With winter coming, I’m seeing tons of natural remedies for when you have symptoms of the flu being posted all over social media. It’s wonderful to learn what to do when you have symptoms, and save your liver from the agony over the counter medications cause. I believe in taking a more proactive approach, instead of reactive. So that leads to a couple questions: Why do we get sick? And how can we fight off these viruses without succumbing to them?
Viruses do not just magically show up in the winter. They are present all year long. Our immune systems tend to be weaker in the winter, and this is why we get sick. The the most common reasons for a weakened immune system are:
Low vitamin D levels
Poor probiotic and prebiotic levels
Diets high in processed foods and low in seasonal produce
Lack of regular exercise
High stress lifestyles
Food sensitivities cause our immune system to go haywire. When addressing food sensitivities, it’s best to find a holistic practitioner to assist in discovering what they are. Once you know what they are, you are able to make changes and start healing. In doing so, your immune system will become stronger.
20% of children, 85% of Americans and 95% of senior citizens are deficient in vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D are the reason many believe we fall ill. To figure out how much is needed for you and your family the recommended amount is to use 35 IU per pound of body weight. This applies to all ages, child to senior. So a 55 pound child would need about 2,000 IU daily. While the sun is our body’s preferred source to make this amazing vitamin, in the winter months we go outside less, we’re covered up head to toe when we do go outside, and to top it all off, the earth isn’t in the right position for the rays to be strong enough for our bodies to make it at high enough levels. A high quality D3 supplement will help you stay healthy all winter long.
Diets high in processed foods, sugar, and grains deplete our beneficial flora and feed the harmful bacteria. This then causes a leaky gut and allows viruses, bacterias, and fungus directly into our bloodstream. There are a couple options in addressing poor probiotic and prebiotic levels. You can take a probiotic, eat lacto-fermented foods daily and eat a diet rich produce. Probiotics and probiotic rich foods, along with eating at least 9 servings of in season fruits and vegetables will help keep your immune system strong and feeling great.
So if you DO start feeling under the weather, what do you do?
- Stop consuming any sugar including artificial sweeteners. Sugar suppresses the immune system and feeds the bugs.
- Rest. Our immune system does its best work when we are sleeping. So I give you permission to be lazy and nap.
- Start taking immune boosting supplements. Elderberry syrup, vitamin C, vitamin D3, zinc and echinacea are my go to.
- Drink up! And I do mean water. Don’t wait til you feel thirsty before you grab a glass of water. Your body needs water to flush out toxins. I like to drink super warm water with truly raw honey (it is antibacterial, antimicrobial and so much more) and a slice of lemon.
- Eat in season produce with every meal and snack. Your body needs those nutrients. Multivitamins will never compare to what God created in foods directly from the earth.
- Bone broth and/or miso soup. Both are very alkalizing to the body, strengthen our digestive tract and promote healing. Add to any and all soups for an extra boost.
A couple recipes if you need them:
THROAT SOOTHER: 1 cup hot water with 1 slice of lemon and 1 tsp honey
MISO SOUP: 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth with 1/4 onion diced, 4 cloves fresh garlic chopped, 1/2 cup mushrooms and 2 tbsp of miso paste. In a pot, bring everything but the miso to a boil then lower heat to medium low and let cook until onions are translucent and mushrooms are soft. Turn off the heat and stir in the miso until it’s dissolved.
Live Healthy and Whole,
Photo from Fotolia
Strengthening the Immune System Naturally by Dr. Vikki Petersen in Simply Gluten Free Living Magazine
Weston price foundation http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/why-broth-is-beautiful
Dr Andrew Weil-http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02812/vitamin-d