Back to school/work immune support
As people head back to the office and kids back to school settings, there is much that can be done to help boost and support the immune system. Along with diligent hand washing, things like eating a nutritious diet, utilizing exercise and relaxation techniques and taking immune supporting herbs and supplements can help keep up a robust immune system and help to fend off or lessen symptoms of viruses that may come your way.
Let’s first talk about diet. Ninety percent of the immune system resides in the gut. So it’s safe to say that supporting gut health = immune system health. Multi strain probiotics and fermented foods populate the gut with beneficial bacteria that then fight off invaders that can cause illness. Probiotic-rich foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh, kombucha and yogurt can also help for quicker recovery of colds. In addition, most fermented foods are also high in vitamin C, zinc and iron-which also contribute to a stronger immune system!
Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is common knowledge, but eating a variety of types and colors increases your intake of different nutrients, so “Eat the rainbow”, as the saying goes! Along with fruits and vegetables you should also consume fatty fish, pastured eggs, grass-fed beef, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds and nuts to round out a balanced diet.
Exercise and relaxation techniques can help with stress, as stress can wreak havoc on the immune system. Exercise can be both simple and fun by just getting outside (soak up some vitamin d from the sun) and taking a walk. Walking and talking with a friend or family member can incorporate both movement and relaxation as you share thoughts and conversation. Look up simple yoga movements on the internet, play low impact games in the yard/at the park or challenge the family to a board or card game. Unplugging from social media and news outlets from time to time can also be a huge stress reliever.
Herbs and supplements can also provide assistance in supporting the immune system. You can’t “supplement” your way out of a bad diet, but you can help to strengthen and tone your immune response by adding some specific herbs and supplements to your daily routine. Try incorporating the following herbs into your diet:
- Ginger-Supports immune system (add to stir fry, soups and teas.)
- Garlic-Antibacterial and antifungal
- Chamomile – Proper rest (great as teas)
- Lavender-Relaxation (as a tea or essential oil)
- Milk thistle-Stimulates immune system
- Elderberry – Boost immunity/tames inflammation
In addition, you can add these powerful supplements to your immune supporting arsenal:
- Vitamin C– Also known as Ascorbic Acid, is needed for development, growth and repair of body tissues.
- Vitamin D3– Helps strengthen bones and muscles, boosts immunity
- Zinc– Immune system and metabolic function/wound healing
- Magnesium– Supports muscle and nerve function as well as energy production
By following the tips/recommendations above, as well as staying hydrated and keeping a positive outlook, you can help keep your immune system in tiptop shape and give your body a fighting chance when you encounter those nasty viruses that threaten our health this time of year!
So, in other words: