And so it’s begun. Looks like fall was short-lived as winter pushes its way in…the days are shorter and temps much colder. Chicago winters are no joke! Is it too early for Christmas music?? And so begins the discussion on “cold and flu” season. Our immune systems need a boost!
Instead of allowing this funk to get you or your children down, let’s make the most of it! While I am by no means, a “winter” person, there are perks to every season. But you + your family can’t enjoy it if you’re sick. So how can we stay healthy throughout this time?
Our goal is to empower moms + dads to feel confident in the decisions they’re making for themselves + their children. Parenting is hard work! Sometimes, having a better understanding of how the body works helps us support it better. Here are 5 tips to help you boost your immune system so you can do just that!
We all know that sleep is important, but just how much does it matter? Turns out, a lot! Especially when your body is fighting off a germ or infection.
Makes sense – we all feel sluggish when we’re not feeling well. There’s a couple of reasons for that. First, infections can act on certain parts of the brain that have to do with alertness. Additionally, your body is using its energy toward fighting off those germs. Studies suggest that when animals are sleep deprived, they tend to be more susceptible to viral or bacterial infections.1 No thanks!
2. Hydrate Before You Dehydrate
OK, this isn’t just a lyric to a Thomas Rhett song, it’s good info to follow! Because lymph production requires water, well… you better make sure you’ve got enough. Lymph is what carries your white blood cells and other immune cells from where they’re produced (think thymus and bone marrow) to where they’re needed – to fight those germs!
Plus, water helps flush out mucus + toxins from the body, which may help you recover much more quickly. And finally, keeping your eyes and mouth hydrated helps block contaminants that cause infection from entering the body.
Nothing new here – what you eat can either help boost your immune system or can hinder it. What should we increase? What should we avoid?
We all know how great a healthy diet is for us, but it’s so much more important during the winter months. Eating lots of veggies + fruits, healthy fats, and protein does just that. Limit your sugar intake, especially when sick, because bacteria + germs feed off of it. Also, limit your dairy intake because it’s a mucus producer – so it’ll just add to the congestion. No thanks!
During these winter months, here are a few supplements to consider:
Vitamin D – don’t plan on getting any from natural sunlight these days. Instead, find a quality supplement that can support you. The majority of the population is deficient. 2,000-3,000IU is a common recommendation, but 5,000-10,000IU is not uncommon. It’s important to talk with a healthcare provider to determine what’s best for you.
Omega 3s – any time we have an infection, our inflammatory response kicks up as well. It’s important to have a good anti-inflammatory response to help you rebound quicker. Omega 3s are a great start – usually you’ll find a ratio of DHA to EPA. Both are great for different reasons – DHA is typically tied to brain development (that’s why you’ll see it in formulas) while EPA is great for fighting cellular inflammation.
Probiotics/Prebiotics – what’s the difference? (Prebiotics are food for the probiotics) Probiotics are becoming a pretty big deal these days. That’s because we’re realizing how much of our immune system lies within the gut. Probiotics, or the good bacteria, can aid digestion + help maintain gut health.
Let’s face it – our bodies are made to move! We all know how great physical activity + exercise are – one reason being it helps us fight off infection. Exercise promotes better circulation, which can help those immune cells move through the body + do their job. Engaging in moderate activity for 30 minutes 4-5 times a week is great for our general health, which helps our immune system’s performance.
5. Get Adjusted
Well, naturally, I’d want to share the benefits of what I get to do! But honestly, whenever I feel I’m getting a scratchy throat or coming down with something, I get adjusted.
Look, we all can get bogged down with stress. If you’ve visited our office, you know the nervous system has two modes – stress mode or your fight or flight response (we call this the gas pedal) and our parasympathetic mode or rest + repair, digest + heal (we call this the brake pedal). Guess which one your immune system thrives in? Yep, the brake pedal.
Our specific + gentle adjustments allow us to “tap the brakes” so to speak. By stimulating the parasympathetics, we can help balance the two modes of the nervous system, allowing the immune response to kick on like it’s supposed to.
There’s nothing better than hearing a mom’s excitement about how her toddler no longer spends all winter sick. We’re honored to be the first stop for families when a little one begins to complain about an earache. We’d love to share the power of chiropractic care with you + your loved ones! Reach out to us at 630.423.5960 or firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know how we can help!