Fall is here. We can still enjoy some warm and sunny days, but it’s slowly getting colder, darker. The leaves are turning red and your colleges are missing work. Yes, with fall comes the cold and flu season.
In periods of seasonal change, our immunity system becomes a bit more fragile. And because it’s getting colder, we’re spending more time inside. As a result, we get sick easier. Don’t let it happen to you this year and stay healthy by making sure you do what you can to maintain a strong immune system.
Taking care of your gut health is crucial to support your immunity during the winter months. That’s because about 80% of our immune system cells are located in our intestines. Regularly eating fermented foods is the perfect way to take care of your gut flora. Include sauerkraut, fermented carrots or yogurt and kefir in your diet to maintain a good immunity.
It is well known that garlic naturally does wonders for the immunity system and is one of the healthiest foods out there. It eliminates harmful bacterias while keeping the flora strong. Eating it while you’re sick is supposed to decrease the amount the time of sickness. While garlic is avoided in Ayurveda because it is considered as a rajastic food, it is a massive immunity booster that we can’t ignore. Just make sure you don’t eat it in massive amounts; not only you’ll have bad breath, but it can have negative impacts.
Vitamin C supports the immunity system by increasing the production of white blood cells. During an infection, your body needs more vitamin C to keep these cells working which can deplete your body’s stores. In seasons of cold and flu, make sure to get enough vitamin C while you are healthy and even more if you get sick. It’s always better to get our nutrients from whole foods than in the form of supplements. Include foods like oranges, kale, lemon, broccoli, brussel sprouts, onions, bell peppers and tomatoes.
The practice of regular moderate exercise is linked with a good and strong immune system. Being one of the pillars of health, it just makes sense that exercise also boosts immunity. You can’t help but feel healthy and energized after exercising. If you are already moderately active, don’t start doing heavier exercise, as it could cause more harm than good. Otherwise, unroll your yoga mat, go swim, bike, walk or run to keep the microbes at bay.
In Ayurveda, it is believed that getting in any type of inversion where your head is below your heart could allow the lymph to circulate and drain germs from your body. Make time for Sirsasana (headstand), Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) or even Padahastasana (standing forward bend) and Prasarita Padottanasana (wide-legged forward bend) during your yoga sessions.
It is a known fact that high stress levels lower immunity, especially if the stress is prolonged and chronic. Constant worry about things like money and family or getting through traumas can cause chronic stress. This stress causes the body to constantly produce cortisol, a hormone that, when present in the body long-term, causes inflammation and weakens the immunity.
To ensure your immunity system works properly, come up with stress managing strategies, exercise regularly and practice self-care by allowing yourself to have time to do things you enjoy. Your yoga practice could be of great help here and if you don’t already, make time for pranayama and meditation.
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