It’s that time, the great season of the apple reigns supreme! In the day and age of produce being available year-round against the grain of seasonality, the beauty of a fresh and humble apple in Fall can be lost. But who can deny the lovely, crisp, dewy flavor of a fresh apple picked in the orchard? Now is the time to enjoy nature’s gift, especially in this wonderfully abundant agricultural land of Washington.
The many faced apple
Maybe it’s just me. I love apples. While I grew up in Maine, I have been lucky to have lived in Hawaii, Oregon and Arizona as well. All these places offer up premium fruits. Hawaii has the exotic tropical fruits, Arizona produces bright citrus beauties, and Oregon has berries, and stone fruits that you want to write home about.
However, it is the humble Washington apple that I eat day in and out in the Fall, with great pleasure. It can become so many different things: cobbler, pie, pork’s best friend, apple sauce, curry, chutneys, the list goes on. While pie comes to mind easily, apples have many savory applications. Simply Google “savory apple recipes” and prepare to be inspired.
Does it really keep the doctor away?
It’s no accident that nature gives us certain edibles during specific times of year. Apples ripen in the time, according to Chinese medicine, that is ruled by the Lung and Large Intestine organ networks. After the heat of summer, both networks can still be struggling with lingering heat or dryness. Additionally, Fall is a time of wind and dryness in the climate, directly affecting our bodies. Symptoms often experienced during Autumn include cold/flus, cough, sinusitis or rhinitis, respiratory issues, constipation, and a variety of allergy issues.
Apples are cooling to the lungs, produce fluids in the body in general, but particularly to moisten lung dryness. Keeping the Lung system moist during Fall helps it maintain proper resiliency against pathogens, and allows for more spacious breathing. On this note, if you’ve recently quit smoking, apples can begin to clear out heat accumulated in the lungs from cigarette smoke, starting the healing process.
Generally speaking, apples are regarded for their fiber content. Chinese medicine recognizes the humble apple to have many healing properties for the digestive system. They can help regulate blood sugar, aid indigestion, and have a regulating effect on the intestines – meaning they can be helpful in cases of constipation or diarrhea. The pectin content of apples can lower cholesterol, as well as detoxify the body from metals and other residues.
It should be noted, that the less traveled and more organic your apple, the more benefits you will reap. One more reason to buy local!
If an apple can do so much…
Notice I never mentioned what vitamins apples contain or their carbohydrate count. Chinese nutrition views foods through the lens of specific flavors, temperature, organ affinity, and food’s effect on the body (building heat, cooling, increasing yin or yang). In turn, dietary needs are individualized, and in harmony with seasonal changes. For a simple example, if you have a flu with sweating, high fever, and congestion, you’ll eat cooling, aromatic foods.
Your practitioner can give you food suggestions based on your current condition. Following simple guidelines can make a big difference in the course of your healing, as you contribute daily to your own well-being through food.
If you want to know more about how to nourish yourself for optimum health all year long, check out Thompson Family Acupuncture founder Lindsey Thompson’s Nutrition Video Series. For less than the cost of an acupuncture appointment, you can have lifetime access to empowering educational content and simple recipes that will help you understand your acupuncture treatments more and give you the tools for better nutrition.
So, here’s to the humble apple, and its many incarnations it will take in kitchens this Fall. Whether you enjoy yours with a dab of peanut butter, or fresh and clean, it’s the time to get your apple feasting on. Cheers!
Amanda Johnson (AJ) practices at Thompson Family Acupuncture Clinic in Walla Walla, WA. She loves to show patients how Chinese medicine is fantastic at relieving body pain, aiding recovery and enhancing vitality. When not in the clinic, she will be out hiking, cycling, or playing in the water.