It’s late Fall here in Utah that means the leaves have turned beautiful gold, orange and yellows and have fallen all over creating a beautiful blanketing on the ground. The feel and smell of the crisp Fall air is a sensory experience like none other.
Yes, if you hadn’t heard I relocated to Utah in July. I have had several months of amazing hiking in the most gorgeous mountains around, hiking to local Diamond Fork Hot Springs, traveling to nearby Lava Hot Springs, Idaho and Crystal Hot Springs in Honeyville, Utah, reconnecting with family, making new friends, teaching some Raw Food Classes, writing my first Ebook with Dr Ariel Policano! It’s been an amazing 4 months!
As we head into Winter here in Utah, I am faced with some new challenges…..Staying on a High Raw Diet in cold weather and not having as much access to some of the foods I took for granted in Southern California and keeping my (and my son’s) immune system revved up for the cold season.
So through November and December I want to talk about ways to stay healthy and keep your immune system functioning at optimal levels, cleansing, detoxifying the body and avoiding the cold and flu season.
Here are 5 ways to keep your immune system running in tip top shape this winter!
STEP 1: IMPROVE YOUR DIET!
Reduce refined and processed food and INCREASE the nutrient dense food in your diet. Sugar reduces the white blood cells ability to fight off germs. Refined and processed foods gunk up the lymphatic system. Foods that help support the immune system are foods high in selenium such as brazil nuts, mushrooms and sunflower seeds. Green leafy veggies, sunflower seeds and blueberries.
STEP 2: EXERCISE!
The benefits of at LEAST 20-30 minutes of exercise a day for the immune system are many! The lymphatic system is critical in immune function it carries away toxins such as bacteria, cholesterol and viruses. Since it has no “pump” of it’s own (Like the circulatory system does) it depends on movement to keep it chugging along. Exercise also encourages deep breathing and sweating helping you rid your body of lots of toxins through the lungs and skin. Exercise reduces stress which lowers the resistance to illness and increase endorphins that help boost your germ fighting abilities.Some of my favorite exercises are Rebounding (mini trampoline), water aerobics, dancing and yoga. But any form of exercise will do just get moving!
STEP 3: IMPROVE GUT HEALTH!
Did you know that 80% of your immune system is located in the intestinal tract? Keeping it running smoothly is so important to your health. In the gut there are good bacteria and bad bacteria, if you have taken antibiotics, eat lots of sugar or have a stressful life, chances are your gut health needs some attention as these effect the balance of bacteria. The good bacteria keep the bad bacteria in check. Good bacteria love high fiber foods, bananas, onion, greens and garlic.Bad bacteria like snacking on sugar and fat found in processed food.Also, I recommend taking a good probiotic such as The Clean Program’s probiotic line.
STEP 4: THINK HAPPY THOUGHTS!
As a new field of psychoneuroimmunology emerges we are seeing how the mind and body work together and effect our immune system. Negative emotions have been shown to increase stress hormones which in turn impair the immune system. Positive thinking decreases inflammation in the body which is at the root of disease. Positive thinking also helps delay the aging process.Keep a Gratitude Journal and write in it daily. Also use Positive Affirmations stated in the present. Say to yourself “I am an amazing, healthy, happy, vibrant human being! I radiate health and vitality on every level” Write affirmations on a piece of paper several times as you say them out loud. Put affirmations throughout your home, car and work in places you will see them often. I have them in kitchen and bathroom cabinets, in the closet and on my computer screen saver. Read uplifting books and listen to inspiring music!
STEP 5: GET ENOUGH SLEEP!
Studies have shown that our immune system is suppressed by sleep deprivation. When we are sleep deprived our T Cells go down and inflammatory cytokines go up leaving us vulnerable to colds and flu’s as well as more serious health issues such as heart disease, cancer and obesity.Try and go to bed every night at the same time. Make your bed room a calm place free of clutter. Take a hot bath with relaxing music and essential oils like lavender or chamomile. Turn off the TV, computer or any other distractions in the room.
Immune Enhancing Ginger Tea
- 6 cups of water
- 1 cup chopped ginger root
- Boil for 5-10 minutes and let steep for 15 minutes
- In a cup add 2 teaspoon of raw honey, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and a dash of cayenne. Add a cup of the ginger liquid and sip away!