Sunday, October 31, 2010
Fall Foods #2 - Nourishing Dry Skin
Fall air and wind dries out the mucus membranes of the nasal passages, lungs, and even the eyes. With this climate change, our skin also gets dried out, especially with the colder nights.
In addition, protecting the lungs from dryness is a first line of defense against catching colds. Adequate moisture in the mucosa makes them slippery. When the nasal mucosa is dry, it is much easier for the Rhino viruses that cause colds to attach and get into the blood stream.
The most common kitchen medicine in Chinese Medicine are pears. Pears are cooling and moistening. Bite into a ripe pear. Compare with a ripe apple. Apples tend to be crisper and are astringent. Pears have a viscous quality that helps moisten the lungs (especially the pear skin). In addition they have a very cool energy, like cucumbers.
Asian pears are great when cooked. They are commonly boiled with licorice root for dry cough in Korea and with a kind of barley called Job's Tears in China. You can just boil a pear or two, and when cooked, add some honey, which also moistens the lungs, and drink the liquid. I like to add saffron and cardamom to mine. Afghanis make a wonderful cooked pear dish.
Other Foods For Moistening:
Persimmons are a wonderful Fall fruit. They are mild and light, help to dissolve phlegm, and reinforce the digestive energy. Persimmons are especially good when there is a heat condition in the lungs with cough.
Almonds reinforce the lung Qi and Yin. They are a Sattvic food in Ayurveda, which means they balance all the doshas and create harmony. Try Persimmon muffins with almonds and saffron.
Turnips strengthen Lung Qi, and Tremella mushrooms benefit the Yin (moistening). Try Miso soup with turnips and Tremella mushrooms. If you suffer from digestive system dampness (thick or greasy tongue coat), eat your Miso soup with cooked Job's Tear's barley, and avoid or eliminate wheat and gluten. This can be critical for people with allergies and Asthma.
Lotus Rhizome is also good for the Lungs. It is very healing to lung tissue and helps alleviate damp cough. You can buy it at any Asian grocery. Try juicing it with pears and a little ginger root. It looks funny and has a mild taste. Also excellent in soups and stews.