There are still plenty of summer days ahead and time to enjoy the warm air, but this transition into the fall season is already beginning. Decreased daylight and cooler evenings are here, and these things can impact Vitamin D levels as well as immune health. So what are some things we can do to enhance our chances of staying healthy this fall?
1. Hydrate. The body functions optimally when it is well hydrated. As the days get cooler, many people experience a decrease in thirst because they're not sweating as much. You may not need to drink as much water as you did on those incredibly hot days, but it's still important to drink water regularly. How much water should you drink? Take your body weight, divide that number in half and the resulting number is the number of ounces of water you should drink per day. For instance, a person weighing 160 lbs should consume roughly 80 ounces of water per day. Drinking more water than you should can put a strain on the kidneys.
2. Vitamin D. I mentioned above that the decreased sunlight can affect Vitamin D levels. Before taking Vitamin D supplements, it's important to assess how much Vitamin D you have in your body (see your primary care provider for blood work) and for your doctor to suggest the proper amount of IUs you should have daily.
3. Bone Broth. A cup of homemade (or frozen from Whole Foods) bone broth every day is very nourishing for the immune system. Good quality bone broth can take a long time to make, but if you have the ability to make it from scratch I recommend this recipe. Do not use the boxed broth/stock that you find on supermarket shelves for this purpose. It is not the same thing and doesn't offer nearly the same health benefits.
4. Wear A Scarf. Lymph nodes in our neck are part of the first line of defense against upper respiratory infections. In East Asian medicine, colds are thought of as external pernicious invasions that enter in through the neck. Keeping the neck protected from cold air and drafts can keep the immune system healthy.
5. Acupuncture. Acupuncture treatments can support the immune system by improving lymphatic flow and regulating the nervous system. Regular treatments can not only help keep the immune system healthy but can also relieve the effects of stress, improve sleep quality and increase energy.