Healthy Eating Tips for Autumn

The leaves will soon start to fall as the season turns to autumn. Our Nutrition Expert, Janella Purcell, provides her expert advice for the new season. 

Autumn is traditionally a time for harvest. The emphasis now needs to be on nurturing, building and supporting your organs for the cold change ahead. It is time to clear the heat of summer from your body.

Season - Autumn
Element – Metal
Environment - Dry
Organs – Lung + Large Intestine
Taste - Pungent
Sense Organ - Nose
Emotions – Grief and Sadness

Autumn is traditionally a time for harvest and the emphasis now needs to be on nurturing, building and supporting your organs for the cold change ahead. It is time to clear the heat of summer from your body.

The wind at this time of year will affect your lungs, perhaps making breathing more difficult and coughs more frequent.  You may feel run down and tired after you’ve been sick and this is due to deficient energy in the lungs in this season. Constipation is also likely, due to the relationship between the lungs and the colon. To strengthen the lungs, use cooking methods such as steaming and boiling. In autumn it is a good idea to eat foods that build your immunity. See below.

In Autumn generally eat - apples, pears, persimmons, lima beans, spearmint, peppermint, sweet potato, zucchini, carrots, figs, adzuki beans, grapes, olives, spelt, kamut or rye sourdough bread, millet and brown rice, sustainably caught seafood, soups, leeks, vinegar, yoghurt, lemons, limes, grapefruit, cabbage and fresh nuts.

Cook at lower temperatures for longer times, using more water over a lower heat—stews, casseroles, soups and baking, and pull out that slow cooker in Autumn.

Many of us also suffer from dryness in autumn—symptoms of this are a dry cough, dry lips, wrinkles, dandruff, itchiness and constipation. To relieve the symptoms of dryness, we are encouraged to eat foods that nourish and moisten.

  • organic soy products  - tempeh, miso, soymilk and tofu
  • vegetables - mushrooms, spinach and locally sourced sea vegetables
  • fruit - apples, pears and persimmons
  • nuts - almonds, peanuts and pine nuts
  • grains - barley and millet
  • seeds like sesame and hemp seeds
  • Increase the amount of good oils you eat during autumn, as these will protect your skin and therefore protect your lungs. (According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the condition of your skin reflects the condition of your lungs.)
  • nuts, seeds, avocado, tahini, sustainable fish, different cooking oils like walnut, avocado, hazelnut, olive.
  • For a persistent cough, which is worse at night that you can’t get rid of, makes you thirsty and is often accompanied by a sore throat, try foods that ‘nourish and moisten.

A pungent flavour now

-     ginger

  • wasabi
  • horseradish
  • garlic

When you are sick, fresh ginger helps rid your body of illness through sweat, and when you are well, dried ginger builds immunity.

To build Immunity

  • oranges
  • pears
  • peaches
  • organic soy products
  • oysters and clams
  • green beans
  • royal jelly (check for allergy)
  • shiitake mushrooms

For Phlegm 

  • Yellow or green (hot) phlegm: use cooling pungents, such as peppermint, chamomile, daikon, radish, watercress and locally sourced sea vegetables
  • White (cool) phlegm: use warming pungents, such as garlic, onion, horseradish and ginger

Foods that build up blood levels and nourish your blood in time for winter

- figs, pears, pumpkins, parsnips, potato and beetroot

Spicy food should be avoided if you are getting sick often, as it reduces immunity through inducing sweat and causing dryness


  • cold drinks and ice, melons, salads and raw foods, juices, raw onions, dried spices and chillies
  • quick cooking methods such as stir-frying.

A change is a coming, so be mindful of your bodies changing needs now. Keep warm and start getting into those yummy soups and casseroles - with ginger!

In Wellbeing,


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