The UK has been blessed with one of its best summers in recent memory, but the transition to autumn can be a challenge. To help ease the change, we have put together some autumnal wellness tips to get you ready for the colder months and keep your mental (and physical!) health in check.
Late Summer is the perfect time to boost your natural immunity and give your body the best chance of defending yourself against some of those pesky change-of-season bugs that will soon be floating around, not to mention, the dreaded cold and flu season.
Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches the five-element theory where foods are inextricably linked to season, flavour, colour, and organ. Foods that reflect the season’s colours are most beneficial to our bodies during that time of the year. Autumn is a season for white foods; think root vegetables, pears, radish, onions, garlic, white beans, winter melon, tofu, cauliflower and jicama (a type of turnip).
White foods are high in allicin, which reduces blood sugar and has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties purported to support the lungs and large intestine. Try also boosting your diet with foods that are naturally orange, red, yellow and deep greens, autumn-like colours. Think parsnips, sweet potatoes, oranges, carrots, and swede.
Before the leaves turn brown and the nights draw in, there’s often one tell-tale sign that we are heading into winter, and it is the familiar sound of a sniffle or cough. Every year, it can be tricky to avoid the spread of the common cold, but there are some precautions that you can take to avoid catching the dreaded influenza.
Last year, supermarket giant Asda reduced the price of their flu jab to just £5, the lowest price in the history of immunisation. They pledged 100,000 £5 flu vaccinations at pharmacies in around 255 of its stores and should be repeating the offer in 2017. Nationwide, one in three people are entitled to a free flu vaccination, yet people risk catching the potentially deadly illness rather than have the vaccine.
You are eligible for a free flu jab on the National Health Service (NHS) if you:
- are 65 years old or over,
- are pregnant,
- have certain medical conditions (like asthma or diabetes),
- live in a residential care home or care facility,
- care for someone who might be at risk if you fall ill, or
- are a health and social care worker.
Once summer fades away and the sun goes into hibernation, taking its lovely, natural, vitamin D-giving rays with it, we should look to supplement our vitamin D intake on a daily basis. In the UK, the weak winter sunlight doesn’t actually contain enough UVB radiation for our skin to be able to produce vitamin D.
While the vitamin can be absorbed from a small number of foods including oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring, red meat and eggs, one is well advised to invest in supplementary tablets. Taking relatively non-costly vitamin D supplements on a daily basis is important to maintain healthy bones, teeth and muscles.
While the lovely warm temperatures and this sunny weather allows many of us to move our bodies naturally, using gentle movements such as a morning stroll with the dog on the beach or in the park. But, don’t let cooler temperatures stop you from moving your body! Far too many people stop exercising and spend more time doing sedentary activities indoors.
One way you can keep moving during the cooler season is to bring your activity inside: bounce on a rebounder, do yoga at home, get a yoga swing, swim, go to the gym or find a dance or martial arts class. Ever tried fencing? This autumn could be the perfect time to up your sword-fighting game.