By: Dr. Melissa Willms
In the thick of cold and flu season, here are my top 5 tips for keeping your immune system in good shape for the remainder of the winter.
1. Get your daily dose of sunshine – Whether it is in the form of a tropical vacation, a sunny day spent on the ski hill, or a daily supplement, vitamin D is imperative to immune system function, energy and mood during the winter months. Most MD’s now recommend 2,000 IU’s of vitamin D3 on a daily basis. Many ND’s double the dose and recommend 4,000 IU’s for the average adult.
2. Eat a whole foods diet – Processed, packaged and fast foods contain unhealthy fats and are high in refined sugar, flour and preservatives, all of which suppress immune system function. If you are sick, it is an especially good idea to avoid these foods for the duration of your illness. Shop around the perimeter of the grocery store to emphasize a diet full of fresh fruits and veggies, unprocessed and organic meats, eggs, and dairy products. These foods are rich sources of nutrients that important to immune function such as vitamins C, D, zinc, beta carotene, fibre and probiotics. Avoid the isles in the middle which are packed full of sugary and processed convenience foods.
3. Move your booty – We can’t forget the importance of regular exercise. Whether in the form of a winter walk, hot yoga class, zumba or cross-country ski, sweating and moderate physical exertion improves mood, energy, sleep and of course, immune system function.
4. Warm up – Emphasize warming foods and teas in the diet such as garlic, onions, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, chili powder, curry, soups and stews. Warming the body from the inside via consumption of these foods directly stimulates circulation and immune function in the winter. Avoid dairy and orange juice which contribute to mucus production, and excess raw and cold salads and foods as these cool the body and immune system down and are better consumed during the summer months.
5. Consult an expert – You are unique and so are your health needs. Sometimes we can get by treating ourselves but even as a Naturopathic Doctor, I seek the advice of other health professionals when it comes to my own health concerns. Whether it is your family MD, your Naturopath, Homeopath or Chiropractor, consult in someone you trust, especially for serious colds and flus.
Give Sellars Chiropractic & Wellness Centre a call today to book your FREE 15 minute consultation with our Naturopath Dr. Melissa Willms.