Cold & Flu season is definitely here and this is about the time everyone begins looking for ways to boost their immune system. But part of why this time of year brings so many viruses has a bit to do with how we care for ourselves.
Sure, we are spending more time indoors, maybe traveling more and seeing more people, but many people are also eating more sugar, sleeping less, drinking more alcohol…you get the idea.
Part of preventing illness is being good to your body. Try these 6 tips this winter to keep your immune system in tip top shape.
6 Immune Boosting Tips
Stay Well Fed.
The person on the plane just sneezed on you? Your co-working has been coughing all week? Yeah, chances are you’ve been exposed and now is the time to be a bit more mindful about your food choices. Alcohol, processed foods, sugar, any foods you have a sensitivity to are best left out. Focus instead on plenty of vegetables and high quality protein.
Rest & Relax.
Opt for a night in and aim for at least 7 (8-9 is better!) hours of sleep per night. Try to make space for you to relax every day.
If you're struggling with getting enough sleep, try my Sweet Dreams to help you get that nourishing rest your body needs.
Wash Your Hands.
Seems simple, right? That 20 second scrub with warm water and soap can be the difference between a weekend in bed or a weekend with friends. No sink? If you find yourself really stuck, opt for a alcohol based hand sanitizer, rather than an antibacterial one. Why? Well, those antibacterial ones contain chemicals that disrupt your hormones and make crazy mutant super germs and nobody wants that!
Drink Your Bone Broth.
In my family, we’re all drinking a mug a day of this nutrient dense goodness. Real talk. I have a hard time keeping up on making bone broth, especially when someone gets sick. So, we keep several boxes of Kettle & Fire Bone Broth on hand so that we always have back up. It is made with grass fed bones and is super delicious.
Enjoy a mug of Cordyceps daily to support healthy immune function and safe guard against what comes your way this winter. Here's what we sip in my house.
Give yourself a daily 15 minutes to keep your immune system in shape. If you’re feeling sick, take it easy and rest. The exercise will be there when you recover.
Get Your Vitamin D.
Sunshine is a scarce commodity in the winter, which is why having your blood levels tested and supplementing appropriately is so important. In general Vitamin D3 can be supplemented at 2,000 IU daily for adults and 400 IU daily for children as a maintenance dose.
But what if you get sick? It happens. And truthfully, that isn’t entirely a bad thing. We are supposed to get sick, just not all the time. But getting sick from time to time is a good sign your immune system is doing its job.
What to do if you get sick?
In addition to the preventative measures above, I’d also recommend you consider the following:
Eat Your Vitamin A!
Vitamin A is necessary for immune function.
Food Sources of Vitamin A
- Eggs Yolk
- Bone Broth. Click here for recipe.
- Chicken Fat
- Cod Liver Oil
- Grass fed butter
- Sweet Potato
- Butternut swash
Need recipes? Grab some free ones here.
Exposure to the sun is good for vitamin D & the soul, but during acute illness larger doses of vitamin D may be needed, especially if you are deficient.
For Children 2+, consider 800-2,000 IU daily.
For Adults, consider 5,000 IU daily.
Be sure to take a vitamin D with K2 to optimize your overall health and protect your heart.
Ever hear it doesn’t work? Um, that’s usually because people are taking too low of a dose. In one study, they found adults who took 8 grams a day, compared to those who only took 4 grams, had shorter colds. High doses of vitamin C can cause loose stools so it is best to go slow, starting with about 250 mg in children and 2,000 mg in adults and titrating up. If loose stools occur, reduce the number of doses per day and space them further apart in the day.
For Children 2+, consider 250 mg 1-3 times daily.
For Adults, consider 1,000-2,000 mg 1-3 times daily. Here's the Vitamin C I recommend in my office.
Use for the duration of symptoms and discontinue 2 days after symptoms have resolved. Zinc should not be used long term.
For Children 2+, consider 5-10 mg 1-2 times daily.
For Adults, consider 30 mg 1-3 times daily.
Dragon Fire Cider.
Full of immune boosting herbs with a little kick of heat, fire cider is great for both prevention and when you are fighting a virus. Click here for recipe.
Using this treatment at the first sign of illness can help you get over it quicker. It can help improve symptoms of fever, cough or sinus congestion. Learn how to use warming socks here.
And definitely share these tips with your friends & family! It will help you stay well if those around you are taking steps to ward off illness too.
Wishing you a season of wonderful health!
Dr. Jolene Brighten