With fall upon us, it’s always a good time to think about immune support. Kids are back in school, bringing viruses back and forth, and the fluctuations in temperature can trigger allergies and colds. Here are some great ideas to keep you feeling good throughout the colder months:
Always have some chicken soup on hand; the electrolytes will keep your immune system humming and happy. When you feel a cold coming on, drink 8 to 16 ounces of clear liquids every hour. Herbal teas, miso soup, or diluted juices will also help flush out the bacteria and mucus from your body.
Try eating a whole clove of garlic chopped up and mixed with 1 teaspoon of raw honey.
Suck on zinc lozenges. Zinc is wonderful at wiping out viruses. You can also consider using a zinc throat spray to help nip a sore throat in the bud.
Take immune support up a notch with some freshly juiced veggies (especially chlorophyll-rich green ones)- they clear out the lymphatic system and have antibacterial benefits.
Stretching is a great way to get your macrophage mojo moving. Skeletal muscle contractions help the lymphatic fluid in your body circulate more freely so you can clear waste and improve the body’s ability to fight illness. Walking also stimulates lymph flow. If it’s too chilly to walk outside, stretches alone will stimulate your defenses. You can also treat yourself to a massage or work with a practitioner who knows how to perform lymphatic-drainage bodywork. Perform these yoga poses daily to stimulate the lymph nodes and lower your stress:
Sore Throat Soother: Standing or sitting with chest lifted and shoulders moving down, allow your head to drop forward. Relax and hold for 30 seconds.
Cough Calmer: Place hands on the back of a chair and walk backward until your arms and spine are fully extended. Keep your legs straight and tailbone slightly lifted as you sink your spine toward the floor and allow your head to relax; hold for a minute.?
Lymphatic Love: Lie on the floor with your sit bones against the wall and your legs pointing upward. Reach your legs up the wall and allow them to drop open?as far as you can while keeping them straight and against the wall. Rest here for 1 to 2 minutes.
Steer clear of sugar, which will only worsen your immune system and unfavorably alter your stress hormones. Sugar can adversely affect the immune system in so many ways. Sugar can halt white blood cell function for up to five hours after ingestion, putting your entire immune system on hold. Even scarier is the fact that the surface of a cancerous mass has up to ten times more insulin receptors than a regular cell in the body.
In addition, sugar raises triglyceride levels and can lead to a fatty liver. Is having dessert one or two times per week is a serious problem? No. But sugar was never a part of the hunter-gatherer diet and is now more prevalent than ever in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, super- size sodas and candy, protein bars and sports drinks, and even tomato sauces. So use it judiciously and as a special treat only.
Support your immune system with probiotics. Sixty to seventy percent of our intestinal tract is lined with lymph nodes. So if you have a healthy gut, your immune system will reap the benefits. Your intestines naturally contain 3 to 4 pounds of beneficial bacteria, helping the digestive tract and immune system stay healthy. For this reason, it’s imperative that you take them during and after a course of antibiotics or antifungal medications, and while you’re on oral contraceptives, so that you can replace the helpful bacteria that you lose while taking these medications. Probiotics are?most commonly sold under the names “acidophilus,” “bifidus,” or “lactobacillus.”
There’s certainly more than one way to skin a cat when you’re fighting the good immune fight. Eating a diet low in sugar, and rich in quality protein, fats, and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables should be the foundation of any immune-supporting program.