As we head towards fall and winter, where we enjoy our upcoming holidays, pumpkin spiced everything, and crisp weather, the sneaky flu sometimes likes to crash the party… Here are three ways to help boost and strengthen your immune system and kick that flu to the curb!
1. A healthy diet
To kick off any healthy diet, a good start is to switch up your diet to a more whole foods based diet (no, not a diet only from Whole Foods!). A basic whole foods diet consists of eliminating or decreasing processed and refined foods and incorporating more fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, complex carbohydrates and good quality animal products. Our bodies understand the language of natural whole foods, enabling it to properly process, digest and utilize them to get all the proper nutrients we need. When this happens, our body can start to function on a more optimal level, helping us stay healthy during the flu season.
Our immune systems unfortunately get weakened and stressed due to many daily contributing factors including sugar, alcohol, caffeine, prescribed medications, smoking, food toxins, environmental pollutants and many more. Some are at our control and others are not. Fortunately we easily have the ability to help support our bodies to good health and wellbeing! We can boost our immune system with good, nutritious and powerful foods. Good staples to keep in mind, and in the kitchen, are antioxidants which include garlic, onions, many berries like blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, citrus fruits, rooted vegetables such as beets and carrots, and dark leafy greens which are packed with all the essential nutrients and minerals. All these contain many powerful antioxidants that protect our immune system from the effects of excess free radical damage. Incorporating these ingredients into your juices and smoothies (in the summer) and more cooked meals such as soups, curries, and roasted vegetables in the winter, are a great addition to help boost your immunity!
A great way to boost your immune system and support your body outside the nutritional aspect is to support it physically! Our lymphatic system plays an important role in immunity. It essentially runs parallel to the circulatory system and helps capture such foreign things like bad bacteria and viruses. It then takes them to the designated lymph nodes to rid of them from the body.
It is very important to support the lymphatic system because un-like the circulatory system, which has the ability to pump itself, the lymphatic does not. The lymphatic system relies on our movement, like physical activity, or massage, to help pump and move toxins and debris through the body. Pilates, yoga and cardio is a fantastic way to help get the lymphatic system pumping, and toxins moving out. Massage or dry brushing once a week can also contribute to healthy lymphatic circulation.
Last, but of course not least; WATER! And lots of it! It gets the bad out and the good circulating. Two liters of water daily helps keep you well hydrated, and circulating those powerful antioxidants!
So, this fall as you take your lemon water to your Pilates, Yoga or Cardio workouts, know that your immune system is thanking you and that you’re not only helping yourself to look better, you’re also helping yourself to feel better all through cold season!