This leads me to the point of this post. Building immunity and resilience. So, lets start with my nemesis, and perhaps our best ally in creating health and building our immune system ... sleep!
During sleep our immune system releases proteins called cytokines. Cytokines aid in sleep quality as well as work to fight off infectious diseases you may have been exposed to. Lack of sleep decreases the production of cytokines and thereby your ability to ward off infection.
I believe all of us understands the importance of eating a healthy whole foods diet and the elimination of processed foods in building health and immunity. I'd like to point out some of our super heroes that serve to build immunity and resilience to getting sick.
Ginger; expels cold, induces sweating, thereby removing toxins from the body
Turmeric; is one of the top antioxidant, anti-inflammatory containing foods. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric and is anti-viral and anti-fungal making turmeric a super, super hero in your diet.
Garlic; contains allicin which fights infection and bacteria. Try rubbing it with olive oil, wrapping it in parchment paper, then foil and roasting it in the oven until soft and sweet.
Coconut oil; contains beneficial lauric acid, not common to many foods, but prevalent in human breast milk and proven to enhance immunity. Coconut oil is also anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial.
Sweet Potatoes; high in beta-carotene, which your body converts to Vitamin A, vital to skin health, your body's first defense against infection!
Vitamin D; is essential for proper immune function. Optimally your level should be between 50 and 70ng/ml. Checking your level through blood work and supplementing with D3 to maintain adequate levels is one of the most important things you can do to ward off sickness.
Probiotics and Fermented Foods; boost your immune system by adding healthy, friendly bacteria and balance gut flora. 70% of your immune system is housed in your gut!
Fortunately, while there is much we can do nutritionally to build our health. However, stellar eating may not be enough to override the impact stress, lack of sleep (go to bed Beth), autoimmunity, multiple attacks and even digestive issues may have on our immune system. Our bodies ability to ward off infection is multifaceted. So, when we do fall sick, our best response is with additional sleep, reduction of stress and nurturing ourselves. These are my most trusted and relied upon rituals.
Go to bed; sleep is what is most needed now and your best chance for shortening the length of your illness
Chicken soup; is not just an old wives tale. Soup (made with bone broth is even better!) is comforting, soothing, healing and nutritious
Warm to hot baths; is my most comforting and healing tool. At the first sign of sickness, I'm in that tub with 2 cups of ACV. If you're experiencing body aches, 2 cups of epsom salts will bring you relief and great comfort. Add a little lavender essential oil to your tub and head straight to bed after for better sleep and more healing.
Hydrate; it is easy to become dehydrated if you are running a fever, so extra water is essential. Extra water and herbal teas will also help to detoxify your system.
Morning Elixir; contains useful ingredients that fight fever, infection and even headaches. I used my morning elixir off and on all day to help my body fight the fight. I boost my elixir with additional ginger, ACV and fresh turmeric root. I don't strain my mixture after blending and drink any pulp left behind.
Zinc; helps to reduce the severity and shorten the duration of colds and flu's. Research shows that supplementing with zinc in the months prior to and during cold season, greatly reduces your risk of becoming sick.
Elderberry syrup; is well known for its ability to aid the body during cold and flu season. Particularly soothing and effective for coughs.
Run your humidifier; when the heat kicks on in our homes, it dries out the air and consequently, our skin, lips, throats and nasal passages. Rehydrating the air will also help to ease sinus congestion, and assist your body in fending off viruses and bacteria.
Use a Neti Pot; An Ayurvedic practice dating back thousands of years, that irrigates your nasal passages and flushes out toxins.
What are your most trusted remedies and rituals? I'd love to hear about anything that you find helpful dealing with colds and flu's.