December 29, 2016
It’s that time of year again daylight has gotten shorter, it’s a little colder than we would like it to be, time spent outside is minimal and just one look outside these days is enough to hit the couch under a warm blanket and watch some Netflix instead of hitting the gym. Going into the holidays we are all a little busier and feeling more stress trying to get everything done and let’s face it we all indulge a little more with treats of various kinds. All of this can lead up to us becoming more susceptible to catching colds and flus.
No one is invincible and your body needs to be exposed to pathogens to improve your immune system but sometimes your natural defence system just doesn’t keep up. So here are a few things that I suggest to clients and follow myself to stay healthy. The first thing I talk about is to eat a healthy diet comprised of a variety of whole foods with lean proteins, healthy fats and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Keep the 80/20 rule in mind, 80% of the time, eat as healthy as you can and then it gives a little room to indulge a little here and there. Also adding in foods with natural antimicrobial properties such as garlic and onions will help your body fight anything it comes into contact with. And foods high in vitamin C are important, cabbage and bell peppers are great choices and of course oranges. Also good old homemade chicken soup is nourishing and an easy way to give your body what it needs to stay healthy.
Do something every day to help lower stress as it can lower your immune system function. Walking for a few minutes outside in nature, take a warm bath, deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga and aromatherapy are all great examples to lower stress.
Exercise! Staying active not only helps lower stress but your lymph system, which transports white blood cells that fight infections, is dependent on movement so run, bounce, do yoga whatever you enjoy doing just keep moving.
Optimize your vitamin D levels! Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that we require for many reasons including healthy bones, healthy mood and a strong immune system. Most people know vitamin D to be the sunshine vitamin our bodies make in the sun but during the winter months it becomes important to consider supplementing as our levels begin to be depleted which can make us more susceptible to catching colds and flus at this time of year. Vitamin D works in the immune system by decreasing inflammatory cytokines and increase antimicrobial proteins which can help increase the immune system to fight infections more effectively. I personally supplement with about 5000IUs of vitamin D a day during the winter months to help stay healthy.
Kelly Zakus B.Sc., C.H.N.C.
Natural Choice Advisor, West Springs
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