TCM Nutrition Tips to Stay Healthy This Fall

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TCM nutrition teaches us how to eat according to our personal needs and the seasons. Here are our top tips for eating well this fall!


What is TCM Nutrition

TCM nutrition is an ancient but emerging discipline whose principal purpose is to utilize food to create bodily balance and harmony.  Healthy eating habits, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), are the cornerstone of good health. 

A nutritious diet contains plenty of vegetables, fruits, complex carbs, healthy fats, and proteins from local, seasonal sources. According to TCM, you should consume based on your bodily constitution, present health circumstances, and season.


TCM Food Energies

TCM nutrition focuses on descriptive words to determine the value and necessity of a food. These words are chosen from the following categories:

  • 5 thermal natures: cold, cool, neutral, warm, hot
  • 5 flavors: sweet, acrid, salty, sour, bitter
  • 4 food Qi movements: upwards (yang replenishing), downwards (yin replenishing), inwards (usually sour), outwards (usually acrid)
  • Meridian association: this means to associate food with one of the body’s meridian points. Food can be associated with the spleen/stomach, lung/large intestine, kidney/bladder, liver/gallbladder, heart/small intestine

For example, a fresh watermelon would be described as cold, sweet, downwards, and catering to a stomach/bladder/heart meridian.


Seasonality in TCM

TCM nutrition is firmly based in the inherent laws of nature. As a result, seasonal eating is extremely important in TCM nutrition. Seasonal eating entails more than just eating fresh fruit that is in season. There are dried foods, cooking methods, and plants that are particularly suited to a particular location or season. A traditional Chinese calendar has 24 seasonal points, each with its own dietary wisdom and cultural practices.


What to Eat during Fall

QITCM recognizes five seasonal points throughout the fall season, based mostly on Chinese weather, which indicate which food would be best. These five points are:

  1. End of heat: getting rid of the hot summer, just entering autumn
  2. White Dew: beginning of cooler autumn, temperature declining slowly
  3. Autumnal Equinox: middle of fall, days become shorter and nights become longer
  4. Cold dew: quickly dropping temperatures, less rain
  5. First frost: when frost begins to appear

During fall, traditional Chinese nutrition recommends focusing on foods that aid lung health, have a “metal element”, feature aromatic flavours and are yin-nourishing and moistening to combat the arriving cold.


Best Foods for Fall

So, what are these foods, exactly? Here is a list of the best foods to eat during fall according to TCM nutrition experts.

  • Vegetables: cauliflower, snow fungus, shiitake mushroom, sweet potato, Chinese yam, leek, broccoli sprouts, water chestnut, fennel, onion, watercress, chestnut, parsnip, lotus root, spinach, brussel sprouts, pumpkin, soybean sprouts, leek, broccoli sprouts, water chestnut, fennel, onion, watercress, chestnut
  • Fruits: tangerine, kiwi, apple, pear, guava, sugar cane, pomelo, persimmon, peach, fig, gingko nu
  • Herbal: American ginseng, lily bulb, lotus seed, monk fruit, chrysanthemum, osmanthus, apricot
  • Carbohydrates: rice, oats, red rice
  • Protein: tofu, duck, fish, crab, beans, sesame
  • Other: honey, spices, tahini, extra virgin olive oil

TCM nutrition also recommends certain foods to limit, such as:

  • Crackers
  • Chips
  • Dry goods


TCM Nutrition for Better Health

TCM Nutrition is a great option to get your eating habits back on track. Combined with Traditional Chinese treatments such as acupuncture and massage, you will be feeling better than ever this fall.

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