Dr. Ash Patel's top tips for Autumn

By Dr. Ash Patel and Emily Grenfell

Viruses and bacteria exist at all times of the year, but as the colder, damper weather comes around illnesses get more common.

Your immune system is operating at full capacity during the summer months when you’re spending time outside soaking up that vitamin D, but as the weather cools and the nights draw in, your immune system becomes more vulnerable to infection.


To maximise your chances of getting through the Autumn without feeling the chill, follow these simple steps:


1. Write a list of all the things you love about Autumn

For people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) finding ways to stay positive can be vital, but attitude is key for everyone at this time of year. Summer is drawing to a close, but it's important to look forward to the months ahead. Cuddling up under your duvet with hot chocolate, wearing thick woolley jumpers and socks, the light of Autumn sunshine through golden leaves. All these make the coming months great, not to mention healthy hot foods that are so much more appealing during winter.


2. Eat seasonal foods

Seasonal foods like pumpkin, parsnips, squash, mushrooms, apples and blackberries are packed with immune boosting vitamins, and they’re also delicious. This is the season for pies, soups, and hot stewed fruit deserts. Getting creative in the kitchen will refresh your taste-buds, stimulating your brain and giving you the nourishment you need to fight-off seasonal bugs.


3. Book a mini-break

The long weeks leading up to Christmas are often the busiest in the year, especially in business, and there are no bank holidays to break them up. Book a few days holiday during October or November now, so you know you’ll have a break. It’s important to stay rested, so even if you save pennies by having a home holiday, you’ll have time set aside to recharge your batteries and stay healthy.


4. Up for your Vitamin D

You can get vitamin D from oily fish, eggs, and sunlight. If you tend not to cook eggs every morning and you’re unable to make it out during daylight hours in the winter, you can boost yours by taking a supplement. Vitamin D helps prevent the common cold and flu viruses, it’s also vital for bone health.


5. Get indoor exercise

Although it’s tempting to snuggle up, one of the best ways to heat-up your body is through exercise. The more you raise your heart-rate the better your circulation will be, and getting blood to the end of your fingers and toes prevents you from feeling the cold. Find a partner and take up Squash, just 30 minutes of play will burn up to 400 calories. If you prefer exercising in your living room, get a fitness game for your games console, or you can do simple exercises while watching your favourite television shows.