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  • Lifestyle Practices For Autumn/Winter | with Amy Parin

    Autumn lifestyle practicesTraditionally, humans would have lived in synchronicity with the seasons- forever flowing, changing, and evolving; however, with our busy modern lifestyles it has become easier for us to live without being in tune with nature's rhythms.

    Plants and animals are still very in tune with the seasons and when we connect with the changes in rhythm it can bring us great inner joy, support our mental health and changes in circadian rhythm, especially we know what to focus on throughout seasonal changes.

    In this post, I am going to share with you some of the dietary and lifestyle practises that you can implement throughout Autumn to get your body prepped for Winter and to nourish yourself during the changing of seasons.

    Autumn is a time of letting go of what you no longer need and gathering what you do. As the leaves shed from the trees due to the cool changes- we are also invited to shed what no longer serves us emotionally, physically, and mentally. Autumn is also a time where traditionally, we would be preparing food and getting ready for the Winter. In Chinese medicine Autumn is the metal element with the organ being focussed on the lungs. Because of this, an emphasis on consuming wholesome, protective foods in conjunction with adequate movement is required to ensure the health and vitality of the lungs and respiratory system in Autumn into Winter.

    Lifestyle Practices

    Outlined below are some great ways to cleanse and nourish the body, mind, and spirit during these months:

  • yoga
  • journalling and reflection
  • breathwork
  • cardiovascular exercise
  • dry body brushing
  • meditation
  • walks outside
  • decluttering of your home and getting rid of what no longer serves you.
  • wearing socks, scarves, jumpers and warm pants to keep the body warm and comfortable
  • early morning sun exposure and sun exposure intervals throughout the day to regulate your circadian rhythm to the seasonal changes
  •  

    These practices will also help to start building a strong immune system for Winter preparation so that we are better at fighting off infections, colds, bacteria, and viruses.

    Nourishing Foods

    As the seasons shift the cooler change in Autumn means we slow down and consume different meals to what we usually would in summer. We want to be consuming foods that are in season and grow naturally in abundance during this time as they have better nutrient profiles to support our immune system and provide us with what we need such as:

    Enjoying more warm and well cooked foods. Consider slow cooking your meals and making plenty of soups, congee, curries, stews and porridge. This helps your body to break down and digest the food easier. This also helps to keep up with the increased energy demands that occur due to the changes in temperature. Slow cooked foods are rich in fragrances stimulating the appetite and grounding the body.

    Reducing inflammatory foods such as processed oils, processed sugar, and packaged food. This can deplete your immune system and inflame your body leaving you more prone to sickness.

    Seasonal Shopping List

    Here are some of the foods that you can purchase for less during Autumn as they are in season and found in greater abundance!

    Treat this as a general guide for you to explore new foods that will nourish you in this season, keeping in mind your own dietary needs and your constitution.

    Fruit
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Lemons
  • Persimmons
  • Figs
  • Oranges
  • Rhubarb
  •  

    Vegetables

  • Pumpkin
  • Cabbage
  • Beetroot
  • Capsicum
  • Parsley
  • Sweet potato
  • Squash
  • Eggplant
  • Ginger and garlic
  • Swiss chard
  • Onion
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli and cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  •  

    Seasonal Spices/ Herbs that you can grow in your garden or buy at the farmer's market.
  • Garlic
  • Fennel
  • Dill
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Yarrow
  • Lavender
  • Mint
  •  

    Herbs

    Whilst supporting your health with nutrition and eating according to the seasons, there are also some fantastic herbal remedies that can be taken as powders, teas, or tinctures to start building your immunity and support the change in seasonal weather.

    Medicinal Mushrooms

    Numerous studies have demonstrated the potential benefits of consuming mushrooms such as Chaga, Reishi, Turkey Tail and Shiitake on enhancing immunity in humans. The primary active compounds found in medicinal mushrooms are polysaccharides, beta glucans which are known for their immunomodulatory properties and are very beneficial to the gut also. These compounds can increase your resistance to infection, improve recovery time from infection and boost your stamina, resilience, and energy throughout seasonal changes.

    Licorice

    The roots of the licorice plant contain a variety of compounds, such as glycyrrhizin, flavonoids, and lignans, which are known to possess medicinal properties and can modulate the immune system. Licorice also has a nice demulcent effect and is very soothing on the throat and surfaces of the gastrointestinal system making it a great overall tonic herb for Autumn moving into Winter.

    Echinacea

    Echinacea is a beautiful flowering plant that has great research behind it to reduce the severity and occurrence of the common colds and their associated symptoms due to its immune enhancing effects. It has also been shown to help fight off illness and infections when they have already manifested.

    Tumeric

    The bright yellow coloured root vegetable or curry spice we all know, and love has some great relevance for consumption during this season! Turmeric is known for its potent anti-inflammatory effects due to its hero constituent curcumin and is also a great antioxidant which have been shown to be beneficial for immune function and overall general health and longevity. Turmeric also has beneficial effects on mood, digestive health and liver health making It a great all-round food, supplement, or spice to be consumed during Autumn.

    Holy Basil

    A brilliant ayurvedic herb that can be used for so many conditions or as a tonic. It has great anti-inflammatory, antioxidant immunomodulation properties as well as being an anxiolytic which helps to reduce anxiety and feelings of worry. It has also been shown in studies to reduce levels of cortisol (our stress hormone!). High levels of cortisol and stress can lead to us feeling run down and fatigued. Holy basil is a beautiful herb to consume during Autumn. Of course, there are so many incredible herbs and natural medicines that can be used to optimise your health and wellbeing. If you have a complaint or query that is need of more specific advice, book in with one of our incredible practitioners so get their support on your healing and health journey.

    Autumn is truly a beautiful time of year. Start incorporating some of these tips and tricks into your lifestyle and diet to reap rewards and support your body throughout seasonal changes. You will thank yourself throughout Winter for preparing the mind and body in Autumn.



    Amy Parin has a passion for women's health and is in her final year of studying naturopathy at Endeavour College.

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