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5 white-colored ingredients for lung health in the fall according to Chinese medicine

white colored foods in little bowls

According to the 5-element theory, Fall is the season of "metal" element, associated with the organs Lungs and Large intestines, and the color white.

As in nature where trees lose their dry leaves (their breathing organ), our body is sensitive to dryness. We get dry lips, dry skin and dry eyes, constipation with dry stools, and our lungs are prone to catching colds. It is crucial to eat moistening foods, and preferably of the color white, to be in harmony with the energy of the season.

Here are 5 ingredients that you can discover and favor this Autumn.

Chinese Yam (山药)

yam salad

Chinese yam (Shan Yao)

As an herbal treatment, Shan Yao is mainly used to strengthen the stomach and spleen, but also to help the lungs and kidneys. It can help treat low appetite, diarrhea, asthma, dry coughs & is favorable for patients with diabetes.

Chinese yam and other wild yam extracts are often offered to women as a natural alternative to postmenopausal hormone therapy.

It has wonderful antioxydant properties (1) and contains loads of micronutrients :

  • zinc

  • manganese

  • iron

  • copper

  • selenium

  • vitamin B-1

  • vitamin C

  • mucilage

  • amylase

  • amino acids

  • glutamine

It is both crunchy and slimy, and can turn to mush and puree if you cook it longer. The flavor is really mild and resembles parsnip. Try it !

Lotus Root

We all know and love the lotus flowers, but did you know that their roots were edible?

stir fried lotus

Lotus roots are crunchy and slightly slimy, and produce filaments when cut. They are delicious stir fried or in a soup.

The seeds can be soaked and added to congees or bone broth and calm the heart. It is rich in protein and vitamins.

  • rich in dietary fiber

  • potassium

  • iron

  • vitamins B and C

The combination of copper and iron serves to improve blood circulation in the body.

It’s also a low-calorie food that makes you feel full while getting a large amount of protein and nutrients in your diet.

Asian pears (Nashi) - Pears in general


Nashi pears, also know as apple-pears, asian pears or Korean pears are huge, juicy and crunchy pears with a golden/yellow rough skin and a white flesh. They share properties with other types of pears, though more potent.

They are moistening and can calm dry cough, especially when poached with a little honey and goji berries.

A medium sized pear will give you :

  • Vitamin C: 12% of the Daily Value (DV)

  • Vitamin K: 6% of DV

  • Potassium: 4% of the DV

  • Copper: 16% of DV

Lilly Bulb (百合)

mung bean and lilly bulb congee

Lily bulbs have a sweet and slightly cold nature, are associated with the Lung and Heart meridians. They are used medicinally to appease coughs, dry throats and other respiratory conditions, to clear away heat, and also to help with insomnia and heart palpitations. They are a Yin tonic and replenish fluids.

They are sold at the Asian supermarket, and can be added to soups, broths, congees or even deserts. A classic soup is lotus seed, lilly bulb, mung bean and rock sugar served hot or chilled !

Enoki Mushrooms

enoki mushrooms

Enoki shares the wild range of medicinal properties of mushrooms in general. Those include overall immune enhancing qualities, anti-oxydant and anti-cancer properties, helping in liver and stomach issues, controlling high blood pressure levels as well as healthy aging.

Lower in calories and high in nutritional content, Enoki mushrooms are a staple food included in daily meals throughout Asia.

They contain fiber, amino acids, and a wide array of important vitamins and minerals, including :

  • vitamin B3

  • vitamin B5

  • vitamin B1

  • vitamin B2

  • phosphorus

  • iron

  • selenium

  • calcium

  • copper

They are delicious stir-fried or boiled in a broth !



(1) Shin MY, Cho YE, Park C, Sohn HY, Lim JH, Kwun IS. The supplementation of yam powder products can give the nutritional benefits of the antioxidant mineral (cu, zn, mn, fe and se) intakes. Prev Nutr Food Sci. 2012;17(4):299-305. doi:10.3746/pnf.2012.17.4.299


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