Autumn Essentials for your Health
Here are some top tips as we start to move into cooler weather and a new season. The nights are becoming longer and the days cooler and shorter.
1. Sleep – This is an area that we should embrace as the season changes. Start by going to bed 10 minutes earlier each night and see if you can make that 30 minutes earlier over the coming weeks. Prioritizing sleep is really important at this time of the year as we tend to work longer periods of time in artificial light. Make a bedtime ritual, even 10 minutes of some gentle movement, or a bath. Dim lights for at least an hour before you go to bed and if you are working behind a screen (as I often am), then use blue-light emitting glasses. Aim for a minimum of 7hrs per night, and as much of this before midnight as possible.
2. Water – As it gets cooler we can forget to hydrate. Our skin dries out as a result and our digestive system suffers. Staying hydrated is really important, so increasing herbal tea intake, or even drinking large mugs of warm water can help with this. Avoid drinking ice-cold water where possible.
3. Omega’s! This one is important year-round, but in cooler weather our body requires insulation to stay warm, as well as keeping our skin from drying out. Omega 3 & 6 are critical for this. Important to note here that these should be sourced from cold-pressed sources and have at least double the Omega 3 content to Omega 6 content. Avoid any treated seed oils as these are toxic for the body. Taking a cold pressed linseed oil, or fish oil is key as well as including fresh ground linseed, whole chia seeds, sesame seeds (or tahini), sunflower seeds and nuts into your diet. Oily small fish are also a great way to include essential fatty acids into your diet.
4. Vitamin D! One we should take year-round, but definitely be taking now. Getting some sunlight on your face is helpful, but nowhere enough for providing the adequate levels of Vitamin D your body requires. This is a daily supplement and easily taken in liquid or spray form. Vitamin D is one of the most common deficiencies found in people and can contribute to a wide range of diseases.
5. Seasonal eating. Cooler days and longer nights often make us crave more starchy foods. As we move into the next season of produce, make choices that will keep your blood sugars happy. Including healthy fats from avocados, nuts, seeds and olive oil will also help with keeping you feel satiated. If you are going to have potatoes, try and minimize this and use coloured potatoes for an extra phytonutrient (colour) in your day. Or better still use sweet potato, butternut or spaghetti squash. Remember to still include colour into your diet everyday. See our previous blog for more information on how to do this.
6. Movement. This is an area I find gets the least attention personally as it gets colder and there are less day light hours. Find movement that works to your schedule, such as a 15 minute resistance workout at home, or 10 minutes of HIIT, parking a little further away on the school run or from work to get some extra steps in. One of my favourites as a Mum is the MUTU system, this encourages me to do HIIT for 20 minutes three times a week. Or Yoga by Adriene for a 10 minute winddown in the evening.
You may love this transition into a new season, or like me may not necessarily look forward to cooler weather. Regardless, embrace the change and enjoy each day as we watch the season change and with it bringing new opportunities and a time to take stock of your health and wellbeing.