As the seasons change we often find ourselves more susceptible to getting sick. Obviously we’d all prefer to stay healthy, so today I’m going to share my top tips for a healthy immune system with you. If you know me, you know that fostering greater health and wellness, thriving instead of only surviving, are topics that I’ve been passionate about for years.
Like a lot of people, I was lacking education in that area. But my interest and passion for health made me educate myself by reading countless books and articles until I eventually enrolled at the Institute For Integrative Nutrition to become a Holistic Health Coach, where I’ve learned A LOT, but even so, I keep reading, I keep learning, I keep trying new things, because the topic of “health” is so vast that there’s always more to learn.
For me this journey has always been about true health and wellness, learning to listen to my body, and giving it what it needs to the best of my ability. As a holistic health coach I know that my body WANTS to be healthy and fit. So often we perceive a journey towards greater health and fitness as a struggle. We think in order to get fit, get in shape, be as healthy as possible we have to trick our body and fight it’s “natural urge” to be sick, fat and tired. That is not the case! Your body really wants to be healthy, fit, in shape and well. It is doing everything it can to be healthy and well. We just have to realize that we are in charge. Everything we do either supports our body on its mission to health and wellness, or puts a roadblock on its path. And the biggest areas where we can either support or sabotage our bodies are: nutrition, exercise, rest, and stress-management. So with that in mind, here are my top tips for a healthy immune system:
1. Getting enough sleep/rest. When you’re exhausted, your immune system is exhausted too.
2. Stress relief. Your immune system is shut down when you’re in fight or flight mode, aka stress in any form including emotional stress. Your body is programmed to naturally heal itself, but it can only do so when you’re calm, i.e. when your limbic system is in rest and digest mode. So things like meditation, gentle yoga, stretching, and breathing techniques are your best friends. And again, make sure you get enough rest and sleep.
3. Take a high dose vitamin C supplement. Due to soil depletion fruits and vegetables aren’t as rich in vitamins and minerals as they were a hundred years ago. A popular example of this is that now you’d have to eat about eight oranges to get the same amount of vitamin A as your grandparents would have gotten from one. The same is true for other fruits and vegetables and different vitamins and minerals. And though it is important that you consume healthy amounts of all essential vitamins and minerals, vitamin C in particular plays a big role in the healthy functioning of your immune system.
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, so you can’t really overdose. Your body would just get rid of the excess. You can have very different requirements for vitamin C when you’re healthy versus when you’re feeling under the weather, have a cold, or your body is dealing with some other kind of stress. So you have to try for yourself which amount you feel comfortable with.
When you’re sick, and you’re taking more vitamin C throughout the day than just your daily “maintenance dose”, you’d notice your body is at saturation when your stomach starts rumbling. That’s a sign for you to stop taking vitamin C for a few hours as your body can’t absorb any more at the moment. You can read more in Andrew Saul’s book “Doctor Yourself” but the point he makes again and again throughout the book is to “take enough vitamin C, to be symptom-free, whatever that amount may be.”
4. Healthy diet. Again, your body is programmed to be healthy, to eliminate any germs you might be coming in contact with, and to heal itself. But you have got to give it the nutrients it needs to perform the way it was meant to perform. Your car only works when you give it the right fuel, oil, and so forth. Your body works the same way.
5. Fresh ginger tea. When you do get sick, especially if it affects your throat, I find that ginger tea made from cut up ginger root poured over with hot water is very soothing and it feels like it’s clearing your throat. I just let the ginger sit in the pot until I’m finished drinking it so it gets spicier with every cup.
And just to really drive this point home, because this is probably the most important bit – make sure you get enough rest!
Aside from “Doctor Yourself” another great book on the topic of immune system is “Mind Over Medicine” by Dr. Lissa Rankin.
I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any more questions. As I said, I’m passionate about health and wellness and I’m a health coach so this stuff is right up my alley :)
Now I would love to hear from you. I’m curious…
What are your top tips for a healthy immune system? What do you do to stay healthy and happy, and what helps you to recover faster when you do get sick?
Post your advice, and also any questions you might have in the comments below.
I’m sure I’m not the only one here who has some tips about this topic, and it would be so great for you to share your wisdom with all of us. So let’s start a dialogue so we can learn from each other.
With all my love,
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