Autumn to Spring: Food Changes to Observe
The calendar swishes like the leaves on the footpath. But there is more to this rustle, this tiny-looking change. As we pour from one season to another; our bodies, minds and moods undergo a torrent of changes. You can’t be eating the same stuff you had last week. You can’t be drinking the same delight that kept you cozy this winter. Wait, are you?
The Switch of Seasons – Why it matters?
As the earth and Sun, move around equator and latitudes; their effect, on the light that humans and plants receive, brings pronounced changes on our body’s constitution and ability to consume or gain from certain elements.
In fact, our bodies have their own internal calendars that govern most of our processes, health stability and, hence, also disorders. There is a cluster of thousands of cells that switch between the ‘winter’ state and the ‘summer’ state as per nature’s cycle. Some researchers at the University of Manchester and the University of Edinburgh have discovered more about these ‘calendar cells’ that release hormones in the body – you are either in a winter body or a summer body- it’s all binary most of the times. In the passage through spring or autumn, some cells may be in winter mode and some in summer mode- and that’s why it becomes extra-important to watch what we eat and how we think.
Plus there is something called the SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder which magnifies a human’s disposition to the wrong side. This is an indication of how seasonal behaviour can determine the way we react to our surroundings, the weather, the food, the mind-triggers etc.
Translating it all to – Food
Food is both an indicator and a cause of our health (and overall well-being). As seasons undergo their annual clocks, we have to be careful about the concomitant changes that should reflect in our diet and daily habits too.
We cannot be eating everything in all the seasons. Care and cognisance about seasonally-apt food are helpful for our bodies to undertake transitions smoothly enough. Note what the researchers at the University of Cambridge have found out about human genes. Turns out, those genes that are involved with immunity became more active in the cold. So our body’s tendency to keep guard is heightened in the winter but may deplete as we crawl towards days that keep getting less nippy.
Also, hormones responsible for burning fat and insulin management like adiponectin are steered by these annual circadian rhythms. So changing what’s on our plate is smart from a weight-management angle as well.
The good news is that planning for a season-wise regimen does not need a lot of effort. Just watch what’s out there and put it on your table. Nature has its way of showing us what’s good for a certain season. That’s why you will see mangoes or melons in the market during a summer day. That’s why leafy vegetables, roots and citrus fruits pop out so vibrantly during a winter grocery-walk. The thumb rule is – eat more of what’s in the season rather than the other way around.
As winter fades, our need for warmer foods to guard us against sickness gets a little less grave. You can shrink your carbohydrate and dairy-content as well as forget that bowl of soup or ghee. Rice, whole grains and saline-based food choices work great for winter diets, but as we move towards spring and summer, we need to slowly move towards foods that are cooler and lighter.
Spring is also a special phase to watch for respiratory illness, given the marked-shift in weather and consequent cold-related ailments. Expel moisture and cold-prone foods as much as you can. Pick herbal honey.
As spring enters your windows and happy outdoor-days, you should also move out and about. If autumn is the time to indulge in legumes, herbs and warm food-items; then spring is the time to detox and cleanse the body of both fat and other extra-baggage. Get high on exercise. Grab that extra helping of fresh produce. Go for artichokes, asparagus, carrots, mint, peas, strawberries and vitamin-K-rich choices that can help fight inflammation and help you pass from one season to another without hiccups.
Try to stay away from processed food as that is not aligned with seasonal changes. Pick what nature has picked for you – pure, fresh and as per the season.
Leave the heavy and grounding food that worked for winter. Embrace the fresh change that’s around on trees. Get used to more colours than the grey and green you were habitual of. It is the time for beet, strawberries and spring onions.
Spring is in the air. Make some room for it on your plate too.