Adapting From Season to Season: The Fall Edition
As the leaves change colour and the trees prepare for sleep, it is a reminder that we, too, must adapt and transition into fall. Every season requires a little mental and physical adjustment. Whether it is stepping into a new routine or building new habits, fall is a great time to reset, reflect, and redirect our intentions and most importantly to give our immune system the support it needs to be prepared for these transitions.
Three fundamental ways to support our immune system and overall well being include: sleep, movement and diet. These three components are fundamental building blocks to a healthy, productive and optimal lifestyle.
Why does sleep matter? Sleep is by far one of the most natural immune boosters. It affects our memory, our mood, our mental health, our ability to function and overall happiness and health. While we sleep, our bodies recover, repair and reset in order to prepare us for the next day. This process of recovery includes the reduction in cortisol levels (our stress hormone), the secretion of critical hormones and muscle restoration.
Tips to Improve Sleep:
Build a consistent sleep schedule - going to bed and waking up at the same time and getting 7-9 hours of solid sleep is essential.
Drink chamomile or lemon balm tea
Invest in black out and noise reducing blinds
Listen to white noise if you live in the city
Take magnesium bisglycinate before bed
No electronics at least 1 hour before bed
Read a non-stimulating book
Meditation (eg: download the app insight timer)
Breathwork (such as box breathing)
Four simple breath segments done to a count of four. Inhale 2 3 4,
Hold 2 3 4,
Exhale 2 3 4,
Hold 2 3 4
Avoid food before bed, especially foods high in sugar
Avoid caffeine late in the evening, limit caffeine intake if sensitive and avoid it for at least 6 hours prior to sleep
We spend 1⁄3 of our lives sleeping and it is crucial for cognitive function and survival!
Movement doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous or intense. It can be as simple as stretching, meditation and breathing. Anything that anchors your mind to your breath and to your body is a
prerequisite for calming the nervous system and alleviating stress. Our immune system is significantly compromised under high levels of stress. Always keep in mind that when you don't feel like moving the most, is when you need it the most.
3. Diet - Food is Medicine
A diet full of whole foods, antioxidants, and warm nourishing foods are a few of the essentials to support our immune system. An increase in Polyphenols and Vitamin C are two great ways to support the immune system.
The Importance of Polyphenols:
Polyphenols are reducing agents, and together with other dietary reducing agents, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Carotenoids, referred to as antioxidants, protect the body's tissues against oxidative stress and associated pathologies such as cancers, coronary heart disease and inflammation.
They are able to scavenge free radicals and are an incredibly beneficial antioxidants as they
are highly anti-inflammatory and help regulate our immune system. Polyphenols provide the wide array of colours we see in our food and act as prebiotics in the gut to feed the beneficial bacteria. As you consume more polyphenols, the more diverse your microbiome becomes. Microbial diversity in the gut is strongly correlated with better health outcomes.
How to Incorporate Polyphenols into your Diet: High Polyphenol Fruit:
Berries, apples, oranges, grapes, apricots, chokeberries, elderberries, peaches, grapefruit, pomegranate
High Polyphenol Vegetables:
Broccoli, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, green beans, asparagus, onions, artichokes, olives High Polyphenol Nuts, Seeds, Grains and Legumes:
Hazelnuts, chestnuts, pecans, oats, walnuts, flaxseed, turmeric, ginger Other sources:
Dark chocolate, herbs and spices, tea (green tea), cocoa powder, organic coffee
The Importance of Vitamin C:
Not only does vitamin C give your immune system an extra boost, but it helps with the production of collagen in our bodies, increases the absorption of iron and can prevent neurological damage.
Vitamin C rich foods include the citrus family (oranges, kiwi, lemon, grapefruit), cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower), leafy greens, berries, green peppers and papaya
And remember: Stay hydrated! Drink 6-8 glasses of water per day.
Overall, getting a good night's sleep, moving your body, food for fuel and keeping stress levels low are some fundamentals for maintaining a strong immune system. Rawcon with a healthy body, a healthy mind and a healthy soul :) Happy fall!
Check out our immune boosting pumpkin pie smoothie bowl!
By: Chloe Tilp