Although it most certainly does not feel like Fall here in Southern California with 80 degree weather, it is, and with that comes the beginning of cold & flu season. Personally, and I know for sure that I am not alone in this, I do not have time to be sick, plus who wants to be, it’s miserable, so I do whatever I can to keep my immune system as strong as possible. I think it is pretty much common knowledge at this point that 70-80% of our immune system resides in our gut, so a healthy gut is impairitive when it comes to over all health good health.
So, what does building a healthy immune system look like? Well, let’s start with the obvious things that are drilled into our heads regularly. In a nutshell, drink lots of “clean” water, eat a lot of dark green leafy veggies, antioxidant rich produce (organic when on the Dirty Dozen list), get plenty of restful sleep and reduce/manage stress. Of coarse this is overly simplistic, but in reality the details are going to be specific to each individual. To say “everybody” needs to eat the same way and live a specific lifestyle is unrealistic, but with all the healthy ways we can live our lives, which way is best for YOU? This is where things begin to get confusing, so my skills and expertise as a Certified Health Coach can come in very handy for some. I walk along side and “coach” my clients to find their optimal health for themselves and their families. I lead by example and share how things work for myself and my family and along the way these ideas and thoughts resonate with others. So let’s do it, let’s talk about what I and my family does to stay healthy particularly during the cold and flu season, but really year round.
Please keep in mind there are many ways to build and maintain a strong immune system, this is what is working for my family at this point in time. Nutrition is a fluid science that changes constantly, so I will continue to research and learn for myself, my family and my clients. Good thing I am such a nerd about all this crazy nutrition and wellness “stuff.”
Here we go…
- Eat from the RAINBOW daily-Eating foods with lots of vibrant color will yield more vitamins and minerals. Darker/richer colored produce tend to have in theory more antioxidants and nutrition
- Limit sugar and processed food intake. Both are VERY inflammatory and weaken our immune systems by causing a chronic inflammatory state
- Make sure to get adequate amounts of restful sleep, myself and our boys get 8-9 hours and my husband who doesn’t need as much gets about 7 hours/night
- WATER…is our friend! Among it’s many benefits it flushes toxins, helps our bodies to function efficiently and a hydrated body is better at fighting infections…urine should always be a pale yellow to clear.
- Wash your hands…every time you walk in the house from being at school, running errands or anywhere, wash your hands first thing. Oh and with all that hand washing don’t forget to change out your kitchen and hand drying towels every few days.
- We each take a probiotic daily to help keep our healthy gut bacteria thriving. In addition to this I (can’t get the boys to do it just yet) eat fermented foods such as Kimchi, Kombucha, Homemade Coconut Yogurt and Apple Cider Vinegar dressings and drinks
- We try to keep our bodies as Alkaline as possible regularly. “Bad bugs” love nothing more than an acidic environment. They literally thrive in it.
So what happens IF we do start to get sick…this just happened to me last week and this is what helped me to NOT get sick…
- At the first sign we start to drink more water, and we make a freshly juiced Immunity Juice and Immunity Hot Chocolate not together just throughout the day
- We do not consume much if any dairy or sugar (sugar amounts vary per person in our family as I’m sure you guessed the boys do eat more than I do), but when we are starting to feel something coming on we eliminate it all together. Both sugar and dairy cause inflammation again a breeding ground for illness
- I add Cat’s Claw an herbal immune booster (can be found at health food stores) to my tea or immunity Hot Chocolate. I find this only works if taken upon first signs of illness. This is far from the only immunity boosting herb.
- Astragalus is another herb I take off and on regularly, but more if I start feeling run down or sick. It stimulates our immune system and has antioxidant effects that inhibit free radical production and can be easily added to smoothies.
- Rest! When you feel something coming on your body needs extra rest and sleep to fight it. If we give our bodies the right environment they are made to heal themselves.
Finally, really listen to your body as it will tell you what it needs. Make sure you know the difference between wanting what your body needs physically and emotionally. There is usually a difference.
Here is to a healthy Winter season!