Fall (or “pumpkin spice season”, as some like to call it), is right around the corner. Summer is nearing its end, the days are getting shorter, the weather is changing, and cold and flu and season is about to wreak havoc all over again; so below are just a few tips from Dr. Ghahary on how you can get (and stay!) healthy this fall.
Avoiding the Common Cold
While cold and flu season typically doesn’t begin until November in Canada, there tends to be a spike in viral and bacterial infections around September through October, particularly right around the time kids go back to school. As mentioned in previous articles by Dr. Ghahary, the best way to avoid catching a cold or a flu bug is to make sure you’re practicing good hygiene, such as washing your hands with warm soap and water regularly and having hand sanitizer nearby when you’re not able to get to a sink. Also make sure you avoid public places when you’re sick, as well as stay away from those who are sick in order to prevent the spread of germs; and always cough or sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve rather than your hands. If you do develop a bacterial infection such as pneumonia or a sinus infection, your doctor will most likely prescribe you a course of antibiotics which should be taken until finished. Failure to do so could result in a reoccurrence or worsening of the infection. Taking antibiotics improperly can also lead to what’s known as antibiotic resistance, meaning it will be much more difficult for your infection to be treated.
All Things Pumpkin
As mentioned, fall has also been dubbed “pumpkin spice season” thanks to many coffee chains and bakeries coming out with a wide array of pumpkin items on their autumn menus – from pumpkin spice lattes, tea, and even baked goods like muffins, tarts, donuts and other types of pastries. Unfortunately, many of these items are high in sugar and not so great for your health. However, pumpkins are still something to get excited about. Pumpkin itself is high in fibre and rich in nutrients such as potassium and beta-carotene, both of which are good for your health in a number of ways. In addition, roasted pumpkin seeds are also high in magnesium and protein, and low in calories – not to mention quite flavourful.
An Apple a Day
You’ve heard the phrase “an apple a day keeps a doctor away,” and there’s certainly some truth behind that. While apples are available year-round, they’re particularly popular during the fall months, and are considered one of the best diet foods. They’re high in antioxidants and vitamin C, as well soluble fibre which is great for lowering high cholesterol. Studies have also shown that those who eat apples regularly have a reduced risk of developing heart diseases, as well as a decreased risk of suffering from a stroke.
Exercising outdoors can be difficult during the summer, especially in the sweltering temperatures that British Columbia has seen this summer. While the fall is filled with more rainy, dreary days compared to the warmer months, there are still days where the sun will shine, which are a perfect time to partake in outdoor physical activity such as going for walks, jogs, or hikes. Essentially, any type of physical activity that may have been too taxing to do in warmer weather. Choosing outdoor exercise rather than indoor exercise has also been shown to boost energy levels as well as relieve stress.