HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR IMMUNITY AND PROTECT YOUR HEALTH FOR WINTER
As the days become shorter and the weather becomes cooler, we may feel some relief from the summer heat, but this also signals the beginning of cold and flu season.
While we can’t control our exposure to atmospheric pathogens like common cold and flu bugs, or our bodies’ reaction to these bugs, the good news is we CAN take steps to build our bodies’ immunity.
This means we are in a better position to fight off illness, reduce the severity of symptoms, and the duration of any illness we are exposed to.
Our number one defense is good nutrition and lifestyle habits to maintain overall health and well being. Let’s look at the steps or pillars of good health one by one.
Check for nutritional deficiencies, and work with a health care professional, such as a Dietitian to address any problems. Natural food in an unprocessed state is always better metabolized and assimilated by the body. Shop around the perimeter of the supermarket.
However, if you are not able to meet these requirements with fresh, whole foods, then speak to your Dietitian for individualized advice on appropriate supplements. Avoid over the counter supplements.
Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables every day which supply critical Vitamin C to help build immunity and fight disease. Kiwi fruit, strawberries, oranges and even avocados are perfect examples.
Vitamin A is found in fats such as animal foods, butter and eggs and also in nuts.
Plant based foods such as legumes, beans, nuts and seeds are rich in antioxidants which help fight inflammation and contain fiber which helps build a healthy gut microbiome.
Protein rich foods help build immunity – examples of protein rich food are eggs, fish, meat, chicken, legumes, quinoa or yoghurt in your meals. Include protein at every meal – so for breakfast this could be eggs, or Greek yoghurt with fruit and muesli. Some animal or vegetarian protein with salad or a sandwich for lunch and some lean meat with grains and vegetables for dinner would be ideal.
A good rule of thumb would be to eat mostly protein, with equal parts carbohydrate and fat at each meal. This assists with weight management and stable energy levels.
Drink alcohol in moderation and only a few times per week.
Avoid sugar and processed foods where possible. Stick to 80/20 fresh food to processed food and sweets as a rule.
Excess sugar depletes the immune system, as sugar stimulates production of the hormone cortisol and throws your system into a roller coaster of responses that weaken your immunity.
Hydrate with water – around 2 litres per day. Dehydration is common, and can be the cause of headaches, mood swings, poor digestion and optimal heart and kidney function. Lack of proper hydration can affect your physical performance and can increase your susceptibility to illness.
If you are unable to meet your nutritional needs, or fall ill and are unable to eat properly, further assistance from your health care professional may be required. Your health care professional can assist you by prescribing vitamins, minerals or homeopathic remedies to support you until wellness is established again.
It is important to establish good gut health. Any orally ingested supplements won’t be effective if your system cannot absorb them due to inflammation. If your gut is not functioning optimally, taking too many supplements may cause bloating and gastric discomfort. Any stress to the system can lower immunity so we want to avoid that.
Regular physical activity like walking, yoga, body weight training or any movement that elevates your heart rate and makes you feel good is ideal for immunity. Aim for 3 to 5 sessions per week.
Note that strenuous exercise can increase free radicals in your system which can lower your immune system. Moderation is the key. Do enough to feel you have made an effort, but not so much that you become tired, short tempered or injured post activity.
Try to get outside and get some sun each day to boost your Vitamin D levels. Don’t underestimate the healing properties of sunshine and being in nature! A brisk walk in the sun can work wonders for your mood by lifting serotonin levels and balancing melatonin which then assists with sleep.
Humans need regular sleep for optimal hormonal function – between 6 to 8 hours per night for adults, 8 – 10 hours for teens and up to 14 hours for infants and younger children.
Good quality sleep and immunity are closely linked. We’ve all experienced feeling run down after periods of intense work or travel where our sleep has been disrupted.
Try to minimize stress if you can. Worry and anxiety significantly decrease immunity. ‘Easier said than done’ you may think but taking on the problems of other people and the larger community is a choice, not a given. You CAN create a little bubble around yourself by engaging in soothing activities - meditation, exercise in fresh air, yoga, journaling or seeing a therapist are all helpful here. Be kind to yourself.
Prolonged stress can suppress the immune system and make you vulnerable to illness. Mental stress becomes physical stress and this in turn becomes imbalance and dis-ease.
A good old-fashioned talk with a trusted friend can often be soothing – a problem shared is a problem halved!
The tools for good health are in your hands, and it is always better to be pro active than re active. Start taking care of your health today and enjoy the winter season full of laughter and fun with friends and family.
If you would like to find a solution to your individual issues, please contact me.
I am available for consultations in person, or via Zoom or Skype or also via the website -
Homeopathy 247 https://homeopathy247.com/