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3 Must-Dos for Staying Healthy this Fall

 

I know, I know, you are tired of hearing about viruses and masks and social distancing.  I am too!  That’s why none of those things are on this list.

 

The news is filled with controversy and claims about claims.  I want to leave all that behind and share some SIMPLE, do today, family friendly tips for staying healthy.

 

  1. Get More Vitamin D

Research has shown that low levels of vitamin D can lead to an increased susceptibility to infection, disease and autoimmune problems.  Quite simply, Vitamin D is essential for your immune system to function properly. Vitamin D has even been associated with decreased lung function, which may affect your body’s ability to fight respiratory infections like Covid-19.

 

Why we are deficient  Most of the Vitamin D we get comes through exposure to the sun, but it’s difficult, if not impossible to get enough from the sun in our world today.  Our air is polluted, we spend a lot of our day indoors, and we are all encouraged to “cover-up” or “sunscreen-up” when outside.  We are ALL not getting enough Vitamin D!

 

This picture shows how long you need to be outside, midday, every day to get enough Vitamin D. For me, wearing shorts and a t-shirt, I need to spend at least 2 hours outside every day.  That’s just not going to happen so I need to get it from somewhere else.

 

 

How to get more Vitamin D  You can also get Vitamin D from the foods you eat.  High Vitamin D can be found in salmon, sardines, egg yolks and shrimp.  None of those are frequently on my plate, so I supplement with Vitamin D.  How much you should supplement depends on your current level.

 

How to find your Vitamin D levels Do you have a deficiency?  We can find out quickly for you at The Center For Holistic Dental Medicine.  We have a $50 finger prick test that can give you your Vitamin D levels in 15 minutes.  Call for a test if you’ve not been tested recently.

 

What are signs of Vitamin D Deficiency?Some of the signs of Vitamin D deficiency look a lot like being sick!

  • Tiredness, aches and pains
  • Bone or muscle pain or weakness
  • Stress fractures

 

How much and how often should I supplement?  Vitamin D has a very short half life, so it’s a supplement you need to take every day, or every other day.  A common dosage is 1,000 IU per day, but depending on your current level, it may be beneficial to take 5,000-10,000 IU per day during a high illness season.

 

  1. Eat FRESH food.

I recently learned that food loses 30% of its nutrients within 24 hours of being picked.  Those nutrients are the vitamins and minerals essential for your body to work well and for you to stay healthy.  You might think you’re eating well, but your food may actually be little more than a handful of fiber if it’s been processed or shipped from around the world.

 

This time of year, I shop ‘Local Fresh” for my meals. If you don’t have a backyard garden, there are other ways you can get those nutrients.

 

Eat seasonally-  Eat food that has been grown in your area at this time of year.  How do you know what those foods are?  They are the ones that are labeled “local” in the grocery store.

 

They are also the foods everyone has too many of, or that you see growing on local trees or in backyards.  Right now it’s tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini for me!

 

Our bodies have adapted to eating what the earth provides during different seasons.  So you SHOULD change what you eat during different seasons.  Your body will thank you for it.

 

Eat local – Food that is transported loses nutrient value for every mile it travels to you.  The closer you eat to your food source, the more you get out of your food.

 

Some options for local food:

 

Farmer’s Markets – these are in full swing around the country right now.  Buy from the farmer.  Buy food that is fresh picked and full of nutrients.  You will get much more for your dollar this way

 

Local Online Classifieds- You can find fresh produce on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and other local classifieds.  These are foods grown in backyards and other spaces that are naturally organic, fresh from the source, and at great prices.

 

Local Farmers – You can find farmers that run Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs or that have farm stands and stores to sell their produce.  Look online for local sources.  This helps support your local farmers and helps you get what you need out of the food.

 

  1. Stay Happy

This may sound like an unusual addition to this list, but it is a very real thing.  There are people and family members that have a genetic history of depression and challenges with mood.  The whole Covid-19 mess has cause many of us to experience emotional changes.

 

Thankfully I am able to recognize these changes, and use herbs and other helps when I need them, but it’s helped me see how real this is. The world we live in is frankly one depressing news story after another.  Between the pandemic, riots, political controversy, staying indoors and away from people, natural disasters and no more hugs…it’s a wonder we aren’t all terribly depressed!

 

You need to protect your MOOD as much as you need to protect your IMMUNE system.  Research has shown an intimate connection between emotional health and physical health.  Depression will lead to a depressed immune system and greater susceptibility to infections and disease.

 

Ideas to stay happy:

  • Get outside!!  There is nothing worse for mood than being stuck inside for too long.  No fresh air.  No sunshine (and Vit. D).  No connection with the earth.  Go outside and lay on the grass.  Walk barefoot.  Go to the beach! The earth is a huge sink of electrons just waiting to give you a pick me up.
  • Turn off the news!!  I find my mood is in direct correlation with how much news I am consuming.  Turn it off.  Get the fast highlights if needed then avoid the rest.
  • Read a book.  Read something with humor or excitement.
  • Five minutes of just breathing will slow your heart rate, increase your feel good chemicals, and relax your mind and body.  You can find 5 minutes to give yourself today.  How about those five minutes you save not watching or reading the news!
  • Pray and meditate. We can all use a lot of this at this time.

 

These ideas are easy.  Your entire family can do them together, and they cost little to nothing.  You CAN stay healthy and these three things will help you do so all Fall and Winter.

 

To your health!

Dr. Glenn MacFarlane