Is Your Immune System Ready for Winter?
You’re ready to face the elements with your winter wardrobe, but what about your immune system – what’s your first line of immune defense against the winter weather?
The strength of your immune system is influenced by many factors, chief of which is your lifestyle. Lack of restful sleep, a poor diet, too little physical activity, and prolonged stress make your body more vulnerable to illness. With the holiday season fast approaching, it’s important for you to build up your immune system now.
Here are a few steps you can take to beat the cold and flu season:
Eat well for optimal immune function
Whole foods – as opposed to processed foods – promote optimal immune function. Natural sources of zinc, vitamin D, and vitamin C, and vitamin A will provide your immune system with the antioxidants and micronutrients it needs to stay strong. Zinc and vitamin C help reduce the length and severity of col
Here are a few foods to add to your diet this winter:
- Zinc: Helps reduce the length and severity of colds
- Foods rich in zinc: Grass-fed beef, nuts like cashews, pumpkin seeds, organic chicken, chickpeas, mushrooms, spinach, lentils, and hemp seeds and more.
- Vitamin A helps prevent respiratory infections
- Foods rich in Vitamin A: butternut squash, broccoli, butter, carrots, egg yolks, grass-fed beef, kale, wild-caught salmon, spinach, sweet potatoes and more.
- Vitamin C: Helps reduce the length and severity of colds
- Foods rich in Vitamin C: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, grapefruit, guava, kiwi, mangoes, oranges, papaya, parsley, red & green peppers, and more.
- Vitamin D helps prevent respiratory infections
- Foods rich in Vitamin D: Winter months make it harder to get the best source of vitamin D – sunlight. You can get also get it from cod liver oil, wild-caught salmon, mackerel, sardines, eggs. Vitamin D plays a major role in keeping you healthy. That’s why it’s important to check vitamin D levels so you can avoid a vitamin D deficiency. Be sure to ask your healthcare practitioner to check your vitamin D levels or contact us to learn how you can prevent vitamin D deficiency.
The mucus membranes inside your nose and airways are part of your immune system’s front line of defense. These membranes need moisture to function effectively. Drinking plenty of fluids – especially warm beverages – helps keep this first line of defense intact.
Physical activity on a regular basis increases your immune system’s ability to fight off illness. Exercise is often one of the first things we drop when life gets hectic, but it truly is a magic pill for your body, mind, and soul with regard to its benefits. If you feel you are coming down with a cold, then make sure you go easy and give your body a chance to rest.
You don’t need anyone to tell you how important sleep is to your overall health – you know how you feel after missing just one night of good sleep. Too little sleep and poor sleep are both linked with inflammation – a major contributor to poor physical and mental health. Sleep also plays a vital role in the ability of your immune system to effectively respond to infection.
The quality of your sleep is just as important as the quantity of your sleep. The good news is that there are many things you can do to improve your sleep. Here are a few tips for better sleep:
- Aim for 8 hours daily
- Go to bed & get up at the same time each day
- Keep your bedroom quiet, cool, and dark
- Get your daily dose of physical activity – especially outdoor physical activity
- Watch what you eat and drink and when you eat and drink: Avoid eating a large meal within a few hours of going to bed; avoid drinking caffeinated beverages late in the day, and limit alcoholic beverages which can disrupt your sleep.
- Consider deep breathing exercises or guided meditation to help you fall asleep or write down your worries/make a to do list so you can let your mind rest during the night and be ready the next day to find solutions & begin to check off your to do list.
Recently, scientific research has found evidence that a healthy diet and healthy digestion contribute to good sleep. If you have digestive difficulties or struggle to get a good night’s sleep, please contact us for help.
Easier said then done, but you can still take small steps today to reduce your stress:
- Push back from your desk and take a few slow deep breaths right now
- Go for a short walk outside or just around your building
- Connect with friends and family
- Schedule a massage
- Take a yoga class
Life is stressful, but the good news is you can counteract stress and even embrace the sources of moderate stress as opportunities for personal growth. We can help you do more than just survive – we can help you thrive by supporting your body with targeted nutritional supplements and assisting you to make lifestyle changes that promote healthier ways of managing stress.
Eating foods that boost your natural defenses is key, but we don’t always have the time to eat well. That’s where targeted nutritional supplements can make a difference in your health.
Pure Defense capsules have everything you need for a healthy immune response this winter season and beyond. That’s because in addition to containing Vitamins C, D, and zinc, Pure Defense also contains Quercetin to promote respiratory health during allergy season. Pure Defense also contains elderberry and Epi Cor to support your body’s first line immune response. If you would like to know if Pure Defense is right for you*, please ask your healthcare practitioner or contact us.
Don’t wait until you’re worn down from the holiday rush to strengthen your immune system – start now. If you would like more information on how you can stay healthy this winter with our immune support program, contact us today
*Zinc may be contraindicated with certain antibiotics. Elderberry may be contraindicated for individuals on immunosuppressant medications. NAC is contraindicated with nitroglycerin. Preliminary evidence suggests that quercetin may inhibit the metabolism of medications through the cytochrome pathways in the liver., so please ask us if Pure Defense is right for you.
Balch, PA. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. 5th Edition. Avery: New York. 2010.
Cruz, AA. Abstract: Epithelial shedding is associated with reactions to cold, dry air. J Allergy Clin Immun. 2006. 117: 1351-1358
Hawkins, J et al. Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials.Complement Ther Med. 2019 Feb;42:361-365
Ho, GT, et al. RG-I regions form elderflower pectins substituted on GaiA are strong immunomodulators. Int. J Biol Macromol. 2016 Nov. 92:731-738.
Irwin, M. Why Sleep Is Important for Health: A Psychoneuroimmunology Perspective. Annu Rev Psychol. 2015 Jan 3;66:143-72.
Krawitz, C et al. Inhibitory activity of a standardized elderberry liquid extract against clinically-relevant human respiratory bacterial pathogens and influenza A and B viruses. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011; 11: 16
Mäkinen, TM, et al. Cold Temperature and low Humidity are associated with increased occurrence of respiratory tract infections. Respiratory Medicine. 2009. 103(3): 456-462.
Metagenics. Immune Health. 2012.
Mouse HA. Abstract: Prevention and Treatment of Influenza, Influenza-Like Illness, and Common Cold by Herbal, Complementary, and Natural Therapies.. J Evid. Based Complementary Altern. Med. 2017 Jan;22(1):166-174. Epub 2016 Apr 6.
Smith, RP etal. Gut microbiome diversity is associated with sleep physiology in humans. PLoS One. 2019 Oct 7;14(10):e0222394
St-Onge MP,Zuraikat FM. Reciprocal Roles of Sleep and Diet in Cardiovascular Health: a Review of Recent Evidence and a Potential Mechanism. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2019 Feb 12;21(3):11.
Tiralongo E, et al. .Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical TrialNutrients. 2016 Apr; 8(4): 182.
van Dalfsen JH1, Markus CR2. The influence of sleep on human hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis reactivity: A systematic review.Sleep Med Rev. 2018 Jun;39:187-194. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2017.10.002. Epub 2017 Oct 18.
The contents of this blog are intended for educational purposes only. The information presented here is not a substitute for proper medical attention, diagnosis, or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider before starting or making any changes to an existing treatment plan, exercise program or dietary regimen and before using nutritional supplements.
The 3 Faces of AutoimmunityAutoimmunity is a form of friendly fire where your immune system attacks your own tissue. This condition has three faces or stages: Silent Autoimmunity, Reactive Autoimmunity, and Autoimmune Disease. Early on, signs of autoimmunity may be present without any symptoms or tissue damage. If caught early, steps can be taken keep your body's autoimmune response…
Is your mental health under attack from a past infection?Anxiety, depression, brain fog, difficulty concentrating, hyperactivity, OCD, tics, and insomnia. In some cases, these mental health conditions can share a common root cause: brain inflammation. An abnormal immune response to a past infection can cause antibodies to be produced against your own brain tissue, resulting in autoimmune brain inflammation and neuropsychiatric symptoms. Autoimmune Brain…
Enhancing your body’s ability to rest & relax through vagalRest & Relaxation versus Fight or Flight. Your central nervous system has two networks devoted to each of these responses, the parasympathetic nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system, respectively. A balanced nervous system is able to continually monitor for and respond to threats but is also able to allow the body to "rest &…