How to Spring Clean Your Health!

How to Spring Clean Your Health! | Dr. Ali Ghahary

Even though there are still two weeks of winter left, it’s never a bad idea to get a head start on spring cleaning – not just in and outside of your home, but with your health as well. Below are just a few tips that will hopefully help you achieve the most during the transition from winter to spring.

1. Get outdoors! During the fall and winter months, we tend to spend less time outdoors due to the weather – from days to weeks of rain, and even snow. Fortunately, with spring on the way, we’ll start to see nicer weather and even notice temperatures will slowly start to increase – which means you can put away that winter clothing, get outside, and enjoy more days of sunshine – whether it’s starting your gardening, or getting outdoors to go for walks, jogs or hikes. Spending more time outdoors is not only good for getting exercise, but moderate exposure to sunlight is also known to boost the “happy hormone” known as serotonin in your body, which can help improve both your mood and ability to focus, while decreasing the risk of developing depression. That being said, there’s also a risk that you can develop allergies (from things like pollen) in the months ahead. If you’re someone who suffers from hayfever (with symptoms including itchy, watery eyes, nasal congestion and sneezing), which is common during spring, be proactive with it and see your physician. Oftentimes springtime allergies can be combated with things like nasal sprays, as well as taking other additional precautions. If you’re unsure whether or not your allergies happen to be spring-related, your physician can also refer you to an allergist for testing.

2. Be sun safe. While temperatures aren’t necessarily scoring hot in the springtime – even when the sun is out – this doesn’t mean that the sun is any less harmful to your skin than it is during the warmer, summer months. In fact, when your skin is exposed to sunlight at any time of year, wearing an SPF is always a good idea to keep yourself protected from harmful UV rays. You can also stay protected from the sun by wearing sunglasses that have both UVA and UVB protection, as well as by wearing wide-brimmed hats and loose, long-sleeved shirts and pants.

3. Detox from technology. In today’s day and age, putting down that smartphone or tablet, or prying yourself away from that computer or television screen, can be difficult. In fact, we spend more time using technological devices such as these during the colder fall and winter months than any time of year – mostly due to the fact that the weather is what keeps us indoors. But as the season starts to change, the weather will improve, which is why it’s a good time to set aside at least some technology-free time in your day where you avoid these things and spend more time outside, or even simply spend more time with friends and family, as opposed to communicating via social media.

4. Improve your diet. There tends to be less fresh produce during the winter, which means it’s not uncommon to turn to unhealthy, processed foods during the fall and winter months – which can ultimately have a negative impact on your health. But now that spring is just around the corner, you’ll have a wider variety of fresh, nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables to choose from at your local grocery store or farmer’s market. Examples of some in-season fruits and vegetables for the spring include apricots, cherries, strawberries, oranges, grapefruit, kiwis, mangoes, pineapple, lemons, beets, artichokes, asparagus, arugula, lettuce, onions, spinach, parsley, peas, and turnips…just to name a few. Most if not all of these fruits and vegetables can be incorporated into a variety of different healthy meals of your choice. If you’re not sure what to make, you can find plenty of healthy recipes online (such as on Pinterest) or in a cookbook. Also be sure to include other healthy foods in your diet, such as lean meats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.