Summer months have faded. The weather is cooler, and runny noses, congestion, and itchy eyes become more common occurrences for allergy sufferers.
It’s officially Fall!
Not only does the change in seasons bring a change of weather, it also brings a change in the environmental allergens we’re exposed to – there are new pollens present in the air to challenge our immune systems.
This coupled with the cooler weather can make us more susceptible to viruses and infection. Taking all of this into consideration, I want to make sure you are prepared for Fall and Winter by sharing a few key immune-boosting practices that you can add to your wellness routine to help keep you well as the seasons change:
The cold weather can make it harder for our bodies to clear out the pollen that sometimes accumulates in our sinus cavity. To counteract this, I recommend rinsing the sinus cavity three times each week. You can use a Neti Pot for this or Neilmed Sinus Rinse.
I also recommend keeping your mouth clean. Beyond simply brushing and flossing your teeth, it’s important to gargle with distilled salt water and clean your tongue with a tongue scraper. These areas attract pollen, so you can boost your immune system and support your health by keeping this environment clean.
2. Stay Warm
It’s cold outside, so we want our bodies to be warm. The best ways to do this are raising the temperature in your home, wearing warm clothing and scarves that protect your neck and throat, and eating warm foods. These immune-boosting practices will warm you up from the inside out by warming your chi or life force. Hot baths and time in the sauna can also be beneficial.
3. Slow Down
November and December are colder months, so many of us stay inside more. You can use this increased time indoors for calm and quiet self-reflection. This is a great time to incorporate meditation into your wellness routine. Not only is this nourishing for the mind and spirit, but it also stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system – the part of our nervous system responsible for rest and digestion. This can help improve sleep, decrease stress, and reduce internal inflammation. These are all essential for boosting immunity.
4. Nourish Your Body
To boost your immune system and keep yourself healthy and well this Fall and Winter, incorporate these immune-boosting foods into your diet:
- Ginger contains phytonutrients that help fight viruses that can cause respiratory illness. It can also help break down mucus to help clear your respiratory tract and alleviate symptoms of congestion.
- Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It also makes a delicious, warming tea. Be sure to consume it with a pinch of black pepper for optimal absorption (1).
- Soups are perfect for warming you up on cold days. They can also be incredibly nourishing and delicious. Here is a recipe for one of my favorites.
- Garlic and other vegetables in the allium family, like leeks, onions, and shallots, contain organosulfur compounds that can reduce your risk of contracting a cold or flu. Studies have also shown that it reduces the severity of symptoms and the duration of illness if you do happen to get sick (2).
- Seasonal citrus, like oranges and mandarins, are high in vitamin c, which is essential for immune system health.
You’ll also want to be mindful of your sugar intake as it can weaken your immune system if eaten in excess.
In addition to incorporating immune-boosting foods into your diet, there are a few supplements that I often recommend patients take to maintain the health of their immune system: Aller-ease for allergy relief, Acute Immune, and Immuno Pro to support the body’s defenses against seasonal immune challenges, and Vitamin D to optimize immunity (3).
November is the beginning of cold and flu season, but more importantly, it is also the month of gratitude.
I’ll be talking more about this in the coming weeks, but you can prepare for what’s to come by setting aside 5 minutes each day to acknowledge three or four things that you are grateful for. This is a practice that can actually change your physiology over time, so I encourage you to add this to your wellness routine this month along with the other immune boosting tools mentioned in this post.
These will all help you to maintain the health of your immune system and stay well during the Fall and Winter months.