Why Functional Medicine is important this fall

Fall in Florida is glorious, even though it appears in more subtle ways here than in other parts of the country.  The cooler air is a refreshing change from the heat of summer.  But no sooner does the weather start to change, then we hear warnings about cold and flu season approaching and pandemic numbers increasing.  Have you ever thought about how the change of season has an effect on health?  Functional medicine looks at how the body is supposed to function naturally and supports the body’s own healing systems.  

Does your skin get dry or itchy when the weather turns chilly?  The drier air of autumn dries out more than just our skin.  It can dry out our eyes, nose and throat.  We need moisture in the mucous membranes that line the nose and throat to create a barrier for unwanted microbes and to filter out dust and other particles. Mucous membranes protect our ears and eyes, too, and are an important part of the immune system.

Try these simple functional medicine tips this fall

To keep your skin, eyes, nose and throat from getting dried out with the change of seasons, here are a few functional medicine tips you can try.

Drink plenty of water and warm liquids such as tea and soup.  You can try a saline nose spray if your nostrils are extremely dry.  Avoid antihistamine nasal sprays or limit their use to three days at a time, because these can cause increased dryness and lead to rebound nasal congestion.

Fresh air is super important for avoiding coronavirus and flu because it reduces the concentration of dangerous microbes in the air.  Fresh air also helps oxygenate our bodies and lungs for better health.  Open windows when possible to air out your home, and spend some time outdoors in the refreshing fall weather.

Stay warm though, and avoid drafts on your face and neck.  Often in Florida, the air conditioning stays set for summer temperatures, and the inside air can be colder than the outside air!  Be sure to wear a scarf and sweater indoors if that is the case in your workplace or when shopping.  

Warming spices bring warmth to body and spirit

Warming spices that we think of for fall are helpful for bringing in warmth and energy to the body and spirit.  Spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves have a multitude of benefits, including antiviral and antibacterial effects and helping to increase healthy circulation.  

Try adding a cinnamon stick while brewing your favorite tea.  You can make a delicious and healthy tea by adding slice or two of fresh ginger root to a cup of hot water and steeping for 5-10 minutes.

Fall brings so many holiday treats, and it is easy to overindulge. However, too much sugar can weaken the immune system.  A nice fall treat with no added sugar is to cook some apples with cinnamon—just slice them up and gently poach in a small pot with about an inch of water and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  Add some raisins or prunes if you would like additional sweetness.  This is a moistening treat for your body, and it’s delicious for dessert or with breakfast.

Enjoy the fall season, wherever you are!  If you would like to work with me one on one, I am offering Functional medicine and Chinese medicine via telehealth. Fall is a great time to fine-tune your health naturally. Contact me through my website.