During wintertime when we tend to gather together indoors in close proximity, we are exposed more often to foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses – in the air we breathe and on the surfaces we touch. Our immune system is a complex community of cells, tissues, organs and chemicals that work in concert to protect us from these foreign invaders.
While it’s our immune system’s job to defend us the best that it can, it’s our job to ensure that our immune system is functioning optimally. Keeping the immune system in good working order is key to preventing infection and disease.
Here are our top tips for keeping your immune system strong this winter:
Get plenty of restorative sleep: Typically, our immune systems defend during the day and repair at night. If that cycle is disrupted, the likelihood of disruption and disease may increase. Create a routine for good sleep hygiene with relaxation or meditation prior to bedtime and a darkened room devoid of technology devices.
Eat well: Eat a wide variety of whole foods, preferably organic or biodynamic, prepared in a wide variety of ways(Learn more in Twelve Nature’s pHarmacy principles parts 1 and 2) . A colorful array of whole, natural foods providesthe body with the necessary building blocks, vitamins, and cofactors to keep the immune system strong. A high fiber, plant based diet can help maintain a healthy microbiomethat is essential for a healthy immune system
Hydrate: Hydration isn’t just a fancy buzzword; adequate hydration is necessary for a number of reasons. Your first line of defense against foreign invaders in in the mucous membranes of your nose and mouth, and water supports the health and functioning of these barriers. Water is also necessary for nutrient absorption, and it’s a key component of the lymphatic fluid that helps the body fight infection.
Exercise: Moderate exercise has been shown to increase the circulation of immune cells and their delivery to tissues, stimulating cellular immunity. Exercise also has been shown to reduce stress, and have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which all contribute to immune this system health.
Keep your nose warm: A new study published a couple weeks ago in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that exposure to cold air may directly kill immune system cells in the nose. In this great summary of the technical article, the authors suggest that wearing a mask might protect you in two ways – both bycreating a physical barrier, and by keeping the inside of your nose warm enough so that your local immune system works optimally.
Remove Immune Burdens: Looking closely at what could be causing hidden immune burdens can start with the LRA by ELISA/ACT tests. When we have delayed hypersensitivities, our body perceives normally innocent items as problematic, and produces chronic, low-grade, systemic inflammation that presents in different ways for different people. By testing for and removing these hidden immune burdens, some people have reported clearer skin, less brain fog, resolution of muscle aches, and improvement in autoimmune symptoms. With their immune system no longer under chronic attack, it becomes stronger and better able to defend and protect as it should.
Supplement Key Nutrients: Even if you are eating enough of the right foods, it’s possible due to soil depletion and the prevalence of antinutrients that you could still benefit from supplements that are created with no additives or fillers, in the forms that our bodies can easily use.