- Dr. Jenny Henderson, ND
5 Easy Immune Boosting Hacks
Once again we are staring down the barrel of another cold and flu season. Everyone is suddenly on high alert for infections, as few of us relish feeling miserable, and it’s especially so when our kids are sick. Here are some easy ways you can help your immune system out a bit this fall and winter (in addition to good old fashioned hygiene of course, like hand washing and expectorating into your elbow)
Hydrotherapy – the power of water
Use alternating showers to improve your blood and lymph circulation, thereby boosting the reach and function of your immune cells. Alternating showers involve switching the water from hot to cold – about 3 minutes under hot water, 30 seconds under cold water. Repeat 3 times (end on cold). If you have access to a sauna or a hot tub (you lucky duck), you can do the same thing, but spend about 10 min in the sauna for the hot portion.
2. Avoid added sugar & eat more greens for Vitamin C
Sugar feeds bacteria, and if you’re looking to avoid infections, you better cut down on their food source. A diet high in added sugars is a sure way to keep your immune system weak, and the bad bacteria strong. Instead, opt for tons of fresh fruits and veggies, especially leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, tomatoes and peppers, all of which are loaded with immune boosting Vitamin C.
3. Astragalus & Eleuthero
If you’d like to try the herbal route, Astragalus membranaceous and Eleutherococcus senticosus are two famous medicinal herbs that are great at stimulating your immune system. Any good immune supplement worth it’s salt is going to have these herbs in it, and they can also be found as stand-alones. As always, talk to a healthcare practitioner before starting any herbal supplements.
If you’re in the habit of staying up late, or don’t have proper sleep high on your priority list, think about changing that if you’re looking for a strong immune system. Getting enough quality zzz’s each night will help your body heal, detox, and recover better which will mean your immune system won’t readily throw in the towel at the first signs of an invasion.
The good bacteria in your gut are an extremely important component of a healthy immune system. These little guys keep the bad bacteria from getting out of hand, and they directly interact with your body’s immune factors to promote harmonious function. You can get probiotics as a supplement, or load up on some fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and kombutcha.
Good luck, and enjoy your winter!