As the days get shorter and the temperature drops, Autumn brings its own unique health opportunities and challenges. Kids are back and school and we all spend more time indoors which makes us more susceptible to colds and flu. We tend to be a bit less active and even indulge in “comfort foods”. Here are a few tips to keep you healthy with the bounty autumn brings.
· The days are shorter but temperatures are still moderate. Take advantage of crisp and colorful autumn weekends with some outdoor hiking or biking. Even long walks with your pets or loved ones are beneficial.
· Enjoy the foods that flourish in the fall like pumpkin, squash, and apples. These autumn foods are rich in vitamin A, C and B.
· Be sure to drink plenty of water even though the temperatures are cooler. Hot water with lemon is a great substitute.
· Green tea is also a healthy choice for warming up on those crisp fall days. It is full of anti-oxidants and has been shown to improve blood flow, lower cholesterol, reduce high blood pressure, prevent cancer and Alzheimers.
· Vitamin D supplementation is become more important in the fall as the days become shorter and we spend less time outdoors. Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, teeth, and has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes as well as elevate mood, improve cognitive disorders and reduce visceral fat and high blood pressure. Vitamin D has also been linked to improved immunity and virus/flu prevention.
· To prevent colds and flus be sure to wash your hands frequently and keep your immune system strong. Studies have shown that Vitamin D supplementation is more effective than flu shots, avoiding the risks associated with them. Also, if you do get sick, keep in mind that antibiotics are only good for bacterial infections like bronchitis and not appropriate for colds, viruses or flu.