‘Tis the season for changing leaves and spooky pumpkins. For most people, fall means cooler temperatures, raking leaves and weekend footballs games along with the knowledge that the holiday season is not far away. Whether you’re biggest temptation is Halloween goodies or Christmas cookies, fall also brings with it a host of tummy troubles and, of course, cold and flu season.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that influenza is really a threat all year long, but it peaks during fall and winter and is especially prevalent during the months of December and February. According to the CDC, the average flu season even stretches into May.
That is why your family doctor will start encouraging you to take steps to keep from getting sick right around September and October. Consider four tips that will help you and your family remain healthy this year through the fall and winter months.
What constitutes seasonal produce though? It depends on where you live. People living in California might look for avocados, apples and even cantaloupe during the fall months. If you live in Nebraska, though, look for mint, peppers and, of course, pumpkins.
It’s important to add plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables to your diet because they provide the most nutrition. It’s possible that food grown locally will have fewer pesticides and herbicides, as well. In addition, local vegetables have a ‘local’ load of bacteria that your body is more familiar with such as non pathogenic forms of E. coli. The local, familiar bacterial load is one of the best reasons for locally grown preference. Don’t be afraid to ask growers at your local farmer’s market about how the food is grown and what kinds of pesticides they use before purchasing. Keeping it local also gives back to the community, which is always a plus.
Your body’s need for water doesn’t change just because the temperature drops. Unfortunately, you might feel like drinking less water because you’re not outdoors as much or dealing with the heat.
Drinking water helps maintain fluid balance whether it’s July or December. A lack of it can affect digestion, circulation, body temperature and the transportation of nutrients. Water will also keep you from binging on all those goodies that pop up in fall and winter like candy and cookies. Drinking a glass of water before Thanksgiving dinner, for example, is an effective strategy to keep from overeating.
Water doesn’t have to be boring, though. You can try drinking different kinds of teas as the air gets cooler outside. Maybe make a game of it for the whole family using a free water app to manage your intake. No matter how you go about making sure you get plenty of water, it’s a positive way to support your immune system and improve your overall health.
Sleep habits play an important role in fighting off colds and the flu, according to one 2009 study. Researchers from Pennsylvania studied the sleep habits of 153 men and women for 14 straight days. What they found was poor sleep and short sleep durations — typically under seven hours — could triple a person’s risk of catching the common cold. They suggest that eight hours or more of sleep enhances the immune system, making it easier to avoid getting sick.
You might not immediately connect the dots between your gut and your immune system but almost 80 percent of immune cells are located there. Dan Peterson, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine explains that the cells lining the gut excrete large quantities of antibodies that help fight off infection. The pathogens that cause disease enter the body through the gut, too. Probiotics are essential to good gut health. Considering that most of the immune system is in the gut, that’s a critical part of staying healthy. Try Natren’s Healthy Trinity that can provide targeted support to all key regions of your gastrointestinal tract. If you’re traveling during the holidays it’s a great idea to start on a probiotic regimen a few weeks before your trip as well as taking them during and after your trip for the best possible results. For more information on traveling with probiotics visit us here: https://www.natren.com/probiotics-travel.html
Fall is a wonderful time of year, so enjoy the crisp air and cooler temperatures, just be ready for cold and flu season when it hits.