Theme of the month – Boosting your immune system

It’s that time of year again – cold and flu season.  You feel that tickle in your throat, and are concerned with the progression of a cold or flu.  It seems that we all “fall” into a cold/flu during the fall season.  Why does this happen?  It has a lot to do with the change of seasons – the change in routine, the change of weather, and usually the added stress of going back to work/school.  So what is to blame for a poor immune system and increased susceptibility to getting sick?

Many things contribute to a weakened immune system. These include lifestyle changes as:

  • Poor sleep
  • Change in routine or schedule
  • Poor diet
  • Stress (probably the largest contributor as stress directly interfers with our ability to fight infection)

Also, chronic conditions can decrease the ability of our immune system to work effectively.  These conditions include:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Digestive disorders
  • Adrenal Dysfunction
  • Hypothryoidism
  • Iron deficency and anemia

So what can we do to improve our immune system?  First, there are some simple steps to improve our physical barriers to infection to keep the “bug” from getting into our bodies in the first place.  These include:

  • Hand washing (proper techinque is with soap and water, washing hands for 2 minutes)
  • Exercise (increases circulation)
  • Diet rich in nutrients and low in sugar/fat
  • Stress reduction techniques

Naturopathically, there are certain nutrients and botanicals that can help with boosting the immune system.  Please seek the advice of a health practitioner (such as an ND) before using any of these supplement since they are not right for everyone and do have side-effects and contraindications.

Nutrients include:

  • Zinc
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin A
  • Selenium
  • CoQ10
  • Glutathione
  • B Vitamins – especially B6 and B12

Botanicals/Supplements include:

  • Echinacea
  • Astragulus
  • Ginseng
  • Garlic/onions
  • Probiotics
  • Essential Oils

Lastly, a strong mind leads to a strong body.  The mind is a wonderful thing, where positive thought is crucial in a healthy immune system.  Remain positive, remain strong.

As Deepak Chopra says…..

“Your immune cells are like a circulating nervous system.  Your nervous system in fact is a circulating nervous system.  It thinks.  It’s conscious”.

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About healthyhappynaturopathy

I am a board certified and licensed Naturopathic Doctor working in Newmarket and Maple, Ontario I am an advocate of individualized and specialized medicine, about treating individuals as a whole, and evoking our own healing properties. To me, being happy is being healthy, and health flourishes with a positive mindset.
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