We’ve all heard of giving our diets a ‘spring clean’, but who’s to say the kitchen shouldn’t be given the same degree of attention come autumn time? Seasonal transitions, be they from winter to spring or summer to autumn, bring with them a whole host of changes. While our bodies are clever enough to both recognise and begin adapting to the shifts in weather, it certainly doesn’t hurt to give them a helping hand through complementary nourishment.
Much like spring time, it’s out with the old and in with the new; prime time for another overhaul of mind, body and soul- beginning with optimum nutrition. We all know our bodies can take a bit of a hit this time of year, so there couldn’t be a better time to make the necessary tweaks and adjustments to help us sail through the darker months. During a period often equated with hibernation, grounding and warmth, it’s time to fully align our bodies with the chillier season. For the sake of our wellbeing, it’s important that we focus on upping the immune boosting qualities of our diet through the integration of certain seasonal ingredients, tonics and rituals.
1. Super spices
In summer time we tend to find our body craving fresh, light and cooling foods, meaning most of the spicy immunity boosters like chilli, ginger and cardamom get pushed to the back of the cupboard. Remember what we said about our bodies being clever seasonal homing devices? That there is why images of waking up to a bowl of sweet and creamy cinnamon topped porridge and cosying down to a piping hot bowl of spicy butternut squash soup begin playing on our minds as this time of year rolls around. Spices re-emerge as the core component of any autumn / winter themed dish, and not for their taste alone.
Some of our favourites are incredibly supportive of digestion, which can tend to become a little sluggish with the colder weather. You’ll find us sipping on fresh ginger root steeped tea with a squeeze of lemon throughout the day to keep our insides warm and our digestive fire alight.
One of Team AH’s favourite autumnal bedtime tonics is a combination of a spicy Mexican hot chocolate with everyone’s favourite turmeric latte. Meet the Mexican turmeric hot cacao. Simply blend a cup of warm almond milk with:
- anti-inflammatory spice turmeric
- antioxidant-charged cacao
- blood sugar-balancing cinnamon
- digestion soothing cardamom
- and metabolism-revving cayenne (for that special Mexican twist)
Next time you snuggle down with a warm drink, give this special seasonal elixir a go. We promise both body and tastebuds will be eternally thankful.
2. Hydration hydration hydration
Before you say it, we know. The call to drink more water is proclaimed through out the year- so why is it particularly relevant to autumn time? Believe it or not, dehydration is just as common around this time of year as summer. Just as our skin can take a real beating in the windier weather, becoming dry and coarse, so too can our hydration levels. A dehydrated body lacking in fluids can very quickly become a haven for seasonal bugs and colds. Flushing out toxins becomes that bit more strenuous, rendering our immune system far more susceptible to picking something nasty up.
While the sensation of dehydration is easy to notice in the summer heat, the desire to drink water inevitably drops as the temperature does. A simple hack can be to opt for lukewarm water, perhaps even flavoured naturally with some lime and mint leaves. Not only does this make the taste far more appealing, but the warmer temperature also helps to keep the aforementioned digestive fire burning.
3. Cooked is key
A noticeable pattern emerges when considering our diets throughout the year: the connection between our immune system, nutrition and digestion. While we favour crunchy, raw salads, juices, smoothies and cool cool gazpachos in the warmer weather, it’s best to put these on the back burner come autumn and winter. Our digestion is significantly stronger in the heat, and can break down raw food with more ease. On the other hand this time of year, it can become a little slower. With this in mind, now is the optimum time to re-introduce warm, cooked foods seasoned with immune boosting spices.
Think hearty stews, dhals, broths and porridge. While these dishes can often make us feel heavier and weighed down in the summer time, they provide the grounding and inner warmth our bodies require and desire with the seasonal change. They possess the power to nourish us from the inside out on multiple levels, strengthening digestion alongside comforting the soul.
4. Skin food
Dry, irritated skin is a common struggle as autumn rears its head. While we can do our best to upgrade the moisture rich qualities of our beauty regime, there are particular foods guaranteed to keep us glowing too. If they weren’t already, omega-rich ingredients alongside plenty of healthy fats are are about to become your skin’s best friends. You simply can’t go wrong with upping your intake of oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines. And who could forget the infamous avocado! it may be the most overrated cliche in wellness, but there’s a reason for its popularity. A creamy, vegan alternative to butter in smoothies and on toast, the once humble green fruit is packed full of skin loving monounsaturated fats- otherwise known as the ‘good kind’ of fat.
With your skin being the largest organ in your body, it’s a massive indicator of how your immune system is doing. The two work in harmony; if one is off balance, there are inevitable consequences on the other. There’s never been a better time to crank up your antioxidant intake to keep both happy. Blackberries, broccoli and sweet potato are rich sources, not to mention are ripe and ready this time of the year in the UK. Antioxidants are responsible for boosting collagen production in the body, something many of us know as the holy grail of long-lasting smooth and supple skin. Say goodbye to spending your lifesavings on supposedly ‘collagen-boosting’ lotions and potions, and eat your way to glowing winter skin!