It’s upon us. The cold weather is slowly (or not) settling in and temperature is dipping into the double digits, the kids are back in school after winter break and the new year is in full swing. Winter is a time of year that colds and flus sneak up on us and as many of us know, when one member of the family get sick it is often the rest that follows soon after. Below are some tips you and your family can incorporate to prevent or reduce cold and flus.
So, what can you do to boost your immune system?
When it comes to our immune system, it’s not just about eating right and sleeping well. It’s about being intentional with feeding our bodies the right things to be pro-active and preventative.
Before getting into details about what to eat and what natural supplements to take- It is important to understand that our immune system is one of 10 systems in the body. Our bodies are amazing multi-taskers and can operate on multiple levels at the same time. However- When our body is busy trying to balance other systems, level blood sugar levels, decrease blood pressure, deal with inflammation or assist a sluggish digestive system, it has a LOT less energy to spend on fighting off invaders.
As amazing and intelligent as a human body can be, it can also use all the help it can get to be able to return the favour as best it can!
Now, let’s get into some juicy details.
The first thing to get in check when wanting to boost our immune system is our gut health! It might seem out of the blue but think about it: 75% of our immune cells reside in our gut! Why? It doesn’t know what kind of outside substances our gut will get introduced to. It is in constant contact with the outside world through what we eat and drink.
What to eat to support our gut health:
Fermented foods: Not only does it help populate our good gut bacteria, foods that have gone through a fermentation process have an increased amount of vitamins and minerals bio-available for the body, providing a wide variety of micro-nutrients that can help support a healthy immune system.
Gut healing foods: eating foods that can help heal our gut lining gives us a much higher chance to fully absorb the vitamins and minerals from the food we consume which increases the chance that our immune system receives the support it needs. Having a healthy digestive system also leaves us feeling light and satiated which, let’s face it, we could all use this holiday season!
Here is an example: Bone Broth! You may have heard by now that bone broth is very good for gut health. But do you know why? Bone broth is full of protein, collagen as well as the amino acid L-glutamine, which is known for its ability to help heal the gut lining. On top of it’s amazing gut healing effects, bone broth contains an increased amount of minerals, which are very easy to absorb and can help hydrate you. Bone broth is easy to incorporate into soups (whats better for sick kids than Mom’s homemade chicken soup), rice dishes or drinking straight.
Another way you can help your immune system perform more efficiently is by consuming anti-inflammatory foods! When you support your body by providing it with foods that help fight inflammation, your body has more energy to spend on fighting off invaders and keeping you from getting sick. And we are so very lucky that mother nature provides us with foods that are not only anti-inflammatory but also contains immune supporting agents!
Here are a few examples:
Ginger: Ginger contains gingerol which is one of the main anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant compound in ginger. Making it a great addition to teas, salad dressings, elixirs, stir fries etc. And here is a bonus: ginger contains antiseptic and anti-bacterial agents!
Turmeric: You may have heard a lot about the amazing benefits of turmeric! Turmeric is an Indian spice that contains curcumin which is a very powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant agent. It tastes great in curries, soups, and spicy dishes! If you are looking to get more of the amazing benefits it has to offer but don’t feel like spicing up your life with it every day- You can also get it in a supplement form!
Our favourite of the moment: Golden Mylk! You can get all of the amazing benefits of turmeric in a warm latte. Add to the yummy factor by blending in some pumpkin puree and coconut butter into it!
Honey: Not only is honey anti-inflammatory but it is also anti-bacterial and anti-viral! Honey is a great addition to teas, tastes amazing on almond butter toasts and can be enjoyed as a healthy and natural sweetener in your favourite baked goods.
Garlic: On top of tasting great in pretty much... Every dish ever! It also contains anti-viral and anti-fungal properties as well as increasing your body’s ability to create more natural killer cells!
Pills, Potions and more
Here are some supplementation recommendations to ensure you are as pro-active and preventative as you can be!
Echinacea- Echinacea has powerful immune system stimulating properties! Supplementing with echinacea is a great way to support your immune system kindly and naturally in a preventative way. If you are already sick and trying to fight something off, we would recommend you resort to something that works differently and is a little stronger such as:
Oregano oil- Oregano oil is nature’s antibiotic. It is very powerful and will indeed kill anything in its path, including your gut micro-biome. If you do use oregano oil as a last result in an attempt to get better, try and be intentional about replenishing your good gut bacteria through consuming fermented foods or with a good quality probiotic as they will be killed off in the process and play a major role in strengthening and maintaining a strong immune system.
Elderberry- On top of being an immune system booster, elderberry is a natural anti-viral remedy that helps fight sinus infection and helps in overcoming the common cold and flue. Did you know? Elderberry has also been shown to be an anti-microbial, anti-viral and can even help lower blood sugar levels! It is amazing in a syrup to help alleviate a sore throat all while stimulating your immune system.
Special product spotlight: Feel Good Elderberry Syrup -Produced with love by a passionate mom in Edmonton!
Colloidal silver- What is so great about colloidal silver is that you can use it in so many different ways- As a nasal spray to help decongest and fight sinus infections, as eye drops to help treat an eye infection, internally to help kill of germs, fungus and viruses, and externally to sooth skin rashes!
Not convinced that any of these are right for you? Come in and ask one of our wellness staff to help you find options that fit your specific needs. We are dedicated to support you in your health journey. See you soon!
- Nino, Wellness Lead Arbour Lake store