As the days get shorter and the temperatures drop, many people experience fear related to catching colds, flu bugs, and other illnesses. Even for those of us who are “healthy,” it is still worth asking how we can protect ourselves and strengthen our bodies’ natural responses to diseases, infections, and viruses.
Is it possible to balance your immune system? The immune system is very complicated and everyone has different immune responses but there are practical things we can do to balance our immune systems and help them do their jobs.
Top three lifestyle factors that can influence your immune responses:
There is no magic bullet to instant super-immunity as the marketing companies would like you to believe. Natural, minimally processed foods are what our bodies need most. Highly processed foods can cause inflammation and should be eaten only occasionally. (More on that topic in a future post!)
Although there are no nutritional magic bullets, there are foods you can incorporate into your diet on a regular basis to make sure you are getting the vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients (healthy fats, protein, healthy carbohydrates) your body needs to be at its best when colds and viruses sneak up on you.
Here are some practical suggestions. Try adding one or two of these to your diet per week. Balance is key and most of us do not have time to entirely revamp our (and our families’) diets!
Raw Garlic and Raw Onions
Not only are these alliums good for gut health because of the prebiotics they contain, but they are also known to contain phytochemicals that may reduce inflammation. Try adding raw garlic to salad dressings and raw onion to guacamole.
These tasty fruits are loaded with high concentrations of antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free radicals in your blood that cause havoc to your immune system. Frozen berries are just as good as fresh when not in season.
Homemade Chicken Soup or Bone Broth
Grandma was right in giving you chicken soup when you were sick! The combination of celery, carrots, onions, and chicken provides vitamins A and C, and Zinc that can assist your body in warding off viruses. Bone broth has loads of collagen which is super good for your gut and joints.
Most spices contain volatile compounds that can fight inflammation and give you another boost of antioxidants. These include dill, turmeric, cloves, ginger, thyme, rosemary, oregano, and coriander. Use them liberally in cooking and in your chicken soup.
Mushrooms, both dry and fresh, contain powerful immune-balancing compounds, antioxidants, selenium, and vitamin D. Try roasting mushrooms with thyme, EVOO, a little salt and pepper then adding them to your favorite salad, polenta, or pasta sauce.
I hope you will find this simple list of healthful foods useful when thinking ahead to winter months and how you can protect and balance your health. Additionally, the vitamins and minerals listed in the graphic below can be of great benefit to you!
In future posts, we will explore the topics of better sleep and stress reduction. Until then, take care and know that we are here for you.
If you are interested in a personal health coaching assessment contact Nancy Angle, Certified Integrative Health Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Counseling Center at 435-649-2260 x1 to set up an appointment. Nancy has TONS of great ideas and information to share that will encourage and guide you to better overall health.