As the seasons shift, you may notice yourself being affected by it in many different ways. Perhaps you'll develop seasonal allergies, feel more sluggish, or have sinus problems. Whatever the case, it's important we take the time to prepare our bodies for the shift to fall to ensure a healthy transition. Here's how to do exactly that.
1. Eat More Warming Foods
There’s a reason they call this soup season. Fall is a time when the weather gets cooler, so it makes sense to eat more warming foods. Not only is this comforting for us (I mean, who wouldn’t want to eat soup after spending time in the cold?), but it’s also very good for our bodies. Cold and raw foods actually create dampness in the body that can be mucus-forming, which is not something we want, especially in the colder months.
I recommend swapping out your green smoothie in the morning for a warming breakfast of oats or quinoa porridge. For lunch and dinner, making soups, stews, stir-fry, and roasts are a good idea. (Here are 3 of my favorite hearty soups perfect for fall.)
The best thing to do is to incorporate seasonal foods into each of your dishes, no matter what. I recommend heading to your local farmers market to see what’s in season right now. Everything at the farmers market is grown locally, so it’s extra fresh and packed full of nutrients. Utilizing fall foods—such as broccoli, leeks, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, sweet potatoes, and carrots—will help support a healthy immune system naturally and ensure the best tasting food. Be sure to hit up your local farmers market to grab all the goods!
2. Get More Rest
During summer, we’re usually super active and doing a bunch of stuff to take advantage of the warm weather. But after a long summer full of activity, it’s a good idea to wind down and give yourself a break. Resting during the fall is very important because you don’t want to overexert yourself. This can lead to you getting sick. Make sure you get plenty of rest so you don’t put yourself at risk of catching the cold or flu. Sleeping is a great immune booster in and of itself, so make sure you’re not going to sleep late and waking up early. Aim for 8 hours a day! Also, aside from sleep, make sure you take some time to just relax at home and not do anything—especially after the end of a long day.
3. Eat More Garlic & Onions
Garlic and onions are great for your immune system. Garlic, in particular, has strong antibiotic properties. Garlic, unlike chemical antibiotics that kill friendly bacteria, only kills harmful bacteria. It also reduces disease causing microorganisms. These same abilities are present in onions, which is garlic’s closest relative, but has a milder effect. During this time of year, it’s imperative we build up our immune systems and take preventative measures to ensure we don’t get sick. Eating more garlic and onion can help us do this, and no, you don’t necessarily have to eat them raw. You can add them to stir-fry dishes and soups to help add flavor and get in your daily dose of these alliums. I particularly recommend creating a broccoli, string bean, and bell pepper stir fry that utilizes garlic and onion—it’ll taste delicious and it incorporates healthy seasonal foods into your diet.
4. Drink More Tea
During the fall, the weather gets cooler so it’s natural to want to warm our bodies. As I mentioned earlier, we should definitely start eating warmer foods this time of year. However, it’s important to drink warmer liquids too! In the summer, we’re trying to cool down, so drinking ice cold lemonade, iced tea, and iced coffee just makes sense. But in the fall, it’s important to start shifting over to warmer drinks, particularly tea. There are so many beneficial teas out there to choose from, but I recommend anything with echinacea—this herb is great for preventing and shortening the duration of colds.
5. Boost Your Immune System
Fall is definitely a time where we’re susceptible to colds, flus, and ragweed allergies. It’s best to have a strong immune system that can help us fight these bugs before they have a chance to make us sick. You can boost your immune system by eating more mushrooms like reishi and chaga, making some fire cider, taking some elderberry syrup, or making some garlic infused honey. Let’s break it down so we can appreciate each method.
- Mushrooms: Mushrooms, particularly reishi and chaga, are fantastic for boosting the immune system. Reishi is often referred to as the “queen healer mushroom,” thanks to its ability to boost your immune system while also increasing longevity and reducing stress. Reishi mushrooms contain beta-glucans, one of the most powerful natural immune boosters we know of. By increasing the amount of beta-glucans in your body, you can prevent a vast array of illnesses. Chaga mushrooms also contain beta-glucans, meaning they’re just as good for our immune system. You can eat these two mushrooms whole in meals or try taking them in tinctures or powders. If you take it in a tincture or powder, try adding it to tea, milk, hot chocolate, coffee, or even plain old warm water. You can also add powdered mushrooms to soups, stews, smoothies, and raw chocolates as a sneaky way to get in this healthy ingredient.
- Fire Cider: Be forewarned—making fire cider is very easy, but actually ingesting it is far harder. That’s because fire cider is ridiculously potent. I made it one year and just could not stomach it. There are many variations of this recipe, but most call for garlic, turmeric, onion, horseradish, ginger, jalapeno peppers, apple cider vinegar, and honey. You have to chop everything up, combine it in a jar and let it sit in a cool dark place for at least two weeks, ideally a month. The longer you let it sit, the more potent it’ll be. You can drink it straight up, add it to soups, put it in juice, or dilute it with tea. Just be prepared: It’s not for everyone!
- Elderberry: Elderberry is great for preventing colds and flus. Plus, it actually tastes good, and it’s sweet—making it perfect for kids. You can take elderberry syrup or drink elderberry tea. You should be able to find both at the health food store.
- Garlic-Infused Honey: Remember how I mentioned garlic is good for you to eat more of this time of year? Well, unfortunately a lot of the health benefits garlic has aren’t as potent after it’s cooked. Obviously, no one wants to eat raw garlic, even though it’s the healthiest version for you. To take some of the bite away, making garlic infused honey is a great option. Honey and garlic both have health benefits, so it just makes sense to combine the two!