In Chinese medicine, the fall season correlates to the Metal element. The organ systems that correspond to the Metal element are the Lung and Large Intestine. It is during the Fall that these organ systems become more vulnerable to the drying and cooling temperatures. As you continue to read, you will see how apples can aid conditions that afflict these organ systems.
In Chinese Nutritional Therapy, every food is categorized according to its thermal nature - cold, cool, neutral, warm, or hot. If there is a thermal component in a person's health condition (ie. flu with a temperature, menopause with hot flashes, hypothyroidism with coldness), food recommendations will be made to bring the body's overall thermal nature back into balance.
Foods are also categorized according to taste. There is what we call "The Five Flavors" - Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, and Bitter. Each flavor has a specific effect on the body. For example, the pungent flavor has a dispersing effect. It can help break up mucus in the lungs and move the excess phlegm up and out of the body. Some foods have more than one flavor. There can also be different thermal natures within the scope of a single flavor. Fresh ginger is considered a warming pungent and peppermint is considered a cooling pungent.
In addition to Thermal Nature and Flavor, the quality of food, food preparation, and food combining are important elements in Chinese Nutritional Therapy.
An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
All apples have a cooling thermal nature and are considered both sweet and slightly sour. Apples help to moisten dryness and cool heat in the lungs. They are good for dry coughs, dry throat, and dehydration. Apples are also good for constipation since they help to moisten the body. Apples and their juices are very cleansing and are beneficial for the Liver and Gallbladder - they actually help to soften gallstones. For those suffering from low blood sugar and associated depression, apples provide a simple fix.
1. Cough with yellow phlegm or dry cough: Drink freshly squeezed apple juice.
2. Constipation: Eat a fresh apple on an empty stomach.
3. Indigestion: Eat an apple 1/2 to 1 hour after each meal.
Couple of notes:
- Always eat your apples at room temperature.
- Although there are some exceptions, do not combine your apples with other foods.
- If you have a condition of a cold nature, you can bake the apples with a small amount of cinnamon and brown sugar. This will moderate the cooling effect of the apples.
- Buy organic apples. Apples are one of the "dirty dozen" - foods high in pesticides.
You probably thought I was going to give you complicated recipes with lots of ingredients. Simplicity is the key in Chinese medicine. The Chinese name for Chinese Nutritional Therapy is called "The Qing Dan Diet". It means clear bland.