Your immunity impacts whether you get sick (be it viral, bacterial or fungal), how sick you get, and for how long you’ll be fighting illness before you feel better.
As Winter in Madison is in full swing, we want to share a few tips for supporting and strengthening your immunity so you stay well all season!
Community Pharmacy, located at 341 State St. near Resolution’s Downtown Madison office, is a wonderful community resource for taking care of your health. Their staff is knowledgeable and happy to help you find natural ways to boost your immunity this Winter; some of their suggestions for supplements are featured below.
Exercise is vital to keep lymph fluids moving. The lymphatic system is an integral part of the immune system, moving lymph fluid through the body in much the same way the circulatory system moves blood through the body. The circulatory system is powered by the heart, but the lymphatic system is reliant on muscle movement, gravity, hydrotherapy (alternating hot and cold water on the skin), massage and breathing to move lymph fluid.
If you’re injured and can’t exercise, gentle stretching and Therapeutic Massage are great ways to stimulate lymph movement.
One of the most crucial habits for maintaining health is hand washing! Simple but effective, practicing good hand washing can protect you from myriad viruses, bacteria and fungi throughout the year.
Our friends at Community Pharmacy recommend several supplements to help boost your immune system throughout Winter, including Comprehensive Immune Support (which includes several types of medicinal mushrooms), and Immune Alert (which comes in either pill or tincture form.)
Black Elderberry Syrup is also good to have on hand during the Winter, as it can be taken daily to boost immunity or taken in increased dosages when you are sick (particularly with a cough!)
*These immune-boosting suggestions are appropriate for most adults, but of course check with your own medical professional before starting new supplements, particularly if you are taking any prescription medications.*
Sleep is crucial for proper immune functioning. Everyone has slightly different sleep needs, but making sure to get the 7-9 hours you need every night goes a long way towards staying healthy. Prioritizing sleep and getting a few extra hours per night when you’re feeling run down can help prevent you from getting sick.
Minimize Irritating Foods
Sugar, alcohol, gluten and dairy are the most common allergens and system irritants. Sugar can cause inflammation, which weakens the immune system and leaves you susceptible to illness. Dairy commonly triggers excess mucous production, so if you often suffer with sinus ailments, avoiding (or minimizing) dairy can help reduce congestion. Learn which foods irritate *your* system, as different bodies react differently, and you can help your immune system function at its best.
It can be hard to reduce or eliminate foods that we enjoy, so focus instead on adding foods that will support your body. There won’t be as much room in your diet for sugar, dairy or other foods you’d rather avoid! It can be easy to forget about vegetables and fruits in Winter, when fresh produce isn’t as plentiful, so be mindful about building meals around those instead of processed grains and meats. Winter squash, hearty greens, root vegetables, citrus fruit, pomegranates and apples are all delicious and nutritionally balanced for Winter health!
Relax, Laugh and Practice Thankfulness
We all do get sick occasionally, so appreciate those days when you feel good! If your stress levels are high, consider getting a Relaxation Massage or a Reiki session; even 30 minutes can reset your body and outlook on life.