Support Your Immune System throughout the Holiday Season!
It’s that time of year again when everyone and their dog is getting sick. If you haven’t already had a taste of this year’s cold and flu bugs, consider yourself lucky. If you have, I feel your pain. Either way, it’s essential to support your immune system in order to remain healthy, or at least decrease the chance of a second bout.
Dr. Nicola’s tips to avoid colds and flu this holiday season:
1. Incorporate foods that support your immune system into your diet:
- Citrus fruits (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, mandarin, etc.) contain vitamin C, an essential nutrient that increases the production and function of lymphocytes, which are important for fighting infections. A glass of water with half of a freshly squeezed lemon is a great way to start your day or try an orange or grapefruit for a nutritious afternoon snack.
- Onions, garlic, shallots and leeks have a high concentration of sulphur, which is required for the synthesis of glutathione, your main anti-oxidant. When your body fights a microbe (aka bug), free radicals are produced, and antioxidants clean up the mess. These delicious superfoods are perfect for adding flavour to soups, stews, and just about anything else you’ve got cooking. If feel like you’re coming down with something, raw organic garlic is one of my favourite home remedies. Try cutting up a fresh clove and letting it sit for a couple minutes (this activates the potent antimicrobial component allicin), and then mix it with half a teaspoon of honey. You can swallow this with a big gulp of water like you would a pill.
- Ginger and Turmeric are potent natural anti-inflammatories, helping to balance inflammatory pathways that are often tilted towards inflammation due to western diets. Add them to soups, curries, stir-fries and fresh pressed juice.
- Pumpkin Seeds are rich in zinc, which is necessary for proper functioning of your immune system, and a co-factor for many biochemical processes in the body. It’s perfect since they are in season right now! Lightly toast and use them to top soups and salads.
2. Get plenty of sleep:
- 7- 9 Hours of Sleep is best. A lot of my patients tell me that they don’t have time to get the ideal 7-9 hours of sleep that they need. But the reality is that you have a lot to accomplish while you’re sleeping! At night your immune system replenishes itself and a drainage system in your brain washes away the metabolic byproducts of the previous day. Lack of sleep decreases your immunity and leaves you vulnerable to the many infections going around. Make sleep a priority and your health will benefit.
3. Visit your Naturopathic Doctor:
- A plan just for you. If all this fails and/or you want a more specific plan, tailored to your unique needs, book in to see Dr. Nicola Bennett at the IV Wellness Boutique. As a Naturopathic doctor, she has many tools and tricks to keep your immune system in check, or help you bounce back sooner if you get run down this holiday season!