3 Crucial Ways To Boost Your Immune System During The Autumn
While the arrival of autumn ushers in the coziest time of year, our favorite cozy sweater-themed pumpkin-spiced season also marks the start of flu season and cold-weather illnesses, autumnal allergies, fatigue, comfort eating, weight gain, tiredness, lethargy, headaches, and travel sickness.
If the emergence of fall has got you worried about your health, that is understandable, especially with COVID-19 still being an issue across the globe. This season, while full of earth-toned beauty and holidays that we all love, is sadly a dangerous time for our wellness. It can put a pretty big damper on our seasonal fun.
Whenever fall comes along, it’s always a good idea to start preparing to keep your immune system as protected as possible. During the shift from warmer weather to cooler fall weather, a strong immune system is essential.
Not only does the colder weather increase your chances of sickness, but autumn is a time of extreme dryness, which presents challenges to the immune system. The drier air leaves your lungs parched, increasing your risk of infection.
Additionally, if you have kids or even grandchildren, Fall is also 'back to school' time and sadly further increases your exposure to bacteria and viruses.
To make matters worse, the rapid approach of holidays and its temptations of indulging in warm sugary comfort foods also poses an issue. Excess sugar doesn't just reap havoc on your weight, but also your immune system. If you consume sugar, for example by eating a slice of pie, the consumption of sugar curbs the efficacy of your immune system cells that usually attack bacteria and viruses. So, you'll be more susceptible during that time to picking up a sickness or flu.
You see why now is the crucial time to work on keeping a healthy immune system to fight off those pesky cold-weather infections and diseases.
Of course, no matter what someone tells you, there isn't a 'one size fits all' magical pill, treatment, or food that can ensure that you stay sickness-free all autumn. However, there are some amazing tactics you can implement into daily life during this cozy season to help keep your immune system strong.
Here, you're about to discover the best lifestyle and dietary steps you can take to prepare your body for the autumn and keep it humming all Fall, without having to give up all the fun foods and activities and that you love!
1. Maintain Good Sleep Hygiene
Ever wonder why you have less energy during the colder months? Well, a big reason why you tend to feel more tired and lethargic during the autumn is due to changes in your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
As the days shorten, the lack of sunshine causes your brain to produce more of the sleep-regulating hormone named melatonin. This makes you feel sleepy and has a significant impact on how energetic you are.
For some, these changes can lead us to sleep at weird hours, like napping too often during the day or waking earlier, therefore likely causing you to sleep less at night. Others might just fall into hibernation mode and just sleep more often. However, over-sleeping is damaging to your energy levels.
To make matters worse, our days become more hectic in the autumnal months. As school traffic and/or school runs return and holiday obligations approach, they can all lead to further disruption in our sleep schedules.
Sleep deprivation can lower your immunity and increase inflammation. This can increase your risk of catching a cold or flu after being exposed to a virus and can affect how fast you recover from a sickness.
I think we all know that taking the time to ensure we get sufficient sleep can be tough when we run around all day and the light is affecting our mood. Nonetheless, you must get around seven to eight hours of sleep a night.
To establish the best quality sleep regardless of of the fall months, let’s take a quick look at some useful tips for better sleep in the autumn:
- Keep a balanced internal clock - by sticking to regularly waking up and going to bed at roughly the same time every day, including on the weekends. This will help provide your sleep-wake clock a chance to reset properly every day, so you'll feel tired and rested at the right times.
- Keep the blinds closed for total darkness while you sleep and turn off all the devices in your room. This will help in melatonin production during the night and let your body know it's time for rest.
- Most doctors find that the best bedroom temperature for sleep is approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit. So, set your room temperature to around 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Open your curtains and let sunlight in as soon as you wake up and get outside in the sunshine as much as possible. This will boost your mood during the day and help in controlling our light/dark cycle aka the day/night cycle, which assists our body in knowing when to feel tired and when to feel awake.
- As I mentioned earlier, the air is drier in the fall. This is what can cause that pesky autumnal sore throat, dry skin, and itchy nose, all of which aren't exactly conducive to a good night’s sleep. However, using a humidifier in your bedroom will help keep the air moist and prevent these issues from wrecking havoc on your sleep.
2. Regularly Drink Tea
Whether you want to get into the jolly holly spiced season, guard your immunity, or simply warm up, tea should be your go-to. From cinnamon and, herbal to ginger, chocolatey, roast-ey to caramel-ey, there are an endless amount of tea choices that can not only provide some healthy autumnal cozy drinks to snuggle up with but also provide a plethora of benefits.
Tea is useful for everything from soothing sickness to boosting our immunity systems.
While the antioxidants in tea vary depending on the type of herbs, teas like green, black, rooibos, and hibiscus are rich sources of a very special specific kind of antioxidant called flavonoids. Flavonoids have a detoxifying effect that can help your body ward off everyday toxins and protects cells from free radicals.
Although green tea is the most commonly associated tea with immune-boosting qualities, there is a wide variety of antioxidant-rich and immune system-boosting teas out there.
Here at Wise Ape Tea, we actually offer unique wellness-driven, fun, and flavorful tea herb blends. Our consciously crafted tea blends merge traditional tea leaves with ancient adaptogenic herbs to deliver a unique experience of function and flavor in every sip.
3. Introduce The Season Into Your Diet
Eating the season isn't just a fun way to incorporate the autumn into what you eat, but also has wellness perks.
Choose local whole foods that reflect the colors of Fall for an immunity boost. Head to the local farmers market, and look for naturally orange, red, white, yellow, and dark green whole foods to add to your diet.
Seasonal foods like root vegetables, pears, onions, garlic, white beans, winter melons, tofu, and cauliflower and have super strong antioxidant properties.
Garlic is incredible because it's high in allicin, a compound that can impede free radicals that harm tissue and cells. Research has found that cooking with garlic can reduce the number of sick days out by 61%.
Other sweet wholesome foods you should opt for are citrus, sweet, and sour heavy fruits such as avocados, oranges, bananas, grapefruit, and pineapples - they contain Vitamin C which is known for flu relief and helping in symptom prevention.
Draw on your natural need for cozy warming foods during the colder months by indulging in a high-protein, high-fat diet, but in the form of lean warm, heavy, oily foods that will replenish our exhausted moisture reserves and keep us strong and healthy. Nuts, seeds, lean meats like cage-free chicken, deep-sea fish, and olive oil all will help in keeping our bodies nourished.
Studies have also shown that good bacteria can significantly reduce your risk of getting colds and cases of flu.
So, nourish your digestive system with fermented foods that help boost healthy gut flora like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir and miso help boost healthy flora in the intestines.
Lastly, try to reduce the number of refined sugars and flours in your current diet. Junky refined foods cause immunity malfunctions and deplete your body of nutrition.
These nutritious choices will make a wonderful difference toward boosting your body over time and keep you functioning during the darker days.
Have a healthy, happy autumn...
As we head into Fall, the colder weather means a lethargic immune system and higher susceptibility to catching illnesses.
However, you now have the tools to simply and cleverly outsmart the negative effects that come with autumn’s arrival. These 3 strategies are crucial to creating a calmer, less tiring, happier, healthier, and hopefully less prone to colds and flu season.
When you incorporate these tips, we're confident that this fall you'll get the most fun out of this season while staying healthy and vibrant.
If you're ready to step up your health game? Here at Wise Ape Tea, we make fun flavored, wellness-inspired, adaptogenic, herbal tea blends, that can add bold flavor and rich health perks to your autumn. So, why not fill up your Fall mug with Wise Ape Tea? Click here to learn all about our amazing tea flavors with super amazing health benefits.
This informative article is written, by Sophia Mckenzie. Sophia is head content creator and writer, for several premium websites, where her expertise lie in health, nutrition, and wellness. Her content is heavily focused on providing and sharing doable solutions to help people truly thrive, and live their happiest, healthiest, fulfilled life.