as I sit here typing away in a cozy sweater, sipping on my homemade pumpkin spiced latte, watching the rain pouring down and the leaves blowing off the trees, I realize there is no mistaking it: fall is officially here! along with the changing leaves and pumpkin spiced everything, you've probably also noticed an increase in the sneezing and coughing around the office and a decrease in your colleagues' attendance. that's right folks, it's also officially #fluseason. before you go running for the one litre bottle of hand sanitizer and a flu shot, I'm offering up some tips to help you keep your immune system up and/or fight off the plague if it strikes you down this year. and psssst: these tips can actually be used all year round!
Stress: it's a widely accepted theory that stress contributes to a lowered immune system, not to mention it just generally feels bad to feel stressed out. now that summer is over, fall is a great time to ease up on the FOMO, s-l-o-w down and polish off the tools in your stress-management kit!
Sleep: much like stress, it's also widely accepted that lack of sleep contributes to a lowered immune system. the body does a lot while we're asleep, one of which is fight infection. ever feel like you're coming down with a cold and decide to get 10 hours of sleep and wake up feeling like a million bucks the next day? yep. magic! so commit to getting an extra hour of z's each night to keep your immune system up.
Vitamins: while I'm not a huge pill-pusher, we can definitely benefit from a multi-vitamin at this time of year. it's really easy to eat tons of fruits and veggies in the spring and summer months; in the fall and winter, it can be more challenging to get our daily intake. a multi-vitamin can also be really beneficial if you're active and sweat a lot, since we lose a lot of important minerals in our sweat. I'm a huge fan of Mega Food's multis as well as a New Roots liquid Vitamin D3 supplement (up to 10,000 IU's per day) to help with the lack of sunshine. Please consult with your doctor or health care practitioner before starting any supplements.
Food: it'll come to no surprise to hear me say that it's best to limit your processed foods and refined sugars and stick to whole foods. no matter what time of year it is or what your goals are or what diet you're following, I can't emphasize this enough. eat. less. fake foods. eat. more. VEGETABLES. amongst a whole host of other things, sugar and other toxins create a breeding ground of inflammation in the body where disease and infection love to hang out. adding more fermented foods into your diet such as kombucha, kefir, miso or kimchi is a great idea, too. healthy gut flora contributes to a healthier immune system.
Water: I know, I know, but before you start rolling your eyes or scrolling past this one, trust me when I say that none of us drink as much water as we should. plain and simple, everything in your body functions optimally when you're properly hydrated, most especially your immune system. plus, if you're in the throes of a nasty flu, water is going to help flush toxins and oxygenate your cells back to proper function. so grab yourself a glass of water, and read on...
Exercise: there's a fine line between 'sweating it out' and over-doing it. if you're pretty active already, a good sweat session can be exactly what you need, but maybe don't head to a spin class for the first time in months as soon as a sore throat hits. listen to your body and ignore the 'should' word. if what you need is rest, then rest. the gym will still be there when you're feeling 100%. plus, nobody wants your (sweaty) germs anyway.
Herbs: if herbal medicine and potions are your thing, you're in good company. there are some really great herbs that promote a healthy immune system along with a whole bunch of other benefits: licorice, ginseng, ashwaganda, echinacea, astragulus, and chaga and reishi mushrooms. note that herbs work best if you take them over a long period of time, and please consult your doctor or health care practitioner before starting any, most especially if you're pregnant.
Too late? flu's already taken you out? in addition to following the above, here are some of my favourite tips to help you fight the good fight:
- Oil of Oregano: twice a day, as soon as you feel the cold or flu coming on.
- Vitamin C (chewables): megadose 1,000-3,000mg, twice per day, but start slow! Vitamin C can be tough on the bowels (read: a laxative) so make sure you're only taking as much as your body can tolerate.
- Fire Cider, or any cold-pressed organic juice with lemon and ginger in it - even better if you can find one with turmeric.
- Colloidal silver: this is an amazing homeopathic remedy that boosts the immune system and also has anti-bacterial properties. also a great one to have in your first aid kit for cuts and wounds and/or to take when you're traveling!
- Throat Coat (with echinacea) tea: I swear by this when I'm sick or feel something coming on. it's full of herbs that support the immune system like licorice and echinacea, and also has herbs like slippery elm and marshmallow that help heal an irritated throat. you might not love the taste, but I'm telling you, it works!
So there you have it! I'm wishing you a cozy, pumpkin-filled and flu-free fall. have questions? let's connect!
you're a flu-fighting ninja,