Heading into the winter months, coupled with concerns around COVID-19, ensuring a strong immune system is high on everyone’s priority list. As a naturopath I’ve been trained to look at things in a holistic manner. When it comes to wellness and immune health I think about this in two ways – how can I boost my immune system to avoid catching bugs, and what can I do if I do get sick?!
The key to good health and a strong immune system is maintaining the balance of nutrition, sleep and exercise. When these aspects of life are in balance we have more energy, we are able to manage stress better, and we don’t get run down as often.
The first things that come to mind when I think about maintaining strong immunity are the simple things in life. For example getting outdoors and having adequate sun exposure, staying hydrated, trying to maintain 7-8 hours sleep a night and exercising 3-4 times a week. Don’t underestimate how important these basic things are!
If you do catch something, early intervention can really help to reduce the overall length and severity of the bug. There are many herbal and nutritional supplements that Naturopaths can prescribe to help support your immune system. Vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, Zinc and Vitamin D which help to stimulate immune function are good examples of these.
Not everything is safe during pregnancy, so I always encourage my patients to check with us before taking supplements and herbal medicine. If you feel that you need the extra support, it is good to have a consultation to tailor a treatment plan to your specific needs.
Here are some basic home remedies that are available to everyone:
- Eating an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables is always going to be the first consideration.
- Fresh ginger and lemon tea, to warm up your body, its anti inflammatory and full of Vitamin C to help kill bugs. To make a tea, add 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger to one cup of boiled water and let it steep for 10 minutes.
- Manuka honey on a teaspoon to help ease a sore throat.
- Eucalyptus inhalations – putting a few drops of eucalyptus in hot water and breathing the vapour to help clear a stuffy nose.
- One of the best cold remedies is a combination of peppermint, yarrow and elder tea. Known in the herbal world as YEP tea. Traditionally used to manage fever and help relieve a congested head.
Written by Georgia Borowski, our in-house Naturopath.
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