Naturally Support Your Immune System
Updated: May 20, 2020
Seasonal changes, cold weather, and less outdoor time often make us more susceptible to catching pesky colds and flus. Here are some of my top tips for staying healthy and happy this (and every) season.
1. Stress management. Cortisol, our stress hormone, down-regulates our immune system and makes us more susceptible to even minor bugs that we're exposed to. Keep your stress in-check with gentle exercise, a good sleep routine, and designated time for self-care.
2. Eat warm, nourishing foods - like veggie soups! Cooked veggies in soup is easier to digest to keeps you hydrated and nourished. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the warmth of food nourishes the Spleen, which plays a key role in your immune health. A TCM botanical soup - called Change of Season Soup - is one of my favourites. Garlic & mushrooms also contain antimicrobial properties that may help fight off viruses and bacteria. Try adding these to your soups and other dishes for added benefit!
3. Nutrient support. Some key players in out immune system include vitamin D, vitamin C & zinc. Many Canadians have insufficient levels of vitamin D (the sunshine hormone) in the winter months, making us more susceptible to getting sick! Vitamin C & Zinc are also great immune supporting nutrients that can be taken at the onset of cold/flu symptoms. Speak with your healthcare practitioner to find out if these are right for you.
4. Probiotics. These friendly bacteria help reduce colonization of the bad microbes that cause colds, flus, and other infections. Good quality probiotics can help reduce frequency, duration, and severity of seasonal illnesses. They can also help with digestion, metabolism, and overall immune health. Choose a good quality multi-strain probiotic to keep you and your family feeling great this winter.
5. Hygiene is the key to prevention. Make sure to wash your hands regularly, especially at work and in public spaces, and avoid touching your face. Disinfect work and home areas as needed. My favourite products to use are natural disinfectants with thieve's oil, eucalyptus, or tea tree essential oils.
These are all general recommendations that may not be right for everyone. Speak with your naturopathic doctor to decide if these are the best options for you and your family.