A number of factors affect your immunity each day. With the holiday season around the corner, it is really important to stay healthy and happy to enjoy this time with your family and friends. No one wants to worry about being sick, but with significant cold weather changes, more time spent indoors, and increased stress, sniffles and coughs seem almost inevitable.
So let’s discuss some things you can incorporate in your routine to increase your immunity naturally and take full advantage of this time of the year:
1. Eat Green. You’ve heard it from me many-a-times, and many others, that keeping a plentiful intake of greens, vegetables and fruits, is important to promote immune health. Try some mushrooms (shiitake, maitake and reishi), which contain complex carbohydrates, the beta-glucans, that enhance immune activity against infections and reduce allergies, a common inappropriate immune system activity. Use plenty of garlic, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, echinacea, and ginseng in your cooking, which have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Also remember to eat sufficient protein, and not just meat!
2. Nix the sugar. Avoid eating a lot of processed foods and liquids with added sugars and artificial ingredients, such as aspartame, BHT, TBHQ, artificial food coloring, etc. because all of them suppress the immune response in the body.
3. Pick elderberry. Elderberries support the immune system and are a great source of vitamins C, A, and B6, and minerals iron, potassium, and calcium. The elderberry extract can help you recover from the flu within 2-3 days days, as shown in a double-blind study. It is also the second-highest antioxidant fruit.
4. Stock up on vitamin C. Seek out citrus fruits (organges, grapefruit, lemon, lime, etc.), dark green vegetables, bell peppers, berries, kiwi, papaya, mangoes, tomatoes, and more.
If in dire need and experiencing symptoms, find a natural supplement and increase the intake up to 3,000 mg.
5. Get your vitamin D. Vitamin D helps facilitate the anti-inflammatory process and fights infections from invading bacteria and viruses. Go outside for 15 minutes each day for a little bit of sun exposure. Also, maintain a diet that includes a lot of omega-3-rich foods, such as fish, mushrooms, and eggs.
Staying healthy and happy throughout the holiday season brings blessings to all!
6. See your chiropractor. Chiropractic adjustment helps maintain a well-functioning nervous system by aligning the spine, which helps keep the immune system at an optimum level to fight illness.
7. Exercise. Move your body, period! Walk, run, do yoga, pilates, stretching, weights, or any other form of exercise to get your blood pumping, your heart rate up, your breathing accelerated, and relieve the stress and tension. As a result, it will help enhance your immune function. Don’t forget to have some fun either with some of the winter activities.
8. Stress less. The stresses of the holiday season can actually weaken your immune system by increasing the levels of adrenaline and cortisol in your blood stream. Long-term, chronic stress can create lasting effects on the body, making a person hyper reactive to inflammatory and allergic reactions, such as allergies, asthma, and autoimmune disease. Psychological stress also make a person more susceptible to the colds and viruses. Try countering stressful situations with exercise, yoga, spending some time outside, relaxing in the quiet, meditating, or even breathing deeply.
9. Get some sleep. Getting 6-8 hours of sleep each night is imperative to allow the body to rest and repair itself from the daily activities. Lack of sleep can activate the stress response with elevated cortisol and adrenaline levels, depressed immune system function, and create inflammatory response in the body. So allow your body to repair and integrate itself each night!
10. Make friends. An active social life can help you stay healthy and live longer. The same counts for the furry friends because you are more likely to get outside and exercise. So this holiday season visit some family and friends, make plans to get together, and get out and enjoy yourself!
Don’t forget to have fun and stay healthy! Enjoy the season and many blessings!
Be healthy & happy, Dr. Tijana
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