Keeping your immune system robust during the colder months, naturally!
“Achoo!” “Sniff, sniff.” “Cough, cough.” Sounds like these are the all too familiar noises that many folks often experience during the colder months. Right around the time the Fall season begins, my office is fully stocked with the supplements and herbal remedies that are essential for immune health. I have great news. I’m going to share my top, natural immune health supporting tips, so that this cold/flu season you can avoid buying fewer boxes of Kleenex® tissues and more healthy snow days.
Tip 1. Take a daily broad-spectrum probiotic. Why? 80% of your immune system is primarily in your gastrointestinal tract and you want plenty of those “good bugs” to fight off the “bad bugs” (especially the bad bugs that cause the nasty stomach flu!) Good probiotic suggestions: Standard Process Prosynbiotic or Plexus VitalBiome. Consider taking your probiotic prior to eating breakfast.
Tip 2. Stay Hydrated with water. Before you even ask, coffee and caffeinated teas do not count towards your daily water requirement. How much water do you need? Half of your body weight in ounces daily and more or less depending on your activity levels. Make sure you drink filtered water (not Tap) and if you like, flavor it with lemon/ lime juice and you can even use stevia or monk fruit plants as safe, diabetic-friendly, low glycemic sweeteners. The best water filter brands include: Clearly Filtered or Berkey.
Tip 3. Optimize your Vitamin D levels by using food. Stay away from synthetic vitamin D3. It is stated by multiple sources to be made from lanolin which is extracted from sheep’s wool- and while sheep provide wonderful materials such as wool, they don’t need to be providing as a food source. Best food sources for vitamin D: Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil, and Standard Process Cataplex D. If you do not know how much vitamin D you require daily, get your blood tested. Ideally, you want to be within the range of 50 ng/mL-70 ng/mL.
Tip 4. Take a really good multi mineral daily. This “multi” should be from a whole-food source; not synthetic. Synthetic sources are typically derived from a combination of coal tar, limestone, and other non-food substances that your body will only store as toxins! I prefer Immuplex from Standard Process.
Tip 5. Limit your daily sugar intake. Sugar reduces your white blood cells’ ability to kill pathogens in the body. You need white blood cells to keep these invaders from taking over your body, because if they do, that’s when illness sets in. In fact, drinking just 1 medium-sized soda can dampen your white blood cells’ ability to protect you up to 10 hours! Ideally, your total sugar intake should be below 35 grams per day from all sources, including the naturally occurring sugar that you get from whole fruits. The best sources to satisfy that “sweet tooth” are from fruit, stevia or even the plant “monk fruit.” If I do happen to make a baked good, I’ll use one of the following as a sweetener: raw honey, blackstrap molasses, mashed bananas, Lakanto or Swerve Sweetener. Sorry, Mary Poppins, keep your spoonful of sugar.
Tip 6. Get quality rest. Your immune power builds the most while you sleep! In the colder months try to get up to 9 hours.
Tip 7. Try a daily herbal tincture with Echinacea. One of my favorite brands is from the Greenbrier Herbalist in Upper Black Eddy, PA where they make an Elderberry Cordial that is absolutely delicious or even Herb Pharm’s Daily Immune Builder tincture. For kids: Herb Pharm Kid’s Immune Fortifier tincture is recommend.
Tip 8. “Ha, Ha!” Have a good laugh daily. This is one of my favorite immune-boosting tips! I like watching the Ellen DeGeneres Show or funny animal clips on the web, reading the comic strips in the paper, or even just chatting with a friend who’s a natural comedian. Just make sure that whatever format you choose, it really creates a good belly laugh!
There you have it, folks. These are my top immune-boosting tips to implement throughout the chilly months that I use personally and recommend to my clients. If you feel you might need a more personalized approach to keeping your immune system strong, I encourage you to work with a qualified natural health care practitioner in your area.
Disclaimer: The entire contents of this article are based upon the opinions of Board-Certified Naturopath Rachel Bright, unless otherwise noted. The information in this article is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Rachel Bright, ND. She encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.