Flu season is upon us! With weather dropping down and more time being spent indoors, we constantly are being exposed to germs that can cause cold and flu symptoms. Don't wait until you fall susceptible to illness before taking measures to boost your immune system! Keeping our immune systems strong can help reduce the amount of viruses we catch and also help our body recover more quickly if they do. Find tips below for ways that you can naturally keep your immune system in tip-top shape and fighting off those pesky bugs!
- Get adequate sleep: Staying up late and waking up early puts added stress on our bodies. While asleep our body does a lot of repairing and healing that keeps our immune systems functioning at their optimal level. Prime recovery occurs before midnight so hit the sheets early!
- Eat according to season: Colds and flus are most abundant during the colder months of the year. We need to change our diets accordingly with the changes of seasons. The colder weather requires more energy from our bodies to keep ourselves warm so it is best to avoid cold, raw foods and eat warming foods like soups and stews. Also increase your intake of immune boosting foods like garlic, onions, ginger and turmeric!
- Vitamins and minerals: Vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc provide great support for the immune system. The dose you should be taking is specific to you and depends on many factors including your diet, lifestyle, genetics and environment. Load up on foods high in vitamin C like oranges, bell peppers, berries and leafy greens. Zinc is found in high amounts in animal products like beef and oysters, as well as pumpkin seeds and wheat germ.
- Decrease your exposure to illness: The germs that cause colds and flus are spread through respiratory droplets and direct contact. Therefore, it is important to cough or sneeze into our elbows and not our hands. Once droplets are on our hands from a cough, they are transferred to all surfaces we touch after. During cold and flu season it is especially important to wash our hands regularly to prevent the spread of the germs.
- Bundle up: In Traditional Chinese Medicine the back of your neck is called your "wind gate." Having your wind gate exposed to cold makes you more susceptible to catching a cold. It is important during cooler weather to keep your head and neck covered to stay warm. Make sure you wear a scarf and hat if it is windy or chilly to protect yourself.
- Immune Boosting Herbs: There are many herbs that have immune boosting properties. These herbs can help your immune system stay strong and make you less susceptible to getting sick this cold and flu season. Talk to your Naturopathic Doctor to learn more about the herbs that may be right for you and to develop a complete personal plan to fight the flu naturally.