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September 23, 2022

7 Natural Tips for a Winter-Proof Immune System.

Photo by JESSICA TICOZZELLI on Pexels.

As winter approaches, we start thinking about ways to protect our health.

It’s true that, as the seasons change, it’s important to maintain a healthy immune system.

But before we rush out and buy every “immune-boosting” product under the sun, we should consider this:

A healthy immune system is one that’s in harmony: neither underreacting nor overreacting.

Our immune systems don’t need “boosting.”

They need sustainable, natural support.

Unlike those off-the-shelf quick fixes, true immune system harmony takes time and consistency to achieve.

So don’t wait for winter to arrive in full force before you implement these seven tips—get started today.

1. Ditch the dairy

Americans alone consume over 600 pounds of milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream a year. [1] That’s per person!

Besides the fact that dairy is mucogenic (meaning it produces mucus, which makes you more susceptible to contagions), consider the following:

>> Studies have shown dairy protein facilitates the development of cancer [2]

>> Risk of antibiotic residue, pesticide contamination, and harmful microorganisms

>> Even organic milk usually contains high levels of hormones [3]

>> About 68 percent of us can’t absorb lactose, the sugar found in dairy products [4]

Why not ditch the cow’s milk and switch to anti-inflammatory almond milk? You can even make your own at home. I share my simple recipe (and more ways to winter-proof your diet), here.

2. Move your body

Your immune system thrives when you exercise.

One recent study even shows that exercise can have a positive influence on your gut health (which also affects your immune system). [5]

According to the same study, published on Science Direct, “Each exercise bout promotes the recirculation of key immune cells. Over time, regular exercise training mediates an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant state…”

And the more regularly you exercise, the better the anti-inflammatory effect. [6]

More exercise = less inflammation = better immunity. So what are you waiting for?

Go take your dog for a nice long walk, have a dance party in your living room, or find some other way to move your body that (quite literally) makes you come alive!

3. Cut out the alcohol

While some say cutting down your consumption is okay, I advise cutting it out completely.

Why? Because alcohol has been shown to disrupt the harmony of your immune system by altering the balance of bacteria in your gut, affecting its ability to support your immune system.

As I always say, everything is connected. And even one drink alters the makeup of your gut microbiome. [7] So why take the risk?

Fill up your wine glass with a refreshing sparkling water and immune-supporting lemon or lime instead! Speaking of which…

4. Megadose vitamin C

Did you know that vitamin C deficiency is the fourth leading nutrient deficiency in the United States? [8]

Since our bodies can’t make vitamin C, we need to get it from our food. But you’d need to eat a lot of citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, kiwi fruit, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, amongst other things [9] to get enough vitamin C to reach the recommended minimum of 100-200 mg per day to optimize cell and tissue levels.

And if you’re already battling an infection, you need significantly higher (gram) doses to compensate for the increased demand on your body. [8]

So, when we’re looking to bump up our immune support, it’s necessary to supplement.

I advise taking a tolerable level (up to 2 grams) of vitamin C every two hours. Start with a lower dose and work your way up. Too much too quickly can cause diarrhea. Liposomal vitamin C is also a lot easier to absorb and results in less digestive issues.

Not all brands are created equal and it’s important to choose good quality supplements. In my book, Wholistic Wisdom: Awakening Your Inner Healer, I share a full list of my trusted brands.

5. Sweat it out

Sweat is one of the main vehicles the body relies on for excreting toxins. I recommend the use of a Far Infrared (FIR) sauna to get a good toxin-releasing sweat on.

Studies have found that infrared light and the sweating associated with all saunas improve your health in many ways. FIR saunas penetrate deep layers of muscles and tissues with infrared light to detoxify cells.

It not only supports detoxification (reducing the load on your immune system), it also aids in blood pressure balance, and offers an array of benefits for just about everyone. [10]

Because of the wavelength of the light and energy emitted, FIR saunas also cause you to sweat more at a lower temperature as well as withstand the heat much longer and more comfortably than a traditional steam heat sauna.

6. Laugh it off

Laughter is a quick and enjoyable way to relieve stress (a major drain on immune health). [11]

It also causes physical changes in your body that are good news for your immune system:

“Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. By contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.” [12]

It’s true! Laughter really is the best medicine, so take every opportunity to see the funny side. Your immune system will thank you.

7. Dial up the vitamin D

Ironically, at the time of year when we need “the sunshine vitamin” the most, it’s the least available to us. The further north you live, the more challenging it is to get the vital dose of vitamin D your immune system needs to stay healthy. [13]

There are two ways to solve this problem…

>> Anytime the sun’s out, get out. Yes, even if it’s cold outside (in fact, fresh winter air is another thing our immune systems love, provided we’re dressed for it— think natural, breathable fabrics and plenty of layers for warmth). [14]

>> Eat and supplement it. “In the winter, in addition to high vitamin D food, adults should take additional vitamin D from foods or supplements to get at least 600 IU per day of vitamin D. People who have dark skin or avoid sunshine should eat more vitamin D year-round.” [13]

Oily fish is one of the best food sources of vitamin D. And, as with vitamin C, use the trusted brands guide in my book to shop smart when it comes to supplements.

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Your immune system is just one of the many instruments that make up the symphony of you, working hard each day to protect your well-being.

I hope these tips and tools will inspire you to take a more active role in your health and keep your immune system in perfect harmony as the seasons change.

My Healthy At Home Bundle has everything you need to make this winter your healthiest and happiest yet!

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      References:

  1. https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2011/12/31/144478009/the-average-american-ate-literally-a-ton-this-year
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3100852
  3. https://www.forksoverknives.com/wellness/7-ways-milk-and-dairy-products-are-making-you-sick/
  4. https://greatist.com/eat/is-dairy-bad-for-you-benefits-of-milk#natural-or-not
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254619301528
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6523821/
  7. https://www.insider.com/guides/health/does-alcohol-weaken-the-immune-system
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707683/
  9. https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/types-of-vitamins-and-nutrients/how-vitamin-c-supports-a-healthy-immune-system
  10. https://www.healthline.com/health/infrared-sauna-benefits
  11. https://time.com/3592134/laughing-health-benefits/
  12. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456
  13. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/why-getting-enough-vitamin-d-in-wintertime-is-so-important/2020/01/17/c3598082-3875-11ea-9541-9107303481a4_story.html
  14. https://www.med.upenn.edu/antibiotics/newsletters/2017_5.1_January.pdf

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