Want to Avoid the Flu? How to Stay Healthy This Fall
With Halloween just around the corner and Thanksgiving arriving soon after, it’s easy to overindulge on all the treats associated with this time of year. The types of foods consumed during these holidays have been thought to contribute to a higher occurrence of colds, flu and other infections. But what can you do to stay healthy during the fall season?
Healthy Living during Halloween and Thanksgiving
During the fall and winter season, the nation consumes an excessive amount of rich, sugary foods, significantly more than throughout the rest of the year. Consuming large quantities of sugar can have a negative effect on your health. Sugar raises your insulin levels, in turn prohibiting the release of growth hormones which can lead to a weakening of your immune system.
Studies have shown that consuming 100 grams of sugar can reduce the ability of our white blood cells to engulf bacteria by over 40%. This means your body will be less prepared to fight viruses and infections. Halloween and Thanksgiving are full of sweet treats and temptations but there are many things that we can do to stay healthy at this time of year:
Fall Health Tip 1:
Keep healthy snacks in your house at Halloween for trick or treating. By doing this you will be less tempted to snack on any left over treats as well as offering a fun but healthy alternative to the children that stop by. Snacks such as small bags of pretzels, sugar-free candy, trail mix, small boxes of raisins, and popcorn are healthy alternatives.
Fall Health Tip 2:
When making thanksgiving dinner, try to include healthy options such as a salad starter, whole grains and plenty of vegetables during the main course. When preparing the turkey, rather than rubbing the skin with butter or oil, use an oil spray and season with salt, pepper and herbs. Scrap the traditional candied sweet potato casseroles and try healthier baked or roasted sweet potatoes.
Fall Health Tip 3:
It’s difficult to maintain an exercise regime when it‘s cold and dark outside, but it’s important to exercise regularly to stay healthy. Exercise during the fall months will help in maintaining a healthy weight. It can stimulate your cardiovascular and respiratory systems, and strengthen your immune system, thus increasing your resistance to infections. Traditionally we consume higher calorie foods at this time of year so it’s important to exercise to stay healthy.
Fall Health Tip 4:
Try to cut back on excessive carbohydrate consumption. According to John de Castro, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas, El Paso, “We have a tendency to eat about 200 calories more per day during the fall.” A large proportion of the excess calories consumed during the fall season come from carbohydrates. It is thought we consume more due to simple biology. Our ancestors would consume significantly more during the fall to prepare for the long winter months ahead. Try to fill yourself up instead with lean meats, soups and healthy fall vegetables.