Tasty Medicine: Immune Boosting Secrets Worth Fall-ing For


We’ve already noticed an alarming number of coughers and sniffers around us on the metro, at the grocery store and in coffee shops. As the weather turns colder and days at school and the office get busier, we’re more likely to fall victims to these nasty germs. Since nobody has the time to get sick in fast-paced Shanghai, we thought we’d share some immune boosting secrets with you, all of which involve food! As well as keeping you fit and healthy for whatever the next weeks throw at you, these “medicines” are also quite simply delicious!



Loading up on vitamin-C is a tried and tested immune boosting method. Oranges are a great source of this nutrient, which increases production of infection-fighting white blood cells. Less well known is the fact that tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin-C. On colder nights mash and stew tomatoes into a warming soup for a hit of vitamin-C that also lowers rates of colon, prostate and breast cancer long-term. And while you’re on the soup making path, also consider cooking up some chicken broth. As well as keeping you hydrated, it raises the temperature of your airways, which loosens secretions and forces bugs and bacteria out.


In the mornings, try using yogurt on your cereal or as a base for smoothies to keep your gut healthy in Fall. Packed with probiotics, these good bacteria may help the immune system work better at the same time as aiding digestion.


Also think about replacing (or at least supplementing) your morning coffee with green tea. Its high quantity of polyphenols is responsible for the drink’s immune boosting effects. For maximum benefits, heat until just below building. Just don’t add milk because the proteins bind with the polyphenols, making them ineffective.


Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has long proved a source of wisdom for staying healthy during seasonal change. And since you’re living in China, there’s no better place to explore this philosophy.  Evan Pinto, L.Ac. Dipl. of TCM, from Shanghai SAN AI TCM Clinic estimates that about 80% of people experience some kind of health issues during Fall. This, he says, is caused by seasonal dryness, which leaves us vulnerable to sore throats, coughs, breathing problems and constipation. To protect against these, we must nourish our cool yin energy to moisturize the body inside and out. Replenishing fluids isn’t as simple as drinking water; we also need to eat certain foods to stay healthy.


April Li, graduate of Shaanxi University of TCM and Fields’ Marketing and Communications Assistant, explains that in TCM philosophy the body represents the five elements of life: earth, fire, wood, water and metal. In Fall, the metal phase, represented by the lungs, is most vulnerable, which is why we experience more respiratory problems.


Pinto recommends eating tofu, pears and grapes to strengthen the lungs and ward against internal dehydration. To keep skin moist and smooth during this dry period, he recommends eating dairy products, pork, eggs and beans. He also suggests tucking into tangerines, which dispel drying internal heat, moisten the lungs and relieve coughing. Apparently they’re also good for treating hangovers!


At the same time as boosting the lungs, April Li cautions against neglecting our wood phase, or liver. According to the five elements of TCM, metal restricts wood. While strengthening the lungs, we must also protect the liver; otherwise it will be “bullied” by the lungs, which leads to another set of health issues. Our wood phase is nourished by sour foods such as tomatoes, apples and mangos. Black rice, sticky rice and fish can also help with strengthening the liver’s energy and maintaining our natural balance.


So rather than waiting for the sneezing or stomach aches to start and then popping a Tylenol or Benadryl, plan a few meals around these immune boosting ingredients and breeze through these next weeks cough and cold free.


If you want to find out more about TCM and staying fit and well this Fall, check out Evan Pinto’s TCM drop in event at Shanghai SAN AI TCM Clinic on Sunday 15th September, 5pm – 9pm:


Try something new! Relieve stress, detoxify, boost immunity, and improve wellbeing. Learn about Traditional Chinese Medicine and how it can help you.


Auricular Acupuncture in a calm and friendly environment with a native English speaker.


RMB100, Cash only. Insurance not accepted at this event.
100% proceeds donated to Jiaya's Animal Rescue of Shanghai


Shanghai SAN AI TCM Clinic
320 East Jianguo Road near South Huangpi Rd. Luwan District
Subway: Line 9 to Madang Road Station or Line 10 to Xintiandi Station