Want to stay healthy during cold and flu season? Look no further than your own body. By now, I think most of us know that the key to staying healthy is our immune system. Our immune system is on the front lines for us every single day being constantly bombarded with infectious organisms and other invaders who’s goal is to infiltrate and wreak havoc on our health.
This time of year we are cooped up inside and need all the extra help we can get to support our bodies properly. We need to keep the bad guys out and the good guys strong and fighting for our health. Not only does a strong immune system ward off the occasional cold and flu, but it also helps protect us from many chronic diseases and cancer.
It has been reported that as much as 70% of our immune system comes from our gut health, which means, we play a HUGE role in keeping our body strong and able to fight disease. This has been so empowering and eye opening for me that I have made it my mission to help my body in any way I can. My energy turned towards learning everything I could to ensure my immune system was up for the job of fighting for my health. Here are some of ways I support my immune system daily.
1.) Stress management. I put this one first for a reason. This for me, has been the most challenging. I am constantly working on tools and techniques to allow me to cope better as stress arises.
There are some days I am employing these techniques more than others, but I am very conscious keeping my stress in check. Some of the things that work for me are deep breathing, writing in a gratitude journal, and being realistic with my time. Don’t be afraid to say no.
2.)Getting good restorative sleep. If your stressed, it affects your sleep. So managing #1 should help with getting better sleep. Another good practice that helps me sleep better is by never having my phone on the nightstand, or even in the bedroom for that matter. If you use your device as an alarm clock then I would recommend putting it on airplane mode. In 2011 the World Health Organization issued a warming that your devices are potentially carcinogenic and disruptive to your sleep due to their electromagnetic fields (EMF’s). So there is more good reason to keep it far from your body when you are sleeping as you can.
3)Eating a well balanced diet. Avoiding refined sugars and processed foods. Eating more fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds helps give your gut good bacteria. A healthy gut in turn supports a healthy immune system.
4.)Lifestyle choices. This means avoiding smoking and excess alcohol consumption, and increasing daily exercise.
5.) Keeping your body hydrated. Water, water, water and more water! I have written about this in the past, but cannot stress it enough. The rule of thumb is you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces.
These are a few things I do daily to support a strong immune system. In addition if someone in our family starts to show signs of a cold or flu, we reach for extra support by taking elderberry syrup. We also take it proactively if we are feeling rundown and more vulnerable with a compromised immune system.
If you have never heard of elderberry I will give you a brief history. It is said to have been discovered by the father of medicine himself “Hippocrates” and has been used for centuries to treat cold and flu symptoms. Elderberries are dried berries from the Sambucis Nigra plant that produces naturally high immune-boosting compounds. Not only does it help minimize cold and flu symptoms it also relieves constipation, reduces inflammation in the body, and promotes mental health.
Elderberry syrup has worked wonders for our family over the last few years and would love to hear if you have used it in yours as well.
How to make Elderberry Syrup
- 1/2 cup of dried Elderberries (I purchase at a local health food store in bulk)
- 3 cups of filtered water
- 1 tablespoon of vitamin C powder
- 3/4 cup of raw honey
Optional ingredients: fresh ginger, cinnamon, or cloves.
Bring elderberries and water to boil, simmer for 1/2 hour. Strain and squeeze juice out of berries using a cheese clothes or a small strainer. Cool at room temperature and add honey. Store in a seal-able jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Standard Dosage: Kids 1/2 tsp – 1 tsp. Adults 1/2 tbsp – 1 tbsp. You can take every 4-6 hours while symptoms persist.
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