With the change in temperatures and kids back in school, this is the prime season for sickness in your house. Here are a few easy ways to help keep your family a little healthier this fall!!
-Eat those apples (and other seasonal fruit). Apples have been shown to strengthen your immune system. Other seasonal fruits such as pomegranates and citrus also help you fight fall illness by giving you a big boost of vitamin C and phytonutrients. Try to get 2-3 servings of these nutrient dense foods a day.
-Slow down. It seems like we always tend to be overwhelmed in September and October. For those with kids, the start of school is partial relief, partial stress creator. So as the air is turning colder, take some time out to relax and let your body renew. Even if it’s just 10 minutes a day, sit in your favorite spot and watch the world go by. Maybe have a cup of herbal tea. This helps keep your immune system healthy since stress can cause it to weaken!
-Part of slowing down is also getting your 8 hours of sleep a night. I know it’s hard to get 8 hours during the long days of summer. The shorter days make fall the perfect time to start a habit of getting to bed earlier and recommitting to 8 hours of sleep a night.
-Get those leafy greens. We often think of green for spring, but greens are also a perfect fall food. Greens grow better in the cooler weather, and are actually sweeter than when grown in the summer. So now is a perfect time to try kale or mustard greens, arugula or bok choi. Don’t forget the broccoli and cauliflower too!
-Wash up. One of the easiest ways for germs to spread is through hand-to-hand contact. You don’t have to get excessive about it, but be sure to wash your hands, especially after you sneeze or if you are traveling with lots of people.
-Spice it up. Spices have been used for centuries to boost your immune system. Try any of these spices to boost the flavor of your dishes, as well as strengthen your immune system. Turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, black pepper and more. For a wonderful relaxing drink that will help you slow down and boost your immune system at the same time, try some hot tea!
-Try some herbs. Many rave over the benefits of Echinacea, but I have a big fan of Astragulus. It can even be taken by those with auto-immune conditions because it is an adaptogen which means it is thought to help protect the body against various stresses, including physical, mental, or emotional stress. Like many herbs, you don’t want to take it forever. Instead, take it for week when you start feeling run down or if you’re traveling, take it a few days before, during, and then a few days after your trip.
-Mushrooms are great for increasing your white blood cells which are responsible for fighting off illness. Whether sautéed, marinated or raw, mushrooms are amazing foods. While maitake and shitake are the most coveted for the immune boosting powers.