One of the fundamental principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine is to seek a balance between ones internal and external environments. To maintain this balance one must modify certain things, such as diet, as the seasons change.
Both Chinese medicinal herbs, as well as the things we eat, are said to possess specific energetic properties, such warming, cooling, drying, and moistening. This means that you can consume or avoid certain foods to compliment the climate and season you are living in.
As we observe the leaves turning colour, and feel the temperature dropping as the wind and rain pick up, there are changes we can make to ensure that we feel good physically and mentally over the winter.
Salads and other raw or cooling foods are fine for the hot days of summer, but as we move into fall and winter we need to eat more warming foods. Eating cooling and damp forming foods such as dairy, wheat, tropical fruits, and soy can lead to the formation of ‘Dampness’ in the body. Sensations associated with dampness include heavy limbs, achy joints, mental fogginess, difficulty concentrating, depression, and retention of fluid.
Cooking herbs and spices like ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and curries can be added to food to reduce the formation of dampness. Eating vegetables cooked, even lightly steamed will reduce their cooling effect.