How to prep your Immune Health for the holidays and winter season

We all know that colder weather is coming and with the change in season, we must take extra care to boost our immune health. Here are my top 6 recommendations:

1) Stay away from all refined sugars and eat real food instead. Foods such as soft drinks, fruits juices, cookies, cakes, bagels, croissants and even breads and cereals coming from processed flour and sugar are sure to weaken your immune system. Why? Too much sugar in gut allows the bacteria or viruses to propagate much more because your initial innate immune system cannot function well when there is an overload of sugar. Sugar increases insulin and paves the way for high blood pressure and spikes cortisol which makes it harder to deal with stress. Eating real food like fruits and vegetables, grass fed meats, oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines and sticking with good fats like avocados, nuts, and seeds is the way to go.

2) Stay well hydrated so that your lymphatic system can move well. When your lymph is moving well, your bowels move better and there is less opportunity for toxic build up which leads to a weaker immune system. Liquids including bone broth, vegetable juices, herbal teas, and fruit smoothies are your best choices. Stay away from heavily marketed power drinks that are really loaded with sugar. Read the labels. If there is food coloring, natural flavors and especially words that you cannot pronounce, that is a clear indication that they are full of chemicals.

3) Wash your hands and avoid synthetic hand sanitizers. After shaking hands, it is a good idea to wash your hands well. Using hand sanitizers is NOT the answer. They are loaded with chemicals which actually create a more toxic environment, weakening your skin cells. A harsh smell is your first hint. Essential oil sprays can be a better option.

4) Stay connected to your circadian rhythm. We all have an internal body clock called our Circadian Rhythm. This means that we are hard wired to rise with the sun and tone down our days when the sun sets. When we do this, we are in sync with our cortisol reserves which keeps stress at bay. When we are more relaxed, this allows us to digest our food better, sleep better, and stay positive, which all boost immune health. If we disrupt this rhythm by working on our computer into the wee hours of the night, eat late dinners, and spend too much time on social media, we will stray too far away from their rhythm and be more susceptible to viruses.

5) Sleep Hygiene is paramount for a strong immune system. How often have you heard people say that they get sick every time they travel? This is because we sleep less and poorly. When you are at home, make sure that your room is dark, has fresh air, is free of EMFS (your phone, wifi etc). When we are in a deep sleep by midnight, this allows the body to detoxify, and repair. If we are constantly losing this opportunity by getting into bed past 10:30 we will weaken our immune system for sure.

6) Exercise is what moves our lymph naturally. Unlike the blood (pumped by the heart and the lungs), our lymph fluid has no pump. We must move to move the lymph! Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to a healthy immune system. Sitting at work all day is a challenge. Try to get up at intervals and at least walk around your house or building. After dinner something as simple as a walk outdoors can do wonders!

Frances Michaelson

A pioneer in the fitness industry, Frances opened the first personal training center in the West Island of Montreal in 2001. In 2008 , Frances had the “gut feeling“ that there was more to learn about health and how our bodies function, which led to further her education in the field of Naturopathy and holistic nutrition. She has since authored two books. Her latest book, "Do you Have the Guts to be Healthy" was published in March 2021. As a trainer and naturopath, she truly loves seeing people transform themselves by trusting their bodies instead of getting caught up in the medical system. Practicing health is the only way to live the gift of life well!

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