As cold and flu season begins, I’ve compiled some simple steps that you can take to stay healthy this winter season. Below are my recommendations on giving yourself an immunity boost:
- Cut back on sugar, especially refined sugars because it interferes with the absorption of Vitamin C.
- Take Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for immune functioning, and helps you fight off colds and flu. Foods high in vitamin C include parsley, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, oranges or tangerines and red peppers. You can also take a Vitamin C supplement.
- Get enough sleep. It goes without saying that our resistance is higher when we are well rested.
- Pay attention to your stress and emotional well being. Stress and emotional imbalances deplete your body’s immune system. Stress creates illness. Preventative care is mandatory for a lifestyle that involves high stress. Body work, massage and acupuncture can all keep your body in balance.
- Whole foods diet. Try to stay away from processed food. Eat organic seasonal food whenever possible. Food high in antioxidants helps to strengthen the body.
- Eat root vegetables and other immune-boosting foods. In Chinese dietary theory, root vegetables are strengthening to the lungs and therefore to your immunity. Try roasting sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips and onions; or make a fall root vegetable stew. Other good foods for your immune system are: cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower), garlic, onions, shitake mushrooms and leafy greens.
- Eat cooked food in the winter. Our digestive system operates better with food that is cooked and warm. So in the winter it is a better option to eat warm stews and soups. Also drinking warm drinks will help stimulate digestion. Stay away from anything cold especially ice water and ice cream.
- Cover your neck & keep your low back warm. According to Chinese medicine, illnesses invade through the back of the neck, which is often left uncovered. It is particularly vulnerable if you’ve been hot or sweaty, or if it’s windy or drafty. Wearing a turtleneck or scarf helps keep you protected. It’s also important to keep your low back warm. Your kidneys live there and they are in charge of your vital energy and like to be warm and cozy. If your kidneys become depleted your whole body is affected.
- Goose bumps are a sign that it is time to get warm fast. Once you allow yourself to get goose bumps then it may be too late. Goose bumps are the first sign that your immune system is about to be compromised.
- Maintain a clean working and living environment. This is very important for people who have a weak immunity. Mostly in areas where mold can be an issue. Sunlight, fresh air, pure clean water and clean environment strengthen the immunity.
- Sleep with a humidifier. The air, both outside and inside, gets drier this time of year, which can dry out the mucus membranes in your nose and throat. Especially living on the mountain here in Truckee. This causes tiny cracks to form, giving germs easy access to your bloodstream.
- Take immune-boosting herbs. If you have a compromised immune system, or a history of catching colds easily, consider taking a Chinese herbal immune formula during flu season. The most famous of these is “Jade Windscreen”. Make sure to stop this formula if you feel a cold or flu coming on.
- Take your supplements. Whole food supplements are the best, and I recommend wheat or barley grass, sea vegetables or spirulina. If you do choose to do a pill or capsule form supplement, I recommend Juice Plus. I have information about Juice Plus on my website here. Juice Plus is a whole food form supplement, which is a much better way to ingest nutrients. Try to stay away from synthetic supplements.
- Enjoy exercise. Moderate regular exercise is recommended regularly for good health.
- Try meditation, yoga & Qi gong. Incorporating energy cleansing and building exercises into your life will strengthen your whole energy field and protect you from viruses.
- Moderate alcohol intake and smoking is not recommended. Your lungs play a big part in keeping your immune system from being compromised. They are in charge of your protective energy or wei qi. Pay attention to your lungs and try not to compromise them.
- Wash your hands often.
Be happy and well this winter season!