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The cold weather months can be tough on us, both mentally and physically. In the midst of the joy that the holidays bring, we are usually faced with extra stressors that can make us more susceptible to getting sick. The shorter days can contribute to feelings of sadness and depression, especially for those with SAD. Though it can be a challenging time of year, there are plenty of ways to naturally support your body’s immune system and stay vibrantly healthy during the winter months. I’m excited to share some holistic strategies that have helped me to stay positive and healthy during this time of year.
Optimize Your Nutrition And Gut Health
- Did you know that a good immune system begins with a healthy gut? To keep your gut happy and healthy, you’ll want to focus on eating healthy fats, anti-inflammatory foods and plenty of green vegetables. Some good sources of gut-friendly foods are bone broth, green apples, avocado, spinach, broccoli, turmeric, and fermented foods like kraut, kimchi, and kefir. Try to avoid or limit consumption of inflammatory foods like dairy and alcohol. I’ve loved using this Probiotic Coconut Yogurt from The Coconut Cult! I take 1 Tablespoon each day (it’s very potent) to keep my gut happy.
- Say what? How can a metal help with immunity? You may have heard of colloidal silver which has been touted by some for its effectiveness as a natural antibiotic. The drawback is that colloidal silver can be dangerous as it builds up in your body and causes you to turn blue if you consume too much (Argyria). I opt for a purified silver throat spray that is non-toxic, does not build up in the body and serves as a potent antimicrobial for the respiratory tract. I take it at the first sign of a scratchy throat or cold, and it has helped me recover quickly on numerous occasions. Silvercillin is also at the top of my packing list for every trip I take!
Supplement With Essential Vitamins and Nutrients
- Vitamin D3 (I love this one) has been shown to improve immunity, assist in cancer prevention, and can also help with regulating mental health (those with depression often have extremely low levels of Vitamin D). While the sun is the optimal source, many of us can’t get enough sun during the winter, so that’s why we need to supplement. Make sure you choose a Vitamin D3 supplement with K2, since that is vital for D to be absorbed. Start off by getting your levels tested (42% of the US population is deficient) and with the help of your practitioner, base your dosage on your current blood levels. Methylated B vitamins are also a key part of my daily immunity boosting regimen, but be sure to check with your doctor to find out your unique nutritional needs.
Avoid Refined Sugar
- Sugar is basically an anti-nutrient that can suppress your immune system for up to 6 hours after consumption! It’s almost impossible to avoid during the indulgent holiday season, but try to limit consumption of refined sugar as much as you can. My go-to for a healthy dessert when I have sugar cravings is to have some berries with coconut cream as a topping.
Daily Physical Activity
- The short, cold days often make me want to curl up and hibernate for the winter, but it’s important to stay active each day. If a gym membership isn’t in the budget, you can find plenty of free online workouts or find free fitness activities near you. When you’re feeling stressed, exercise can serve to lift your mood and also boost your immunity. It doesn’t have to be anything intense or long – even 15-20 minutes will help! An added benefit is improved sleep quality so your body can have time to repair and heal.
- This little berry packs a huge antioxidant punch and is thought to suppress viral activity. I take a few tablespoons weekly during the winter as a preventive measure, but it’s also highly effective in reducing the duration and severity of colds and the flu. Try to avoid the store-bought varieties like Sambucus because you’re shooting yourself in the foot with all the added sugar. Try your farmer’s market to find locally made syrup that uses honey or maple syrup instead of refined sugar. For those in the Triad of North Carolina, I like Syrup and More. Many companies and stores run out of the syrup in the height of cold and flu season, so be sure to stock up early!
- Cupping therapy can be used to relieve tension and pain in your body, but has also been shown to speed up healing time from colds and the flu! I have yet to try cupping, but plan to give it a shot next month.
- Massages are wonderful for relaxation, but did you know you can receive specific lymphatic drainage massages to help your body detox?
- Infrared Sauna – a great therapy that warms your body from the inside and assists with boosting immunity and toxin removal. A to Zen Massage is my go-to for massage, infrared sauna, and halotherapy.
I’m thankful to have several local farmers markets and wellness centers nearby to take advantage of many of these immunity boosters that I’ve mentioned. The Well Cafe & Juice Bar in Greensboro carries both the coconut yogurt I mentioned and the Elderberry Syrup, if you’re interested! I hope these tips have given you some ideas for how you can build your immunity this season. Have you found other natural ways to stay well? Please share your favorite immunity-boosting tip in the comments!
If you’re interested in learning more and would like to develop a customized nutrition and supplementation plan to support your specific needs, schedule a free 15-minute consultation with me to discuss how I can help you.
Thanks for reading!
Stay Active, Stay Happy, Stay Well