How to Boost Your Immunity This Winter

There are lots of natural ways to boost your immunity. Naturopathic doctor and bestselling author Penny Kendall-Reed explains

How to Boost Your Immunity This WinterPhoto by Shutterstock.com

Source: Best Health magazine, January/February 2016

Boost Your Immunity

Improving overall health and strengthening our immune system become an important part of preventing sicknesses associated with this time of year. There are a variety of easy tweaks you can make to your diet and lifestyle to ensure that your immune system is strong. Here are some of my faves.

Supplement Help

Probiotics: Seventy percent of our immunity starts in our gut. Probiotics (the good bacteria) are the gatekeepers of this immunity. Probiotics directly stimulate system-wide immunity by increasing lymphocyte function and the strength of antibody binding, allowing for a more rapid response to infection. Take a daily 10-billion dose of lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

Vitamin C: This vitamin plays a vital role in the response of white blood cells and antibodies to infection, bacteria and viruses. Vitamin C directly enters infected cells, binds to and neutralizes the protein coating manufactured by the viral DNA and prevents the replication of new viruses. Chili peppers, red and green bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and strawberries are all loaded with vitamin C

Zinc: Zinc is crucial to the development and functioning of neutrophils (our first-line defence cells) and natural killer (NK) cells and the activation of T-cell cytokines, the inflammatory chemicals that destroy pathogens. Zinc also has antioxidant properties and helps strengthen the mucosal lining of the throat, nasal pathways and gastrointestinal tract, reducing the ability of viruses to adhere and pass into the body. Try taking zinc in lozenge form (10 to 25 milligrams a day).

Vitamin D: Stress and high cortisol levels are associated with an increased risk of viral infection. Vitamin D helps reduce the production of stress hormones, increases production of NK cells and boost T-cell function. In addition, research has shown that this important vitamin promotes the production of a natural antibiotic protein by mucosal cells acting as an immune barrier to viruses and is likely involved in the expression of genes vital to fighting infection. About 3,000 to 5,000 international units (IUs) a day can help keep the doctor away.

Diet and Lifestyle Tips

Fuel your body with complete lean proteins at every meal to provide the building material for immune cells and prevent carbohydrate-induced spikes in blood sugar that depress immunity. Try fish, chicken, egg whites or Greek yogurt. Avoid inflammatory processed foods and fats that draw immune resources away from fighting viruses.

Reduce stress (by implementing techniques like deep breathing, massage therapy or music therapy) to reduce cortisol and strengthen the immune system. Moderate exercise is also a stress reliever and immune booster.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to reducing the severity and incidence of sickness this season.

Related content:

Secrets to Staying Healthy & Happy

stephanie_joanne

‘It works for me!’ – Stephanie Joanne

Growing up in Europe, personal trainer and fitness expert Stephanie Joanne spent her days playing sports with her brother and his friends. All that activity definitely paid off ‘ she now owns her own fitness studio in Toronto, where she trains and mentors clients to build a healthier, happier life.Learn a little bit more about […]

Healthy living on Sesame Street

I don’t know about you all, but I learned quite a bit about healthy living from Sesame Street. Sure, my parents played a huge role in developing my healthy habits (hi Mom and Dad!), but the Sesame gang taught me that everybody sleeps and that eating crunchy vegetables is good for me (hi Captain Vegetable!).Today […]

front1_1

The worst Halloween treats you can eat

What would Halloween be without sweet treats and junk food? But some goodies are more nightmarish for your health than others. Here are the worst Halloween treats you can eat’and some healthier alternatives

erinpp

66 days to change: Keeping life fun

Through years of teaching fitness, many students have become friends. One thing that they like about me is I’m a ‘real person’ ‘ we go for lattes after class, and often have each other over for dinner parties. Before I had kids I taught a Saturday 10 a.m. spin class in downtown Toronto, and at […]