Published on January 23rd, 2014 | by Guest Contributor1
Strengthen Your Immune System during Winter
After the warmth of summer and the crisp freshness of autumn, winter can come as a shock. Not only is it shocking on an emotional level, it can also shock the immune system. The dry air, excessive time indoors and the onset of a sedentary lifestyle can all break down a normally strong immune system.
There are plenty of things you can do to overcome this problem. Following these
tips will leave you confident that during seasonal transitions, you have a trusty toolbox full of ways to give your body the extra boost it needs during cold weather.
1. Use Immune-Boosting Herbs
Echinacea is the number-one immune boosting plant in my book. You can find more detailed information in our post here. This plant naturally increases immunity, and can be taken as a tincture or a tea. Other immune boosting herbs include stinging nettles, elderberries, astralagus, and peppermint. These herbs can be made into teas or into homemade tinctures.
2. Take Probiotics
According to researchers at Nutrition Journal, consuming probiotics has, “been shown to enhance immunity in humans.” You can find these naturally occurring bacteria in yogurt, kombucha, kefir or probiotic supplements. They work by enhancing productive bacteria in the gut, a place where anaerobic activity can really deteriorate the strength of the immune system. There are also probiotics available for little ones as well. Consider taking these especially if you become sick and need to take antibiotics.
3. Use a Humidifier
Dry air does treacherous things to nasal passages. Adding a little extra moisture to your home is an easy way to limit illness and keep immunity strong. If you don’t want to purchase a humidifier (which usually run about $25-$50), you can set a pot of water on the stove- just be careful to keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t evaporate without your knowing. If you have a wood-burning stove, this is a great place to set a cast-iron tea kettle filled with water. Many humidifiers come with a little medicine tray, but instead of using synthetic ‘‘medicines’’ try using organic essential oils- lavender, eucalyptus and peppermint are all great during cold and flu season.
4. Avoid Over-Eating and Drink Plenty of Hot Water
Over-eating can cause troubles in the digestive system which is an important place to keep positive and productive for strong immunity. Avoiding excessive intake of heavy foods like dairy, coffee, processed foods and sugar is a great way to keep things top-notch. An Ayurvedic method for immunity enhancement involves drinking hot water to combat indigestion. Another remedy is to drink warm water with honey and lemon.
According to the National Institute of Health, “Exercise not only helps your immune system fight off simple bacterial and viral infections, it decreases your chances of developing heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer.” Don’t know how to exercise in the winter? It’s easy, just find a local gym and run the track a few times, ride a stationary bike or find a free aerobic exercise video on youtube. Yoga is another excellent way to keep your body in great shape during low immune seasons.
Above all, it’s important to stay in touch with your body, especially during the winter season. A little extra love in the form of warm, epsom salt baths, coconut oil massages and hot chamomile tea are simple ways to remind your loving body that you care, and the more love your body feels, the greater chances you’ll stay healthy through the whole winter season. Remember to also keep your mental and emotional body happy and healthy by engaging in regular, fulfilling social activities and enjoying sunlight whenever you can.
Tea image from Shutterstock