The fall season is where the leaves turn golden colors, the days become shorter with golden sunsets, and everything appears to have a peaceful, cooler air about it. It is also the season of cold and flu along with the lure to stay indoors and devour comfort food. The season where the average adult catches two to three colds, and children sneeze and sniffle even more.
This season is the perfect opportunity to hit the reset switch on your health routines. Regular exercising, healthy consumption, and plenty of relaxation can better your health so that it stays on course this season of fall. If these healthy habits continue, it is then a great way to further boost the immune system. Here are simple tips to stay healthy and well this fall!
1. Focus on healthy eating
Now is the time of year with a surplus of fruit and vegetables that will help your immune system be in tip-top shape. Citrus fruits (limes, oranges, and clementines), green veggies (like broccoli and kale), blueberries, persimmon, beetroot, and peppers are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants which are key to fighting off infections.
Therefore, it is a good idea to incorporate these big winners into your diet when it comes to boosting your health and immunity.
2. Get enough vitamin D
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium which is essential for strong bones. It not only helps with energy levels, but it is also great to keep fit and keep the mood up. We get most of our Vitamin D from the sun, so our intake declines when fall hits, considering we spend the majority of our time indoors during the season.
This is why it is important to invest in vitamin supplements or consume a diverse diet to secure appropriate levels of vitamin D. Cod liver oil, salmon, tuna, and milk are a few ways to get vitamin D. Eggs and fatty fish such as Alaska salmon and Alaska halibut, which are wild-caught, sustainable, and also provide essential omega-3 fatty acids are good picks.
3. Keep hydrated (and drink smart)
Hydration is vital for trapping viruses and bacteria that try to penetrate through the nose. According to the nutrition expert, Largeman-Roth, “If your nasal passages are dried out, they cannot trap and get rid of the things that might make you sick”. Also, if a person gets an illness that causes them to be exhausted to drink well, previously good hydration habit will provide them better reserves and make them less likely to need IV fluids.
As the climate continues to become cooler, the body can expend as much fluid as it would have in hot climates due to the steep rates of energy consumed in the colder climates. Also, kudos to heavier clothing, you’ll sweat more. An appropriate water intake will also keep your skin supple, which can be a problem as the weather gets drier. Do not quit your water consumption rate even as fall sweeps into winter, too.
4. Nourish with seasonal foods, spices, and medicinal herbs.
This is the time to warm our bodies with immune-supporting broths, soups, and ground vegetables. Roasted squash, roots, sautéed dark leafy greens, brussels sprouts, crab apples, and turnips are all great choices. Focus on doing a clever switch from comfort foods to these lots. There’s nothing like a tasty, rich soup on an invigorating fall day. Instead of preparing a calorie-rich cream chowder, consider opting for a veggie soup filled with fiber-rich vegetables like spinach. Or slather sweet potatoes with coconut oil and cinnamon instead of butter. Remember again that, “The salty broth also can help thin out mucus, just like cold medicine!”
Add warming spices like ginger, turmeric, and chilies to your foods, which have great health benefits to help keep bugs at bay. They are also great for flavor and warm our bodies up from the inside – a ‘need’ on a cold day. There are also garlic and onions with the element allicin, which fights infection and bacteria.
5. Prioritize sleep
It is good to aim at sustaining a sleep routine of seven hours at the least and keeping your regular waking and bedtime periods the same as the remainder of the year.
Staying up too late and getting up too early may help you get all your work done, but it can place you at risk of catching a cold or flu. Deborah Gilboa, MD, family doctor, recommends, “Turn off tech at least an hour before bed, avoid caffeine in the afternoon, use lavender to relax before bed. And Instead of a glass of wine in the evening, try a cup of relaxing peppermint or chamomile tea.”
Mild to moderate exercise will improve sleep, reduce levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), and also strengthen the body’s ability to fight off colds. It can also contribute to getting enough sleep at night. Inactivity from being indoors during these cooler months causes stagnation of the lymphatic systems, slows down our circulation and metabolism, and challenges our immune system.
Whether you choose apple picking, yoga in the park, or a hike to see fall’s showy colors, make sure you keep your body moving. An advice is to try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days
7. Keep Skin Moisturized
Harsh temperatures can make your skin dry. Even though we wrap up warm, with the cold and blustery weather, our skin can become very dry. Moisturize your hands and face to protect from the elements and lips too to prevent them from becoming chapped.
8. Get A Flu Shot
No one likes sniffling, aching, sneezing, and coughing getting in the way of life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting the once-a-year flu vaccine before October’s end. The vaccine can reduce flu illnesses, missed work, and doctor’s office visits.
9. Take Time Out and Practice Relaxation Techniques
After hectic seasons of springs and summers, our bodies will typically be on a slow mode. This can lead to you feeling more stressed out, particularly in the run-up to Christmas and the New Year. With minimal activity and more increased hours spent inside, the ability to manage stress helps us avoid cabin fever by reaching in to locate calm and direction.
Make a habit of bringing calm, soothing energy to your day, such as running a hot herbal bath, practicing mindfulness or meditation, exercise is also a great way to relieve stress. Pay attention to what your body needs and respond to it without beating yourself up! Avoid conjuring negative mental energies but positive ones.
10. Don’t forget doctors’ appointments.
Many people have been waiting to schedule routine screenings, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, and doctors’ appointments until the pandemic is over. Don’t let these important routine healthcare appointments wait any longer.
11. Keep up COVID-Safe Protocols
Remember to continue the practice of the COVID safety basics. You must get vaccinated if you have not already done so. Put on a mask that fits snugly over your nose and mouth, whether in common areas or while with other people indoors whom you are not uncertain have vaccinated.
Avoid contact with your face with unwashed hands. Always wash your hands with soap after feeling probably contaminated surfaces. Try to continue to maintain social distance from others as much as possible. The very best way to avoid the spread of germs is to scrub your hands with warm soapy water. But if you cannot do that, hand sanitizer is the second-best option.