Written by Dr. Nicole McCulloch ND
As the weather begins to turn, one thing that comes to mind with the chilly nights is unfortunately, cold and flu season. During this time, we begin to see an increase in the amount of upper respiratory tract infections (common cold) as well as an increase in flus. One of the best ways to ward off these pesky bugs isto help prevent them in the first place. Maintaining optimal immune function throughout the fall and winter months is essential to preventing colds and flus. There are some simple ways to help accomplish this:
Firstly, it is imperative to get adequate sleep. Sleep helps to rejuvenate the entire body including the immune system. When one does not get adequate rest, their immune system is less able to fight off infections and can lead to the development of a cold.
Stress has a significant impact on the immune system by depressing the body’s ability to mount an appropriate immune response during periods of stress. Ensuring stress is dealt with in an appropriate and effective way, whether it be through meditation, yoga, reading or simply eliminating things on the ‘to do’ list, stress management is one of the best ways to keep your immune system strong throughout the cold and flu season.
In addition, eating balanced meals that include adequate amounts of protein, fiber and nutrient dense fruits and vegetables is important to keep the whole body healthy, including your immune system. Avoiding simple sugars and processed foods is a great way to keep your immune system strong as pesky bugs feed off of these foods.
Getting regular gentle exercise is also very effective and has been shown to increase white blood cell counts – the cells responsible for fighting off infections.
There are also various natural remedies that can help to support a healthy immune system. Botanical medicine offers some fantastic herbs that can boost immunity, as well as some homeopathics and even a natural booster shot are all ways to support adequate immunity.
For more information on any of these or to learn more about your own immunity, please contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our naturopathic doctors.