How to Stay Healthy This Fall

As summer transitions into fall in just two weeks time (the first day of autumn is September 22nd), Vancouver physician, Ali Ghahary, has put together a list of tips on how to better prepare yourself for the changing seasons.

How to Stay Healthy This Fall

As flu season approaches in November, it’s not a bad idea to get the flu shot a bit early. Typically, many clinics and pharmacies around Vancouver and surrounding areas will offer the flu shot as early as October. If you are high-risk (such as a senior over the age of 65, have a previously diagnosed chronic illness, have a weakened immune system or are pregnant), Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends getting the flu shot. It is also recommended for children under the age of 5. There are many types of flu strains, and it is a highly contagious illness, so it’s always a good idea to protect yourself against it. To avoid influenza, always practice good hygiene habits such as regular hand washing, keeping your mouth and nose covered when coughing, and avoiding contact with others who are sick.

Along with the fall also comes gloomier weather – this means more clouds and rain than sunshine. As a result, we’ll be spending more time indoors than out, which means our intake of Vitamin D will be decreased. To ensure you’re getting enough Vitamin D, Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends taking a Vitamin D supplement. Taking Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption, and it also boosts your immune system and your mood. Click here for more surprising benefits of Vitamin D.

Daylight savings also occurs in the fall. On November 5th, we’ll be turning our clocks behind an hour. This means that there will be longer periods of darkness, and as a result you will be getting some extra sleep. However, some people often have trouble with daylight savings as it can make you feel as though your sleep pattern has been significantly disrupted. Despite getting that extra hour of sleep, it’s still important to go to bed at a decent time and make sure you’re getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night so you feel well-rested the next day. For those who suffer from insomnia, Dr. Ali Ghahary shares some tips on how to fight it on his website at alighahary.ca.

You may also notice a change in your skin during the colder fall months, and even into winter. Cooler temperatures can cause skin to become pale, dry and flaky, so it is important to keep your skin moisturized. You can also still wear a sunscreen. If you have sensitive skin, your family physician or dermatologist will be able to recommend something to you.

Staying active is also important! With the change in weather you may be less inclined to exercise outdoors. However, there are still ways you can keep fit at home. If you don’t have exercise equipment, doing stretches and yoga are great ways to stay physically active. Many community centres also have drop-in sessions available and some even offer free fitness classes.

Also remember to keep eating healthy. In-season vegetables broccoli, squash, kale, cabbage, and other dark, leafy green vegetables such as spinach and romaine lettuce. You can find much more information on healthy eating by clicking here.

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Vitamin D Important for Optimal Health

As many as 70% of Canadians are Vitamin D deficient. This can lead to chronic health concerns and even increase the risk of being diagnosed with certain cancers (breast, prostate and colon.) Vitamin D, also often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”, has always been important to ensure optimal health. Not only does it help the body to absorb calcium, improve bone health and boost the immune system, but it is also helpful in fighting against many different diseases and health problems including Alzheimer’s, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, depression and anxiety, infertility, and chronic pain, in addition to lowering the risk of stroke and heart disease, as well as helping with weight loss.

Those who are deficient in Vitamin D may experience varying symptoms including fatigue, restlessness, poor concentration, headaches, high blood pressure, joint pain and muscle cramps, weakness, weight gain, diarrhea or constipation, and bladder problems. In order to find out if you are Vitamin D deficient, your physician may send you for a blood test or x-rays in effort to determine the strength of your bones.

pill-316600_960_720Physicians like Dr. Ali Ghahary at Brentwood Medical Clinic in Burnaby, British Columbia, recommend patients implement Vitamin D into their everyday lives. The current recommended dose of Vitamin D for children and adults up to the age of 50 is 200 IU per day, 400 IU per day in those aged 50 to 70, and 600 IU in individuals aged 71 or older. In those who are severely deficient in Vitamin D, higher intakes may be recommended.

While Vitamin D is found in many different supplements including multivitamins, it can also be found in certain food sources such as fish (salmon, tuna, cod liver oil), egg yolks, cheese, cow’s milk, margarine, and orange juice. For those who are vegan, Vitamin D can be found in fortified soy-milk and breakfast cereals. You can also easily obtain Vitamin D naturally with sunlight exposure – however, it is important to educate yourself on the risks of UVB rays, as overexposure has been linked to skin cancer and other heat-related illnesses. There is also such thing as getting too much Vitamin D. Supplements are usually the main cause of this, and excess Vitamin D can lead to having too much calcium in your body which can then lead to kidney damage, so it is important to pay attention to your intake.