Now Is the Time to Prep Your Immune System for winter
Picture this: The weather is cooling down, cozy coats re-emerge, and you may be shutting those windows and start cranking up the heat. With a new season on the horizon, unwanted guests will be popping up. The sniffles and sneezes, or worse, are coming. But don’t head for the cold medicine just yet; there’s plenty you can do to prepare yourself. It’s important, however, that you start supporting your immune system and inflammatory response now in order to stay healthy thought the fall, winter, and spring. And so, in preparation for the changing season, here are a few ways to support your body:
1. Remember: A healthy gut equals a healthy immune system
Seventy percent of the immune system lives in your intestinal lining, so it’s no surprise that the key to a well-balanced immune system is making sure the bacteria inhabiting your gut are healthy and thriving. Adding in a daily probiotic is a great place to start, but for many, you’ll need to go a step further, addressing the root cause of any gut issues, reducing inflammation, and supporting healthy digestion.
2. Take medicinal plants or supplements that reduce inflammation
When we think of allergies, we’re often thinking of the symptoms associated with allergies – running nose, itchy eyes, and headaches – but at the core, we’re really experiencing an inflammatory response to foreign particles. Medicinal plants and supplements can help reduce inflammation and give you some relief. Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, as well as herbal blends can all be used to control and prevent symptoms.
3. Leverage diet to reduce allergy symptoms
Even if you don’t have food allergies, eating a healthy diet supports the immune system and makes you less prone to an allergy attack. We recommend choosing foods that fight inflammation, like organic plants and foods high in fiber and healthy fats, while avoiding refined sugars, processed white flour, dairy products, and meat. If you’ve ever heard of the vegetarian Mediterranean diet, that’s a great plan that offers many benefits – even beyond allergies.
4. Ease your stressors
Like the foods we eat, stress can also trigger an inflammatory response (are you noticing a trend?), which makes it even more important that you manage anxiety and any chronic stressors. Incorporate some mind-body healing into your daily routine, like meditation, long walks, yoga practice, and deep breathing.
5. Reduce your exposure to harmful toxins
Simple enough, right? As obvious as it sounds, harmful toxins are sometimes lurking where you’d least expect them, like in personal care and cleaning products. Toxins can damage the immune system and trigger inflammation. To reduce exposure, you might consider buying water filters, replacing toxic household products with natural alternatives, and installing air filters to cleanse your environment. Remember, if you don’t recognize an ingredient, your body probably won’t either.
September 19, 2018