With back to school and cooler temperatures, fall is always the time of year when focusing on your health seems to be put on the back burner. You don’t have to let this busy time of year take the wind out of your sails though. There are certain things you can do to have a healthier fall for you and your family.

1. Make the most of seasonal foods
We always think about apples and pumpkins in fall because it’s prime season for them. While pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice lattes aren’t so good for us, roasted pumpkin, pumpkin soup, or even mashed pumpkin is delicious and nutritious.  Apples don’t need to go in pies to be sublime. Slice them up with your favorite nut butter smeared on top. Look for other seasonal foods that will do your health good, and you’ll find you can easily fill your plate with seasonal foods that you’ll love.

Additional nutrients that can help to boost your immune season and keep you healthy through the season are zinc and Vitamin C.  You can find zinc in meat, shellfish, legumes, nuts, seeds, dairy, whole grains and eggs.  Foods that are high in Vitamin C are guava, cantaloupe, broccoli, oranges, strawberries, kale, papaya, tomatoes and snow peas.

2. Prepare and protect from colds and the flu
Ideally, you should do this before you notice everyone around you sniffling and sneezing. Keep your hands off your face and keep them clean. Don’t forget good rest and a proper, healthy diet will help you, too.

But there is more to do to prepare and protect yourself from the upcoming cold and flu season. My top tips for getting through the cold and flu season relatively unscathed are as follows:

Check your Vitamin D3 levels.  Low Vitamin D3 is linked to a weaker immune system.  Keeping your D3 levels in the upper end of the range will go a very long way in supporting a stronger and healthier immune system.  I personally take 10,000IUs daily as my levels are quite low right now but I also make sure that I take it with a Vitamin K2 as it is a co-factor to D3 – meaning, you will absorb more D3 when you take it with K2.  Depending on where your levels are, a Vitamin D3 supplement anywhere from 2,0000IUs for maintaining adequate levels all the way to 10,000IUs/per day may be necessary.

Be sure your gut health is optimal.  We know that around 80% of your immune system is found in your gut.  If your gut health is less than optimal, this will set you up for a weaker immune system and more colds and possibly even catch the flu.  By taking care of your gut health, you naturally boost your immune system.  If you are struggling with digestive health or hormone imbalances (which are intricately connected to your gut health), be sure to take advantage of our FB group to learn more about what you can do to support optimal hormones and digestive health or schedule a free discovery session with me so that we can develop a plan to get your gut and/or hormones back on track.

Adding in a daily probiotic will go a long way to also supporting better digestion and gut health. I recommend looking for a probiotic with at least 7 different strains and a probiotic count of 20billion if you can tolerate it. (You may have to work up to this amount). Eating more fermented foods and making them a regular part of your diet will also help.  Fermented foods like Kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, or kombucha are all great additions to a healthy gut diet.  Bone broths are also a favourite of mind and something that I love so much this time of year.

Elderberry syrup is something that I never go without and always have on hand.  Even when sending our son off to his hockey academy prep school this year, we knew that in his little self-care kit, we had to make sure he had his elderberry syrup on hand.  Living in a dorm with 40 other boys and there is a high likelihood that if the flu hits, it’s not going to be so easy for him to escape it, so we made sure he was prepared.  The bioflavonoids in elderberries inhibit viruses from being able to infect a cell. Elderberries, on the other hand, target bacteria and viruses making them much more effective at knocking out colds and flu. Having elderberry syrup in your arsenal of natural healing products is a must to reduce symptoms faster and to lower the severity of those symptoms.

Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic remedy that has been found to temporarily relieve flu-like symptoms such as body aches, headache, fever, chills and fatigue and can reduce the length of time that you have the flu.  So again, if you find yourself coming down with flu like symptoms, this is another great item to have in your arsenal to help you get back on your feet soon, rather than later.

Essential oils also have very powerful antimicrobial affects and can go a long way to destroying those nasty germs that might be trying to make their way to you.  I have two favourites that I like to diffuse regularly in our home this time of year. Coat of Armour by Essante Organics is a certified organic essential oil that supports the immune system.

My other favourite is DefenseShield by Isagenix. Both of these oil blends are almost identical in their makeup but the Isagenix brand also has Frankincense in it which gives it extra immune boosting properties and it comes in just a little under the price of the Essante Organics oil. So if cost is a major factor for you when searching for essential oils to protect and support your family this season, Isagenix is the big winner with excellent quality oils to match even the biggest competitors but at a more affordable price point.

By taking care of yourself, even if everyone else gets sick, you’ll be less likely to succumb to the germs.

3. Stay out of the candy trap
If one of your favorite things about fall is Halloween then this is for you. My best friend loves Halloween and will admit that it is her favourite time of the year!  She has always thrown the most amazing  Halloween parties and I have never seen anyone create a more elaborate or convincing costume than her.  It’s a blast to decorate for and see all the kids in costume, but the most significant health problem we all face for this holiday is the surplus of candy. Tempting as it is to buy that big bag and stash it away for when the trick or treaters come around, don’t do it. If you can’t resist it, don’t buy it until just before Halloween, choose something you wouldn’t eat yourself, or even better, keep the neighbourhood happy and healthy by buying small sticker packs instead.  There are numerous healthy Halloween options to choose from!  And if your like me and want to just throw all that Halloween candy in the trash, you can come up with a fun game for your kids.  We have had the Halloween Goblin and the Switch Witch come by our house on Halloween night.  The kids simply leave their candy under the bed and in the morning find a gift that was left for them in exchange.

4. Get into the great outdoors
With the colder weather, it’s nice to get outdoors and enjoy the crispness on your cheeks. It’s nice for hiking, biking, or just enjoying the change in the seasons. Staying active during the fall is an excellent way to keep your health in exceptional condition.

5. Make wise celebration choices
Halloween is just the beginning. With fall comes the hockey season, football parties and then the holiday season where it’s an endless buffet of food, sweets, and ever-flowing libations. You don’t need to miss out on all the fun, but do choose wisely when you’re eating.  At parties, fill your plate up with veggies first before sampling sweets, so you’re too full to eat more than a bite or two. By doing that, you’ll avoid gaining weight by Christmas.

Don’t forget that fall should be fun, but if you fall into any of these fall pitfalls, take care and take steps to get back on track!

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