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Winter Immunity

Staying Healthy When Everyone Else Around You Is Sick

Winter is a wondrous season, full of celebration, coziness, and . . . illness

Warm, dry air indoors dries out our nasal passages, making us more susceptible to viruses and bacterial infections. Because we spend more time indoors with other people, it’s easier for sickness to spread.

Hibernation is probably not a practical solution, so it’s important to take preventive measures. A search
for “immunity” on Pinterest, however, delivers a never-ending scroll of ideas for herbal teas, essential
oil blends, and detox recipes. What’s the best way to keep yourself healthy?

 

Here are some basic practices that will make the most difference in your overall health this season

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Get Enough Sleep

When your body is exhausted, you're defenses weaken. This is our #1 recommendation because it's harder to make healthy choices when you’re tired. If you have overpacked your schedule, consider eliminating a few activities that will keep you from getting a full night’s sleep. And sneak in a nap when you can.

Manage stress

  1. The winter months can be stressful, even when you’re doing things you enjoy. You may not be able to eliminate all the stresses in your life, but you can make time each day to breathe, stretch, and relax your body. For ideas on how to make meditation and stretching part of your daily routine, check out these articles:
    • The Power of Meditation
    • Stretching
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Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables 

Getting enough vitamins from whole, nutrient-dense vegetables is a great way to support your immune system. Add some spinach to your smoothie, pack a salad for lunch, and have an orange or an apple for a snack.

Stay Hydrated

Like stress and fatigue, dehydration can weaken your defenses. And dehydration sometimes disguises itself as food cravings. Remember that not all liquids hydrate the body – alcohol, drinks containing caffeine or sugar, and even some herbal teas can have an opposite effect. Water is best. Add citrus, fruit, mint, or cucumber for variety.

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Take Care of Your Hands

Germs spread through touch and contact. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water. Try to stay away from hand sanitizer, as these will remove your own natural defense system against germs. So keep them clean, moisturized, and warm this winter!

As for all the other health-promoting ideas on Pinterest, scientific research does not agree on whether herbs or oils have a direct effect on the immune system, but many people have benefitted from using them. We have tried a variety of methods and like many of them. But each body is different. What works for one person may not work for another. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Warm drinks with honey and lemon to soothe dry, scratchy throats
  • A spoonful of elderberry and/or goji berry syrup every day during flu season
  • Warm bone broth to soothe the throat and support the digestive system
  • Diffusing an immunity-promoting essential oil blend or massaging a few drops (blended with carrier oil) into the soles of your feet before bed
  • A nasal rinse or neti-pot to clear and soothe dry nasal passages

 

Whichever methods you choose, just remember that they support, not replace, the basic practices of good health. Take care of yourself this winter!

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