Shorter daylight hours, that little shiver in the air and the changing fall colours are constant reminders that fall is really upon us, and winter is coming (any GOT fans?). Our schedules seem to be getting more and more hectic, and the whole back to office and back to school thing means that most of us are getting more exposure to viruses than we have over the past couple years. Not just COVID, but regular colds and flus as well.
While there is a lot we can’t control, and we are all craving as much connection and normalcy as possible, we do know that the best defence is a great offence; by keeping our immune system revved this season, we have the best chance of staying healthy and not missing anything.
5 Tips for Keeping Immunity Strong
I know, I know, I never stop going on about the importance of sleep. But it’s absolutely crucial for your immune system to function well for you. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night and if you need sleep tips check out the blog on Sleep Hygiene 101.
Studies show that the immune system is very responsive to exercise; regular movement reduces inflammatory biomarkers and increases our natural immune cells (the white blood cells), as well as circulation. BUT, don't exercise vigorously if you are at the start of a cold or illness. You body has only so much energy and you want it to go to your immune system, not your workout. Wait until you are on the mend.
Our immune system depends on us to feed it properly. As Michael Pollan says, “eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. Immune boosting foods include: leafy greens, mushrooms, garlic, ginger, turmeric, legumes, citrus, sweet potatoes, nuts & seeds. If you are finding it tough to get your 6-8 servings of veggies and fruits each and every day, check out Goddess Greens to keep you protected.
Stress, especially the chronic kind, will sap your immune system. (See the blog on Stress & Immunity) Stress will never go away, but we can use techniques to manage it better. Slow, deep breathing (try 10 rounds of inhaling via nose for 5 counts and exhaling via mouth for 6 counts), journaling, meditating, hot baths, are all helpful. So is exercise – not only does it increase immune response, it also reduces stress. Adaptogens like in Daytime Zen can help to reduce cortisol, and better manage your stress response.
Ensure you are drinking enough water. in the colder months, warm liquids are so soothing - hot water with lemon, herbal teas, broth (veggie or bone, depending on your diet).
Supplements alone won’t work – but if you are employing the techniques above, you can augment with a few things for extra support.
Immune Warrior – new from Niyama this next-level immune powder drink mix contains immune-boosting medicinal mushrooms, clinically studied beta glucans, N-acetyl-cysteine (respiratory support), l-glutamine, buffered vitamin C, plant-sourced D3 and zinc. Take daily during virus season, or the second you feel something coming on.
And make sure you are taking Vitamin D. I take it year-round, but it’s extra important in the colder months we so many people become deficient.