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Preparing for Fall

Makoto Trotter B.Sc., N.D.

Whether you are ready to admit it or not the air is beginning to get cooler and the days shorter. It is the time of year when you should start thinking about keeping yourself healthy for the cooler seasons.

Humans are animals, and during preparation for the cooler months, our bodies tend to have different nutritional needs. Although we do not hibernate as many other mammals do, we do require foods that are different from the warmer months. Nature conveniently does give us what we need, and this is why eating seasonal foods is important. We do crave more carbohydrate foods, which is why sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin and turnip are healthy choices. Also, our digestive needs are different with the cooler weather and it is always easier on our bodies to eat foods that are prepared in a way that lessens the burden, such as stews and soups.

Fall allergies can be an issue for some people during the late summer and early fall months. The impact of fall allergies can be lessened by ensuring the intake of plenty of plant antioxidants and vitamin C. Quercetin – “nature’s antihistamine” – is a type of plant bioflavonoid found in apples and onions. Supplementation with quercetin and vitamin C several weeks in advance of allergy season can help to reduce allergy symptoms. Also, reduce your exposure to pollen by avoiding the outdoors during the early morning hours and staying away from areas where ragweed grows.

Exercise is important year-round, but during the cooler seasons it is especially essential to maintain a regular exercise routine. Many people become more sedentary during the fall and winter seasons, which can increase susceptibility to sickness. Exercise maintains a healthy flow of blood and ensures that the lymphatic system circulates properly.

Make sure you drink plenty of water, even if you are not as thirsty during cooler times. Drink room temperature or warmed water as it is easier for your body to process. Often we forget that although the outdoor temperature is cooler we are mainly exposed to a central heating environment. This can deplete our bodies and skin of moisture, which is necessary for elimination pathways to clear out pathogens and toxins.

Also, the days are getting shorter, and with less and less sunlight, we become depleted of the brain chemical, serotonin, which is key to controlling mood and sleep cycles. Although you can supplement with 5-HTP (a precursor to serotonin), it is also important to ensure you are getting as much sunlight as you can. Another option is to use full-spectrum light-bulbs at work or home. Be sure to get adequate sleep during the cooler months when your body needs it most.

There is no need to dread the coming cold, just be prepared to maintain your health and you will be able to enjoy the beauty of the changing seasons!




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