Chinese medicine says that as the warm weather becomes cool in autumn, yang decreases and yin increases. Health measures, therefore, must follow the “nourish and close” (養收 yangshou) principle.
During autumn, the air becomes dry and the temperatures gradually decrease. The weather may even change drastically. Chinese medicine says that man should drink more water in order to balance the system and prevent the skin from becoming dry.
To add vitamins and minerals, eat more fruit and vegetables. Eat more high-protein legumes, other plant foods, and consume fewer fats. Avoid shallots, ginger, and garlic because these are considered “hot” foods in Chinese medicine.
During autumn, man often feels more comfortable. His spirit and appetite become better, and this makes autumn a good season to eat 進補 jinbu, which might be translated as “health supplements,” such as ginseng or ginger tea.
Jinbu is very common in Chinese culture and has its has been used for thousands of years. Well-known kinds of jinbu include wolfsbane (烏頭屬 wutuoshu); longan (龍眼 longyan, literally dragon’s eye); royal jelly (蜂皇漿fenghuangjiang); wolfberry (寧夏枸杞Ningxiagouqi), and cordyceps (冬虫夏草 dongchongxiacao). A parent gives their child jinbu when he appears to be falling sick or is very weak.
The differences between jinbu and normal, healthy food may be subtle. Jinbu is often more specialized and taken for a specific purpose For example, cordyceps might be added to chicken soup and served at a restaurant, whereas after delivery, women might take sesame chicken (麻油雞 maoyouji).
Women take jinbu after they have given birth to quickly restore their energy. Jinbu is often used as a restorative measure, but if one is already sick, it may not help. Many restaurants even serve different kinds of jinbu. However, some jinbu can be quite expensive.
To nourish the lungs and hydrate the body, one can eat sesame, honey, fruit, and other soft, moist foods. These can also boost the body’s water levels and prevent the lips from becoming dry and cracked. In the morning, man can drink salt water—in the evening, honey water.
This is not only a good way of increasing water and preventing constipation but also an important method of staying healthy and maintaining longevity. As long as you eat the right jinbu, the effects are good and side effects can be avoided.
Chinese medicine says that a controlled diet benefits people, but an uncontrolled diet is harmful. During the autumn, man should pay attention to eating regularly in order to maintain normal gastrointestinal function and avoid becoming fatigued.
Man should not eat too much in order to prevent gastrointestinal overload, causing indigestion or stomach problems. Becuase children and the elderly have weaker digestive systems, it is especially important for them to eat more regularly.
Furthermore, the simpler food that man eats, the better, because during autumn, yang qi and stomach qi become weak. Due to the strain it imposes on digestion, eating too many kinds of food in one sitting can easily lead to stomach problems.