Nourish - Eating for the seasons: Autumn
As we slowly transition into autumn, we naturally begin craving heartier and warmer meals. We edge from summer salads to substantial stews, warm porridge and foods that will fill our bellies and keep us warm.
Within this blog we’re going to focus on some useful tips on how to get your body prepared for the new season, and how to radjust your diet for the cooler temperatures that are fast approaching.
No. 1 – Eat Seasonal Foods
Eating fresh, seasonal produce has many benefits, and I go into more detail on this in this blog here. But in short, it’s more cost effective to buy foods that are in season, plus they often taste better and may even be found locally.
Keep an eye out for pumpkins, parsnips, winter squash, sweet potatoes, turnips, dark leafy greens, root veggies, apples, pears, figs, elderberries and even cranberries!
Check out my previous blog here on What’s in Season: Irish Autumn Foods for some recipe ideas and more info about what’s in season!
No. 2 – Eat Warm Nourishing Foods
The transition to autumn is a really nice opportunity to tune in to our body’s needs, which change with the seasons. While we may enjoy ice cold drinks and light crispy salads in the summer, autumn time calls for more warm, cooked foods and beverages to deliver nutrition and happy digestion. I often find that I start being guided naturally towards warmer foods and fewer raw veggies or cold foods. And I know I’m not the only one who starts to hunt out their chai tea bags after the first cold snap 😉
Eating warm, thoroughly cooked food is excellent for digestion plus it can help us feel more grounded. Often the change of season can make us feel a little ungrounded, a little anxious or simply affect our moods.
Incorporating warm foods and beverages with warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, cloves, fennel and cayenne can help stoke our internal fires and support us through the change of season.
I encourage plenty of soups, stews, curries, broths, chai tea, ginger tea and warm porridge and stewed fruit, like stewed apples and pears.
Try to reduce or even avoid in some cases, raw ice cold smoothies, juices; salads and dry cold breakfast cereals. These can aggravate our digestion in this change of season.
No. 3 – Drink More Broth
Whether it’s delicious mineral rich veggie broth or bone broth, I encourage you to get brothing!
Broths are a really easy way to get a whole bunch of proteins, minerals and amino acids into our gut to help support and improve immunity, digestion, sleep, energy, skin and joints.
You can sip on them like tea or soup, or simply add them to stews and soups for more depth of flavour.
They’re really easy to make, and you can customise the flavours to your liking, and add in different ingredients like seaweeds and dried mushrooms for flavour profile and nutrition.
No. 4 – Swap out Your Coffee for a Delicious Alternative
For a lot of people, their sleep patterns, mood and anxiety can go a-drift during the change of season, so I would encourage you to back off the coffee and swap it out for something different.
Chai tea is a great option for those that still want a caffeine fix, though of course caffeine free chai is amazing and available too. The warming spices are not only good for supporting your circulation but also work their magic on keeping your digestive track tip-top.
Cinnamon is a great natural blood sugar balancer too, so unlike coffee which can make you crave sweet things and pastries, chai can help you out by keeping those cravings at bay. Nice work chai 😊
Green tea is another great option, and I would highly encourage trying out matcha or matcha lattes for mood, energy and stamina.
I also wrote a blog last year on superfood lattes that make a wonderful addition to your autumnal diet. I absolutely love beet lattes, and turmeric is amazing this time of year, especially to help combat any seasonal bugs going around.
In general, it’s best to drink most of your fluids warm or at room temperature and to avoid ice water or cool beverages as they only slow down digestion, plus they make you cold.
No. 5 – Top Up on Good Fats
Good fats such as avocado, olive, ghee, coconut, flax, hemp, chia and those from nuts and seeds and oily fish can really be helpful for bringing moisture to the body, as well as aiding in sustenance, satiation, brain support and hormonal health.
Adding coconut milk to your curries, roasting your root veggies in avocado oil or adding some ghee to the pan to cook your eggs in are all great ways to add in a little extra good fat to support your body through the change of season.
You can also try supplementing with algae oil, nut/seed oil, fish or krill oil, especially if you find that you suffer from dry skin, eczema, dandruff, dry eyes, pms, low mood, high cholesterol, joint problems or brain fog.
No. 6 – Add Fire Cider Into Your Diet
Fire Cider is a popular herbal folk remedy made from a combination of apple cider vinegar that has been infused with herbs such as garlic, onion, ginger, turmeric, horseradish, and hot peppers; but there are heaps of other herbs that can be thrown in for added benefits or flavour.
It’s a great way to boost your health and immune system, plus it also helps to stimulate digestion and improve your circulation which is great for this time of year.
Here’s a little low down on why these herbs are so great to add into your diet this autumn:
Ginger – Excellent for treating symptoms associated with colds/flu. Has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory.
Garlic – anti-viral, antibiotic, and antiseptic.
Onion – Excellent for the respiratory system and great for coughs.
Cayenne powder – Cayenne works both as a preventative and treatment against a cold or flu. Cayenne may even help shorten the duration of a cold or flu – yes please!
Cayenne pepper boasts anti-microbial, analgesic, carminative, diaphoretic, and expectorant properties.
Lemon – another traditional remedy against colds and flu’s, and one that we all know about. Lemons are notoriously high in vitamin C, and are excellent to help build resistance to colds and flu, as well as speeding up the healing/recovery process should you be sick.
Thyme – has antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, expectorant, astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. Thyme is great for respiratory infections and coughs.
I wrote a blog previously on how to make Fire Cider here if you’re interested to give it a go!
No. 7 – Try Out Some Medicinal Mushrooms
I love to take medicinal mushrooms daily for their plethora of health benefits, especially when the seasons change.
Medicinal mushrooms such as reishi, chaga and cordyceps help to support the body’s immune system and help protect it from harmful pathogens, like viruses, parasites and bacteria, helping to defend you against any nasty bugs or viruses going around. They’re also rich in antioxidants and support gut health which is always a big plus.
Check out my previous blog posts on their benefits by clicking on their names above.
Personally, I love to drink reishi mushroom tea from Four Sigmatic with a ¼ teaspoon of ashwagandha and make it into a a small latte an hour or two before bed. When consumed in continuous, small doses, reishi has been shown to support the body’s sleep cycles and may help increase quality of sleep and the duration. For those that struggle with their sleep, mood or anxiety levels, I recommend looking into adding reishi into your diet.
No. 8 – Don’t Forget Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for the normal and healthy functioning of the immune system. When our levels are not maintained, the immune cells are unable to function optimally and as a result, those with low levels of vitamin D can be at a higher risk of getting sick.
Since the change of season is a common time for coughs and sneezes to start appearing, and with the kids starting school again, potentially bringing home a runny nose and sore throat or two, I highly recommend checking your vitamin D levels and maybe topping them up.
And for those suffering with low mood, the “winter blues”, SAD (seasonal affective disorder), or struggling with anxiety, it may interest you to know that low levels of vitamin D are linked to these changes in mood/depressive periods during the winter months. This is due to the decreased amount of sunshine during the colder months.
The long and the short of it is, ensuring levels of vitamin D are topped up is essential. See my blog here on 4 Ways to Help Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder and What’s the scoop on Vitamin D here for more info on this topic.
Since we cannot often get enough of this vitamin from our food, our bodies are able to make it from the sun instead, but with shorter days and less sun exposure, we cannot reply on it entirely.
Vitamin D can be found in foods such as oily fish, eggs, mushrooms and fortified foods, however in order to ensure you’re getting enough, supplementation during the winter is recommended.
That’s it for my useful tips on how to get your body prepared for the new season!
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*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention.
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication.