Immunity Boosters 101
Well, it is that time of the year again that it seems as if everyone is either sick, paranoid about becoming ill and/or trying desperately to boost their immunity and avoid it all. After working in healthcare for 20 years, I’m happy to share what I have found to be super helpful in avoiding or limiting the duration of illness during the winter months.
It is really imperative that you remember the basics (before we dive into my favorite non-basic suggestions), which include getting adequate sleep (7-8 hours/night in a cold dark room), dialing in on stress levels (ensure you are doing lots of self-care, my personal favorites are dry brushing, meditation, barre classes and spending time with my loved ones…doing things that bring you joy!) and ensuring you are consuming a nutrient dense diet. Now that the winter holidays are behind us, it is time to reduce sugar, alcohol and eat more green veggies! Yes, I said it 🙂 So, just recall the influence of not enough sleep, poor stress management and poor quality diets do to our hormones…especially cortisol…..if cortisol is up, are immunity is impacted negatively as well as control of blood sugar. No bueno. Take care of YOU.
In addition to the basics I employ a pretty hefty strategy, which includes:
- Elderberry syrup: this has been proven in studies that if you use this within the first 48 hours of flu or other illnesses it will reduce symptoms and duration of an illness. It also fights inflammation, which as you might recall from my prior blog posts, is at the basis of all disease. You can make your own or purchase online. We really like Vitacost’s brand (www.vitacost.com).
- Astragalus: this is one of my favorite adaptogenic herbs! As you know I incorporate these into our lives for so many benefits, but this particular one is great for beneficial characteristics on our immune response. My kids actually take a product that incorporates elderberry, astragalus and another herb, echinacea, in an daily immune product by Megafood. They love it!
- Vitamin C: you can take this in powder, pill or spray form. Vitamin C works in several ways, but what I find most compelling is its’ ability to fight free radicals that can impact immunity. We have been using a product by Garden of Life that incorporates a spray Vitamin C.
- Probiotics: I like to incorporate both probiotic rich foods and a great quality probiotic product. Our favorite probiotic rich foods, include fermented veggies, esp kraut (Wildbrine makes so many delicious options!), kefir, full fat organic yogurt and Kombucha to name a few. I alternate between Klaire Labs Therbiotic (soil based) and Megaspore (spore based) probiotics in our family.
- Vitamin A and D We know that low levels of Vitamin D are a predictor of dampened immune response, so it is absolutely vital that you are taking a supplement that incorporates both of these fat soluble vitamins to ensure your body can assimilate these properly.
- Bone broth: this is such a powerhouse and to really gain the benefits learn how to make this at home. It tastes better and is more beneficial than store bought varieties. The collagen, amino acids and gelatin are so gut supportive, and we know that our gut is really at the forefront of all of our health and immunity. Bone broth also helps boost immune cells like lymphocytes that help fight infections. I store pre-made Mason jars full of this throughout the year and it is so easy to defrost and consume as you need to.
- Medicinal mushrooms: who would have thought how immune supportive mushrooms are! I like Mycommunity’s product and recommend it regularly to our family and clients. Or you can incorporate shitake mushrooms from the grocery store into stir-frys, salads, etc.
- On-Guard by Doterra: this contains wild orange peel, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus leaf and rosemary. Last winter when my oldest son contracted flu, we diffused this nearly non-stop for 1 week and no one else in the house got the flu. I’m a believer!
So, I hope these quick suggestions resonate with you and your family.
I’d love to hear more about how you keep your family safe and reduce likelihood of illness during flu/cold season! Just reply below.