7 Natural Ways to Prepare Your Immune System for Cold and Flu Season
The arrival of fall brings new and exciting beginnings, whether it is going back to school, taking on new projects or resuming taking care of our health. During this gorgeous time of the year, nature goes through change too. The leaves are falling and golden trees decorate the outdoors. The sun begins to set earlier and we are exposed to less sunlight. We begin to hear coughing and sneezing at the workplace and on public transit. The stress of change and new responsibilities in combination with cooler weather and less sunlight puts us at risk of illness. Managing stress, eating right, engaging in physical activities and proactively taking care of our health will decrease chances of you getting sick this fall.
Here are seven simple steps you can take to stay healthy and energized in the fall.
1. Sleep Right
Getting enough sleep is very important in preventing getting sick. In the Journal of the American Medical Association, a 2009 study was published emphasizing the importance of getting eight hours of sleep. Participants who slept less than seven hours a night were three times as likely to get sick as those who had eight or more hours of sleep.
2. Eat Right
In-season vegetables include parsnip, sweet potato and beets are widely available in grocery stores and farmers market. Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A that will benefit your vision, immune system and provide some anti-oxidants. Making a delicious parsnip soup is my favourite fall staple. Having a fiber rich breakfast such as oat bran cereal will help to keep blood sugar stable and provide a boost of B vitamins. Honey has antimicrobial action and a great sweetener alternative.
3. Hand Washing
Hand washing is important in preventing the spread of infection and illness. Wash hands after sneezing, traveling and coming in contact with sick people.
4. Contrast showers
One of the simplest ways to boost immune system and improve circulation is to take contrast showers each morning. Shower under warm/hot water for 30 seconds then switch to cold/cool water for 10 seconds. Repeat this 3-5 times and always end with cold. For maximum effectiveness, maintain a large difference in temperature.
Consider taking vitamins such as A, C, E and B to help body increase resistance to viral and bacterial infections. Taking vitamin D will help compensate for the lack of sunlight in the fall.
6. Herbal Teas
Herbal teas are a great way to boost the immune system as well as relieve stress and anxiety. Echinacea can be taken as a tincture or as a tea for its antimicrobial and immunostimulant properties to prevent and treat common cold. Chamomile and peppermint teas will help ease anxiety and improve digestion.
7. Physical Activity
Although the weather is getting cold, go outside and make it fun! Visit pick-your-own apple farms, go for a walk or a bike ride. Take in the last rays of sun and make some vitamin D!
For broader protection, consider coming in for a needle-free Immune Support Consult offered at the Madison Clinic. The visit includes an assessment and an immune system supporting supplement containing low-dose Echinacea and lymphatic-stimulant homeopathic product given orally. Immune Support visits are ideally repeated monthly between September and February to protect you against getting ill CLICK TO BOOK.
- Cohen S, Doyle WJ, Alper CM, Janicki-Deverrts D, Turner RB. Sleep habits and susceptibility to the common cold. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169:62-67. 37.
- Godfrey A, Saunders P, Barlow K, Gowan M. Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine: Volume 1: Botanical Medicine Monographs. CCNM Press 2012.
- Boyle W, Saine A. Lectures in Naturopathic Hydrotherapy. Eclectic Medical Publications 1995.
The content of this blog is for educational purpose only and is not a substitute for seeing your health care practitioner. Following any information or recommendations provided on this website is at your own risk.