Most of us only think of four seasons. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we are actually categorized as having five seasons, the fifth one being “late summer”.
Late summer belongs to the element of Earth and it acts as a sort of transition from hot, active, Yang energy of the spring and summer into the cooler, storing, Yin energy of the fall and winter. This season starts out quite hot, but calms into cooler weather. In the northern hemisphere it usually lands in August and September. The official start of Fall is September 22, 2014.
If you are prone to occasional digestive symptoms, this time of the year is particularly important for you, as it is the season that the Stomach* and Spleen*, are most active. The Spleen and the pancreas produce enzymes and helps monitor blood sugar levels via insulin and glucagon.
While it is customary to grab an icy cold drink due to the weather, do not overdo it. Consuming too much cold foods and drinks will impair your digestive system, often making people feel lethargic and mentally foggy. Eating foods that are slightly sweet and cooling will help ensure your digestive system does not lose its yang energy as well as its function. Local fruits like peaches, cherries, blueberries, and plums provide enough sweet and cooling properties to help promote digestion rather than hinder it.
Be sure to have a variety of fruits and never try to focus on having one particular fruit everyday. Avoid excessively sweet foods like artificial sweets and sodas. An excess of anything too sweet, especially artificial sweeteners, will harm spleen and cause it to retain “dampness”. This dampness tends to harm the spleen and impedes the spleens natural function of transforming foods/nutrients and transporting the nutrients to the right parts of our organs. Some people may even feel slight weight gain during these months due to dampness accumulation.
Try not too worry too much as the emotion will harm the spleen and stomach function, often causing lose of appetite, low energy, lack of concentration and a feeling of heaviness in our bodies. Also when we are having our meals, it is essential that we have our meals relaxed, not in a rush like eating in the car on the way to work. When we eat we need to focus on eating and not overthinking. Long term will cause our digestion to slow, as our mind will tend to wander about everything else besides focusing on our eating.
Whenever we sweat it is imperative that we wipe off our sweat once it appears on our skin. During these days the air will be very damp due to the amount of daily rain we receive. The outside dampness and humidity in the air may prevent our own sweat from leaving our body properly, causing the sweat to be trapped between our skin and muscle layer. This can sometimes trigger flu like symptoms like fever or heaviness of the body but especially body stiffness and aches due to the trapped water in our body. So be sure whenever you sweat to wipe it off completely.