Sniffy noses, watery eyes, sneezing, and coughing are all around you. It may feel like you are playing dodge ball to avoid your coworkers, kids, or neighbors. No one has time to be sick and you are determined to avoid it this year! What can you do? Live in a bubble? Refuse to leave the house? Insist everyone in your vicinity uses hand sanitizer and carry a Lysol spray bottle before touching any surface? There has to be a better way! And there is! At CentreSpringMD we take a holistic and integrative approach to treating disease and also help you prevent getting sick in the first place.
Below is a list of suggestions to keep you healthy through the winter:
1. Eat a healthy and balanced diet
During the holiday season it is easy to get off track: Holiday cookies, pies, casseroles, Mom’s famous pumpkin bread. It can happen to all of us so remember not to be too hard on yourself. However, it is more important to stick to a healthy whole foods diet than any other time of year to help keep your immune system high. In the winter months, you should eat as many veggies as possible, of all different colors. Also boost your anti-inflammatory and immune system with herbs like garlic, ginger and turmeric. I love making fresh ginger and lemon tea each morning to get an extra boost. In addition, it is important to avoid high sugars and processed foods as much as possible as these can reduce your immune function. Another tip is to add bone broth and fermented foods to your diet. This will help improve your digestive function and immunity throughout the season! (see my blog on my favorite fermented foods).
Exercise is another habit that may fall off your radar during the busy holiday time period. There is so much going on this time of year, a lot of my patients struggle to keep their exercise routine. To help keep your immune system active, regular exercise is essential. Keep to your routine, or start one if you do not have one! Aim for at least 3-4 times per week with about 30-45 minutes of activity. On a cool day, one of my favorite ways to stay active is hiking outside. The weather is perfect so you can get some fresh air, a little vitamin D and good exercise at the same time!
Sleep is not only important for overall health, but particularly for your immunity. You should be getting 7 hours of quality sleep each night as a minimum. Make this a priority so you do not end up run down and unable to keep up this season.
4. Immune boosting supplements
There are so many immune boosting supplements it is hard to choose. Two of my favorite supplements to keep your immune system healthy this time of year are probiotics and vitamin D. Probiotics are important all year to help boost your digestive and immune health. Vitamin D tends to be lower in most people this time of year and plays an essential role in your immune system. I recommend taking about 2,000 IU daily. Then, if you start to feel run down, or if you know you are going to be exposed to illness, try adding Vitamin C 1,000-2,000 MG daily, Astragulus Root 500 mg three times daily and Elderberry extract 300 mg twice daily.
5. Avoid antibacterial sprays and soaps
Instead, wash hands frequently with good, old-fashioned hot water and chemical-free soap. Skip the antibacterial as they are loaded with toxins and increase the risk of creating resistant bacteria. They also over-dry and crack the skin, making transmission of viruses that much easier!
By using these immune boosting tips, you should be able to steer clear of any illness this season (because who has time for that!). If you still find yourself coming down with something this winter, make sure you come see us at CentreSpringMD to help you get over it quickly and get you back to enjoying this busy season!
To Optimal Health,
Christina Grace FNP-C