There’s something about the transition from summer to fall that inspires a fresh start and the will to get things done. As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, routine can help provide predictability and structure in each day. So, whether you are a student, parent, or returning to a regular work schedule, there are many ways to stay energized, focused, and unstressed during this changeover.
Here are five ways that food and supplement choices can help you and your family get back to routine successfully:
1. Stay Energized
Keeping your energy up and blood sugar steady will help you stay focused and productive no matter how hectic your fall routine gets. Nutrients that help sustain energy levels include:
- Protein contains the amino acids needed to build and repair bodily tissues, perform metabolic functions, and supply change.[i] In addition to eating beans, lentils, nuts, whole grain, and lean meats, supplementing with a high-quality whey or vegan protein is a convenient way to support an active lifestyle.
- Dietary fibre lowers the glycemic index (GI) of food, helping balance blood sugar and provide a steady source of energy.[ii] Including plenty of fruit and vegetables in your meals and taking a low FODMAP fibre supplement that can be mixed into water are simple ways to increase your fibre intake.
- B vitamins work as coenzymes to metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into energy.[iii] A variety of single B and B complex supplements are available for different dietary needs.
2. Support Immune Function
Heading back to work or school can increase your exposure to viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. Immune-supportive nutrients can help your body’s natural defences.
- Vitamin C increases white blood cell production to protect against infection and elevates antioxidant levels within cells.[iv] Citrus fruits, red peppers, and broccoli are fantastic wholefood sources of vitamin C.
- Probiotics promote a healthy intestinal microbiome when taken as a daily supplement and eaten as probiotic-rich foods, such as cultured yogurt and kombucha. Probiotics are a great choice for anyone looking to support immune function and avoid diarrhea after antibiotic use.[v],[vi]
- Mushrooms, such as shiitake and maitake, are rich in micronutrients and beta-glucans, which have impressive immune-enhancing and antioxidant properties.[vii]
- Vitamin D plays an essential role in immune and respiratory health.[viii] Few foods contain enough vitamin D to help fulfill the body’s needs, making supplementation an important option for helping maintain adequate intake.
3. Minimize Stress
Balancing work and family routines can be stressful. In addition to eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly, various supplements can help with occasional stress.
- GABA (gamma-amino-butyric acid) is a calming brain neurotransmitter that eases excitatory nerve signals to promote relaxation. While it can be found in small amounts in some fermented foods, a supplement offers fast-acting relief for nervousness and acute stress.[ix]
- Ashwagandha is a well-recognized Ayurvedic herb with numerous benefits. It is considered an adaptogen, helping increase resistance to stress and anxiety in individuals with a history of chronic stress, thus improving their quality of life.[x]
- Magnesium is essential for hundreds of biochemical processes throughout the body, including muscle relaxation.[xi] Dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and dried beans are wonderful sources, while magnesium citrate powders provide a concentrated and absorbable alternative.
4. Nourish your Skin
Build skincare into your fall routine to help skin transition from the drying effects of summer sun.
- Collagen decline leaves skin more vulnerable to UV radiation and moisture loss. Supplementing with hydrolyzed collagen has been shown to help nourish the skin and reduce visible signs of declining collagen production.[xii]
- Fresh fruit and vegetables, such as wild berries, citrus fruits, broccoli, and artichokes are delicious sources of antioxidants that help counteract oxidative stress throughout the body.[xiii]
- Water plays a key role in hydrating skin. Aim to drink at least six to eight cups of water per day.[xiv]
5. Support Children’s Nutrition
Children find it especially difficult to adapt to new routines, making a consistent nutritional plan critical. In addition to serving children a wide range of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, lean sources of protein, and whole grains, a high-quality children’s multivitamin and mineral supplement will provide them with a range of nutrients they need for optimal health, growth, and learning.
[i] Wu G. Dietary protein intake and human health. Food & Function. 2016; 7(3):1251-65.
[ii] Maćkowiak K, Torlińska-Walkowiak N, Torlińska B. Dietary fibre as an important constituent of the diet. Postepy Higieny i Medycyny Doswiadczalnej (online). 2016; 70:104-9.
[iii] Mikkelsen K, & Apostolopoulos V. Chapter 15: B vitamins and aging. Biochemistry and cell biology of aging: Part 1 biomedical science. Harris JR & Korolchuk VI (eds.). 2017. Springer Singapore.
[iv] Carr AC, & Maggini S. Vitamin C and immune function. Nutrients. 2017; 9(11):1211.
[v] Markowiak P, Śliżewska K. Effect of probiotic, prebiotic, and symbiotics on human health. Nutrients. 2017; 9(9):1021.
[vi] Health Canada. Natural Health Product – Probiotics. [Internet]. hc-sc.gc.ca. 2020 [cited 7 July 2020]. Available from: http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=probio&lang=eng
[vii] Valverde ME, Hernández-Pérez T, Paredes-López O. Edible mushrooms: improving human health and promoting quality life. Int J Microbiol. 2015; 376387.
[viii] Hughes DA, Norton R. Vitamin D and respiratory health. Clin Exp Immunol. 2009; 158(1):20-5.
[ix] Vaiva G, Thomas P, Ducrocq F, et al. Factor in the development of acute posttraumatic stress disorder. Biol Psychiatry. 2004; 55(3):250-4.
[x] Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Ind J Psychol Med. 2012; 34(3):255-62.
[xi] DiNicolantonio JJ, O’Keefe JH, Wilson W. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open Heart. 2018; 5(1):e000668.
[xii] Ganceviciene R, Aikaterini IL, Theodoridis A, et al. Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012; 4(3):308-19.
[xiii] Poljsak B, Dahmane R, Godic A. Skin and antioxidants. J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2013; 15(2):107-13.
[xiv] HealthLinkBC. Drinking Enough Water [Internet]. Healthlinkbc.ca 2019 [cited 7 July 2020]. Available from: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/abk5466