Fall is a wonderful time of year to revisit health and fitness goals. With the days getting shorter, the evening is a perfect time to try new cooking recipes or attend an exercise class at the gym. I have some easy wellness tips for the fall weather that will be helpful to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Shopping for produce in season is the best way to support Nature’s own gifts to keeping us healthy. In the summer fruits with vitamin C are in season and help calm allergies. In the fall and winter foods with vitamin A like squash, pumpkin, and carrots help prevent cold/flu by enhancing respiratory health.
Try experimenting with fall flavors and making healthy alternatives. For example, making your own pumpkin spice coffee drink can save money and calories. Take 1 cup coffee, 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree, 1 dash cinnamon, 1 dash nutmeg, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 teaspoon unsweetened vanilla, a half tablespoon raw honey and blend together for a delicious, homemade fall coffee.
Try baking apple halves (unseeded and cored) with a drizzle of raw honey and sprinkle of cinnamon in the oven for 30 minutes until soft for a healthy dessert.
For breakfast, make your morning smoothie thicker by adding less water, put it in a bowl and top it with pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, fresh fig pieces, fresh apple pieces and coconut flakes for a delicious breakfast alternative.
Try not to wait until January to make a healthy fitness resolution. Once it starts getting more rainy and darker weather, it will be easy to roll up into a ball on the couch instead of exercising. I recommend joining a gym before the new year to get a head start. Implementing some kind of sauna or steam in with an exercise routine can support the body’s natural detoxification process. Trying something fun like kickboxing, or indoor swimming can keep you fit indoors all year long.
As grilling season dwindles, consumption of fish goes down as well. To supplement omega-3’s instead of fish, try increasing foods like walnuts, chia and flax seeds into the diet. Taking a good quality fish oil with vitamin D3 can help support brain health and mood through the dark gray days of fall. Homemade bone broth can also help support collagen for healthy bones, nails, hair and skin.
Make an effort to socialize with friends and family this fall. Loneliness has been shown to shorten life longevity, and being social can help prevent chronic disease.
Visit a new place like a pumpkin farm, or go listen to music in a new restaurant.
Planning a trip for the spring will break up the gloomy weather days in the coming months. Try making new friends based on similar hobbies, chances are there are many people also looking to make new friends as well. If you have recently moved locations try to hold a neighborhood fall gathering to meet some new neighbors. Laughing and making new connections are good for the brain and body.
I hope all of these suggestions inspire you to make some simple healthy changes this season.
Dr. Allison Apfelbaum is a primary care naturopathic physician at Tree of Health Integrative Medicine clinic in Woodinville.