As the days get colder and darker, we often tend to move less, eat more and not pay enough attention to keeping our immune system strong. It does not have to be that difficult to be proactive and stay healthy. Knowing the steps to take of course, makes it that much easier.
Here are my suggestions to help keep you consistently healthy this season.
1) Stay Hydrated. You may think that summer is the only time we need to think about hydration, but this is far from the truth. Our body is 70 % water, and we constantly need to replenish. We even lose water in our sleep! With the cold dry weather, furnaces turned on, and fireplaces lit up, we need to bring moisture to the inside of our bodies. Many clients tell me that they dislike water but my recommendation to drink at this time of year is herbal teas. Herbal teas are more beneficial as they offer many healing properties. They are warm, soothing, and safer than plain water, especially if you are used to drinking from the tap! Try and choose a variety of herbs and aim for 2-3 liters a day. What I often do is brew a whole pot, drink half, and fill my water bottle with the rest. You would be surprised how refreshing it is to have it on hand later.
2) Stay away from refined sugars. Our body always struggles to digest processed foreign foods and those that are high in sugar. This makes every system in our body work harder including the white blood cells of our immune system. We know that 70-80 % of our immune system is in our gut. An excess of sugar leads to inflammation compromising our digestion and elimination leading to an environment that is weaker and more susceptible to the flu.
3) Stay Connected to your Circadian rhythm. Our circadian rhythm is our internal body clock that allows us to flow with the rhythm of cortisol release. This means that the more we live according to daylight hours, i.e. rising with the sun, getting our work and projects completed by sunset, the better off we will be with our ability to deal with life’s stressors as we will not abuse the hormone cortisol. When we chip away at cortisol because we are working too late and not settling down as the sun sets, we tend to be more stressed and wired as cortisol reserves are lowered. The evening hours are for relaxing, reading, playing with pets, meditating, gathering with friends and family, not working on projects. High cortisol demands lead to burnout and a weakened immune system.
4) Getting enough sleep is as important to your health as getting enough vitamins and minerals. When we skimp on sleep, we weaken our immune system as it is between midnight and 4:00 am when the body is detoxifying and repairing. Getting into bed by 10;00, 10:30 ensures that we can get into that deep restful sleep by those hours. If we constantly abuse these hours, we will be more susceptible to catching those flus and viruses.
5) Include more fermented foods in your diet like sauerkraut kimchi, kombucha. These foods will contribute to a healthy gut microbiome, closely linked to immune function. Add vitamin c coming from food source not ascorbic acid. My favorite is Camu Camu. Vitamin D3 is crucial as well as losing the precious rays from the sun. But do make sure that it is combined with K2 so that the calcium is directed to the bone, not the arteries!