Boosting immunity for the fall and winter seasons brings many new patients into my practice, as most people do not want to take drugs when they or their children come down with a cold virus. Some people choose to get a flu shot, but it does not guarantee protection from getting sick, nor does it improve your health. The recommendation I have to my patients is to take care of a few key basics that will help strengthen their immune system so they are naturally better at fighting off infections.
The food you eat provides your body with key nutrients so that it can heal and prevent disease. Ask your family to help prepare meals and learn about healthy eating together. Aim for a diet with a variety of organic fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein sources. Eat foods with low saturated fat and no trans fat. Good fats include avocado, extra virgin olive oil, almonds, and walnuts. Avoid processed or packaged foods as much as possible, as they are less nutritious than whole foods.
Some foods tend to promote mucous in the body, such as dairy. Milk and yogurt should be avoided if you have a productive cough, runny nose, or in general if you are prone to sinus infections.
Consuming high-glycemic foods, caffeine, alcohol and food sensitivities will make you more prone to getting an infection, so if you get colds or the flu, consider getting a blood test to discover your hidden food sensitivities. Also, take a high quality encapsulated multi-vitamin supplement without any non-medicinal ingredients for optimal health.
A restful night’s sleep for a minimum of 6 hours uninterrupted is your goal to help strengthen your body’s defenses. Melatonin, a hormone that is produced while you sleep is a powerful antioxidant that also has immune-boosting effects. Try going to bed at the same time every night, preferably by 10pm and waking by 6am.
Feeling constantly under stress will raise cortisol levels, which suppresses your ability to fight infections decreases your immune system. We all lead very busy lives with working and caring our families, however it is vital to keep a balance and reduce stress in as many ways as you can. Exercise, read a good book, and find joy in your life in some way every day.
Try to avoid situations that evoke stress, as the cause of stress is different for everyone. Try thinking positive and make lists to organize your day so that you do not feel overwhelmed with tasks. Find outlets for stress such as spending time with pets, meditation and deep breathing.