After this week, it sure does feel like fall is in full swing, with shorter days and nightfall before dinner time, hibernation sets in. Unfortunately, it also means the start of the cold and flu season. Most of us can expect at least one cold this season; hopefully, these 6 health tips will keep you feeling healthy all winter long.
1). Good hand hygiene. With colds going around everywhere you want to make sure you wash you and your little ones hands frequently. Remember to clean light switches and door handles regularly and change tooth brushes after a cold.
2). Sleep. We all know a good nights sleep is essential to good health. Research suggests 8 hours of sleep a night and if you have young ones aim for 10-12 hours of sleep/day.
3). Healthy diet. A good diet is essential for the immune system. Berries might be out of season but visit your local farmers market and you’ll find apples, pears, beets, kale, brussel sprouts, carrots, and squash. With fall we think hearty, comfort foods such as casseroles, soups and chili’s , remember to continue to eat a variety of vegetables and fruit. Aim for rainbow colors and choose at least one green and orange vegetable per day.
4). Choose Immune boosting foods. In addition to eating your daily fruit and vegetables, be sure to incorporate immune boosting foods to help support and build your immune system.
1) Healthy bacteria- yogurt, kefir, miso, tamari, and kombucha.
2). Aromatics- garlic, onions, & leeks
3). Protein- fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, lentils, legumes, tofu, Greek yogurt and meat.
5). Omega 3 fatty acids. Winter blues? Try taking an omega 3 fatty acid supplement. Not only do these essential fatty acids help protect us against heart disease and improve cognitive function; studies have shown they can improve mood. Seafood is an excellent source of the omega 3 fatty acid, DHA, but most of us don’t eat enough. Ask a pharmacist or knowledgeable health professional about fish oil supplements and look for one that contains the correct amount of DHA/EPA.
6). Exercise. Its hard to get motivated to exercise when its dark before dinner but exercise also boosts our immune system. Try something new like a yoga class, how about family skate day, or head up to the mountains for some winter fun. Remember to keep moving.
7). Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps build strong bones and teeth and boost the immune system. With shorter days during the fall and winter months, there is less sun for our body to synthesize Vitamin D. Talk to your doctor or health care professional about taking a Vitamin D supplement and about the correct amount.
Hopefully these 6 health tips will help keep the doctor away!