Curious on how to keep your immune system strong this Winter so you can prevent or lessen effects of infections like influenza or common cold viruses? Dr. Casey recently shared her top tips with Natural Awakenings, and has summarized these tips below.
Top Natural Medicine Tips for Staying Healthy this Winter:
- Stay hydrated – Drink about half your weight in ounces of water per day. This helps maintain immune function and keep mucus thin and moving. Limit dehydrating and immune-suppressive drinks like alcohol.
- Eat whole, fresh foods – Fresh and colorful foods provide the micro-nutrients necessary for proper immune function. Garlic, onions and herbs can be particularly helpful in boosting immune function, while sugar and processed foods impair immunity.
- Maintain proper rest – The immune system does its best work while we sleep! Make sleep a priority!
- Manage stress – Stress hampers immune function so take a low-stress approach to the holidays, and find something you can do regularly for relaxation and stress management. Simply taking deep, conscious breaths creates a powerful shift in your nervous system!
- Exercise – Moving the body means increased circulation of blood and immune cells, but be sure not to overdo it either.
- Wash hands – Prevent the spread of microbes by washing hands with regular soap and water. This is a better choice than hand-sanitizers or antibacterial soaps.
- Address gut health – With the majority of the immune system residing in the gut, it’s important to maintain a healthy digestive track. Accomplish this by eating a whole-foods based diet, avoiding processed foods and adding in probiotics or probiotic-rich foods (i.e. fermented foods).
- Take supportive herbs or supplements – Consider supporting yourself with OTC herbal products or supplements geared at immune support. Some ingredients to look for include elderberry, echinacea, zinc, vitamin C and vitamin D. Quality OTC brands include Gaia Herbs, Herb Pharm and Megafood.
If you do come down with an infection, be sure to rest and give your body time and space to recover. Your naturopathic doctor can provide specific recommendations and formulations for your individual needs, which may include homeopathic remedies, herbal formulations, nutritional products or any combination thereof.
And remember, getting an occasional minor infection is normal and can actually help keep your immune system in fighting shape!