Natural Tips for Boosting Your Immune System
Are you susceptible to catching the cold and/or flu more than once each winter and tired of having to use up all your sick days at work? Or maybe your child easily picks up any bug at school/daycare and consequently ends up having a lot of absenteeism at school due to constantly being sick? Here are some ways that you can prevent yourself or your child(ren) from catching the cold and also what you can do to boost the immune system.
For an individualized treatment plan, please consult a naturopathic doctor who can perform a thorough assessment and identify areas of weakness in YOUR body that should be strengthened.
Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds and especially after being in heavy traffic areas like public transit, malls, daycares, workplaces.
Aim for getting 8 hours of sleep per night for adults and 10 hours of sleep for children. Sleep helps give us the rest our body needs so all our body systems can function optimally including our immune system.
Stay physically active – physical activity helps with circulation, elimination, and detoxification so toxins have a reduced chance of accumulating in the body
Eat warm foods – During the winter months, opt for more warming foods and spices (soups, stews, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, garlic, lentils) over cold and damp foods (salads, dairy, sugary treats). In Traditional Chinese Medicine, warm foods support our digestion which in turn support our lungs and immunity.
Address and find ways to minimize stress – Stress triggers a hormone to be released called cortisol which suppresses immune function making it hard to fight infections. Elevated cortisol also has other implications and can affect thyroid hormones and/or sex hormones (progesterone, testosterone, estrogen). If you have experienced stress (physical or emotional) over your lifetime and are curious to know what your cortisol levels are, I offer a few different laboratory tests to determine your adrenal function.
Address inflammation – Inflammation in any part of the body whether is it affecting an organ, muscles, or joints (and manifests as joint pain or muscle / body pain) can make the immune system less effective in fighting off viral/bacterial infections as the immune cells are being directed to the area of chronic inflammation
Gut health – yes it is true, all health starts in the gut. Our digestive tract has approximately 70% of our immune system so it is very important to establish good gut health to support our immune system. This means addressing and treating the cause of any bloating, acid reflux, burping, indigestion, constipation, and/or diarrhea you may be experiencing. Probiotics are just one solution but to identify the real triggers, booking an appointment with a healthcare provider such as a naturopathic doctor can help you identify the root cause.
An immunity booster injection – this contains Echinacea and some cold/flu symptom-based homeopathics. This is not a substitute for the flu shot as it does not target a specific influenza strain. The immunity booster works to provide an additional boost to your overall immunity.
Vitamin D and Vitamin C – if there are any two supplements that should be on your kitchen counter, these are the two! Vitamin D helps support immune function and immune cells. Vitamin C helps stimulate the immune system and research has shown that it is most effective at the first onset of a cold.
If you would like an individualized assessment regarding any of the above or for an immunity booster injection, please book an appointment at one of the two locations – Ascent Integrative Health (downtown) or Vitamins First (NW).