For many of us (students, teachers, and parents), back-to-school means a schedule change. And getting back into a routine can be a challenge. For those whose schedule isn’t changing, we still have to get into the autumn groove and prep for impending weather changes, including things such as cold and flu season; changes in type of exercise; changes in the amount of daylight affecting sleep, mood, and energy; and holiday stressors and eating.
Below are my 10 Fall Health Tips to help guide you, so you can head into the season armed and prepared. NOTE: Please make sure to check with a healthcare practitioner if you are on medication, or if you have health issues and are just starting up an exercise routine.
- Fall Cleansing: I have read that the best times of year to do a general body detox are the spring and fall. There are many different cleanses available that incorporate juices, specific foods and spices, and/or supplements. Some of the supplements for a cleanse include: n-acetyl cysteine (NAC), vitamin C, glutathione, and/or MSM. (Note: When detoxing, it is recommended to start slowly and work your way into it.)
- Enhance Immunity: We can help boost our immune systems with a variety of healthy foods and supplements. We should increase our intake of foods rich in vitamin C, carotenoids, zinc, and antioxidants and can also add in supplements, including probiotics, omega-3s, vitamin D3, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and zinc.
- Seasonal Foods: In the summer, our refrigerator is full with fresh, local, nutrient-packed foods in vibrant colors. Autumn brings more great fruits and vegetables, like apples, pears, pumpkins, squash, parsnips, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. In the fall, we also cook more warm soups, stews, casseroles, and crockpot dishes. While these foods are delicious, foods that are stored longer or that cook for long intervals can lose more nutrients. It’s important we take a high-quality daily multivitamin and mineral formula to make sure we receive all of the nutrients we aren’t getting through our diet.
- Maintaining Healthy Eating: Prepping foods ahead of time with batch cooking and keeping healthy snack options available during back-to-school time helps for those on-the-go moments. This time of year is also filled with Halloween parties and Thanksgiving gatherings. Moderation is the key. Eating a healthy snack before the party can take the edge off of wanting to indulge in hors d’oeuvres or eat an entire pie. Also, certain supplements, like fiber and Ceylon cinnamon can help maintain a healthy blood sugar and control cravings for sweets.
- Exercise Plan: A schedule change can be a great opportunity to get back into an exercise routine. Also, in some areas of the country, the weather is changing and days are becoming darker and colder, so you may need to bring your activities indoors. If you were one to head outside and cycle, you may opt for an indoor spin class. If you are looking to enhance your exercise performance, some of these supplements may be a great addition: d-ribose, MCT oil, and various amino acids (L-glutamine, L-glycine, L-arginine, L-lysine, L-taurine). If you are just starting up an exercise routine, there are certain supplements that can help reduce recovery time following intense exercise, such as tart cherry, turmeric, ginger, boswellia, omega-3s, GLA, and glucosamine/chondroitin.
- Head into Nature: It has been proven that being outside and communing more in nature decreases stress levels and balances the hormones that regulate mood. This is crucial for this time of year when it’s getting darker outside earlier. Heading outside for exercise gives you the benefits from your workout and the sun.
- Daylight Savings Time Ends: This means the days get shorter. Sleep can become altered and irregular, moods can decrease, and energy levels may dip too. Some supplement options that can help with these are melatonin, CoQ10, and B vitamins.
- Maintain a Balanced Mood: To keep stressors at a minimum and stay balanced through the holidays, we should take time for ourselves. Doing things like spending time with good friends, getting a massage, going to a spa, being in nature, painting, journaling, meditating, watching a feel-good movie, listening to soothing music, or taking a class can help. Be sure to maintain healthy vitamin D levels, and if you need a supplement to support a healthy mood, we recommend: the omega-3 DHA, 5-HTP, L-theanine, B vitamins, and magnesium.
- Skin Health: Dry skin and chapped lips due to cold weather and dry air are common in the colder months. Apply healthy oils to your skin that are rich in vitamin E, use soaps and chapsticks with vitamin E, and be sure to get plenty of healthy oils internally (fish, cod, salmon, borage oil).
- Routine check-ups: Having your heart, vision, and D3 levels checked, plus a regular physical are a must in order to help make sure we’re maintaining optimal health.
These are just a few tips to help get you started toward a fruitful and healthy autumn season. Be sure to choose the things that work best for your lifestyle and schedule, so you are able to maintain them.