Now Is The Time To Prep Your Immune System For Winter

Photo: Kate Daigneault

Picture this: The weather is cooling down, cozy coats re-emerge, and you may be shutting those windows and start cranking up the heat. With a new season on the horizon, unwanted guests will be popping up. The sniffles and sneezes, or worse, are coming. But don’t head for the cold medicine just yet; there’s plenty you can do to prepare yourself. It's important, however, that you start supporting your immune system and inflammatory response now in order to stay healthy thought the fall, winter, and spring. And so, in preparation for the changing season, here are a few ways to support your body:

1. Remember: A healthy gut equals a healthy immune system.

Seventy percent of the immune system lives in your intestinal lining, so it’s no surprise that the key to a well-balanced immune system is making sure the bacteria inhabiting your gut are healthy and thriving. Adding in a daily probiotic is a great place to start, but for many, you’ll need to go a step further, addressing the root cause of any gut issues, reducing inflammation, and supporting healthy digestion.

2. Take herbs or supplements that reduce inflammation.

When we think of allergies, we’re often thinking of the symptoms associated with allergies—running nose, itchy eyes, headaches—but at the core, we’re really experiencing an inflammatory response to foreign particles. Herbs and supplements can help reduce inflammation and give you some relief. Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, as well as herbal blends such as Natural DHist or Histaeze, can all be used to control and prevent symptoms.

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3. Leverage diet to reduce allergy symptoms.

Photo: Trinette Reed

Even if you don’t have food allergies, eating a healthy diet supports the immune system and makes you less prone to an allergy attack. I recommend choosing foods that fight inflammation, like organic plants and foods high in fiber and healthy fats, while avoiding refined sugars, processed white flour, dairy products, and red meats. If you’ve ever heard of the Mediterranean diet, that’s a great plan that offers many benefits—even beyond allergies.

4. Ease your stressors.

Like the foods we eat, stress can also trigger an inflammatory response (are you noticing a trend?), which makes it even more important that you manage anxiety and any chronic stressors. I like to incorporate some mind-body healing into my daily routine, like guided meditation, long walks, yoga, and deep breathing.

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5. Reduce your exposure to harmful toxins.

Simple enough, right? As obvious as it sounds, harmful toxins are sometimes lurking where you’d least expect them, like in personal care and cleaning products. Toxins can damage the immune system and trigger inflammation. To reduce exposure, you might consider buying water filters, replacing toxic household products with natural alternatives, and installing air filters to cleanse your environment. Remember, if you don’t recognize an ingredient, your body probably won’t either.

Looking for an awesome way to manage stress? Take our meditation class with world-renowned teacher Light Watkins.

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