Sunday, October 31, 2010
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.
Friday, October 22, 2010
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, autumn is a time for eating white vegetables. White vegetables contain isothiocyanates, which support the immune system and protects against the development of various ailments.
1. Cauliflower: Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, and belongs to the same family of plants as that of broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Cauliflower possesses high concentrations of fiber, vitamins C and B6, and folate. Along with the presence of isothiocyanates, cauliflower also has a high concentration of glucosinolates, which are key to cauliflower's anti-cancer properties. Along with treating low immune function, it is helpful to incorporate cauliflower into the diet when treating sinus problems, constipation, and conditions of the skin such as warts.
2. Cabbage: Cabbage, like cauliflower, is a cruciferous vegetable, and therefore possesses many of the same healing and nutritional properties. Cabbage is commonly associated with its high concentrations of vitamin C. It also contains the amino acid glutamine, which has been revealed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Along with treating immune-related conditions such as cold and flu, cabbage can also help anyone looking to treat acne, allergies, hives, constipation, arthritis, bronchitis, and yeast overgrowth.
3. Turnips: Turnips are a root vegetable that are typically grown in temperate climates. Turnips are packed with vitamin C. And turnip greens contain vitamins A and K as well as folate, calcium, and lutein. Turnips treat immune-related conditions such as bronchitis, and other conditions such as incontinence, flatulence, and symptoms of jet lag. Lightly steam the greens for a healthy side dish. As for the bulb, cut and sauté or boil and mash.
4. Garlic: Garlic is a pungent, spicy herb that has bulbs, leaves, stems, and flowers that are edible. It is generally anti-bacterial in nature, and is used as an antiseptic and a remedy for infections. It is used for digestive disorders and as a treatment for intestinal worms. It is also used to prevent heart disease, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar levels, prevent diabetes-related conditions, treat allergies, reduce arthritis, counteract bone loss, and to treat ailments related to cancer.
As we get into the cooler months of autumn, there is an abundance of white vegetables to enjoy. So stay healthy and Stock up! With all that being said, the most important thing is to enjoy eating new foods and preparing them in new ways. Go forth and explore the abundance of food available to enjoy!