Winter is coming…
Fall is here and the first cold of the season has made its way through our house. This is a reminder that it’s time to start building up our immune systems. Although it’s useful to boost our immunity in the midst of an illness, why not enter the season of the really nasty stuff with an immune system that’s in top form? Here are 6 simple things we can all do right now to get our immune systems in shape.
*Eat Real Food. Eating food that is un- or minimally processed is the best thing you can do for your whole body, especially your immune system. If your body is expending energy to decipher fake or processed substances, it has less energy to put towards keeping you healthy. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, organic/grass fed meats and nutritious grains. Try to make more recipes from scratch – if you approach this transition bit by bit, it will seem less daunting.
*Drink Water. Try making pure, filtered water your beverage of choice. Drinking lots of water helps keep digestion working properly, keeps our body hydrated and helps to continuously flush out toxins. Water is our simplest and most beneficial available resource – DRINK IT!
*Sleep. The sun goes down earlier and comes up later as winter approaches. Let’s take the hint and sleep more. I know it seems impossible to carve out time to rest, much less nap, but we can squeeze it in. Find a quiet spot and close your eyes for those 15 minutes between meetings, get in car line early – shut off the engine and shut your eyes, leave the dishes/laundry/emails… until morning, put on your jams and go to bed early! We can’t let everything go everyday just because it’s dark out, but listen to your body – if you feel tired and run down, rest.
*Probiotics. A healthy gut means a stronger immune system. Probiotics refer to the good bacteria that live in our intestines and help keep things running smoothly. Many factors related to our modern lifestyle can breakdown the population of healthy bacteria in our guts but we can do several things to build them back up. Yogurt and kefir are two of the most obvious sources of probiotics for most people. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickles, tempeh and kombucha are others. These last examples may be an acquired taste for some, but just a small amount with each meal does the job. Supplements are another simple source. If you are using a probiotic capsule or powder, be sure the formula contains at least three of each type of strain – Lactobacillus (small intestine) and Bifidobacterium (large intestine). These varieties will appear on labels as “L.”… and “B.”… Remember that sugar and processed foods challenge our good bacteria, so try to keep those to a minimum.
*Herbal Supplements. As soon as I see the first leaves change, it’s time for everyone to line up for his/her herbs! One teaspoon of Elderberry syrup morning and night seems to have kept us from many doctor’s visits – that’s all I’ll say because I’m superstitious! 🙂 Elderberry gently stimulates and supports the immune system and can be taken everyday for long periods unlike Echinacea and Goldenseal. My favorite version of the syrup is based in raw honey and tastes great. A boost from Echinacea is great every now and then at the first sign you may be fighting something. I love a tea blend of Echinacea and Elderberry with a healthy, sweet spoonful of raw honey.
*Exercise. It’s important to keep moving. Consistent, moderate exercise is wonderful for your immune system. It increases the circulation of bug killing cells, stimulates hormone release, helps flush toxins and reduces stress. While moderate exercise is consistently healthful, intense exertion can decrease immunity as it may stress the body too much. Save those superman workouts for days when you are rested and feeling great.
Be well and enjoy the fun and deliciousness of the Fall!