grains is necessary for our bodies, right now as they serve as cleansers for the intestines, however, they have added significance in autumn, when it’s important to keep your metal element in balance.
Foods are important to ensure that the body adjusts to the changing seasons. We need to eat to promote the production of body fluids and their lubricating effects throughout the body. A balanced metal diet also consists of hearty, rich and warm foods, including meats, nuts, fish and oils.
Beneficial foods for this are lily bulb, white fungus, nuts or seeds, pear, lotus root, pumpkin, honey, soy milk and dairy products. It is advisable to eat more food with sour flavours and reduce pungent flavours as such things like onion, mustard, ginger and peppers induce perspiration.
Sour foods like pineapple, apple, grapefruit and lemon have astringent properties and thus prevent the loss of body fluids. The body needs extra fluids to counteract the dry environment, and it is a Chinese tradition to eat porridge for breakfast and soup for dinner that is made with the above ingredients.
You might also try practicing a form of breathing meditation for the health of your lungs. Add weight training as a useful autumn exercise, as it balances the higher amount of protein and calories you crave while preparing for winter. This is a good time of the year to enjoy the late afternoon and evening, the time associated with metal, by relaxing, letting go of the day’s concerns and preparing for sleep. It is important to keep body and mind in a state of quiet harmony and to not drain your energy.
This is a good season to:
• Eat root vegetables, whole grains and hearty foods as a way to clean out the intestines
• Do weight training to make good use of the muscle-building protein you crave as winter comes
• Focus on relaxation in the evening hours. Autumn is associated with late afternoon and evening time and getting ready for sleep.