Are you in balance in each of the Five Stones: Healthful Eating, Balance Movement, Integrative and Functional Healthcare, Mindful Stress Management, and Interconnected Living?
Did you ever wonder what you can do to keep a strong and healthy immune system? Are there things you can do to lessen your chances of getting sick?
Oftentimes, we think about this in the winter when we are surrounded by people who have colds and flu.
But at this time of year, in the middle of summer, a lot of people are traveling and that can be a challenge to the immune system. We might be exposed to a new environment, crowded airports, different food and water.
There are however, steps that we can take to help keep us balanced and healthy even in the stetting of these potential challenges to our immune systems.
Probiotics are a great first step. These are the “good” bacteria that populate our guts and help provide critical immune balance. When we are stressed, take antibiotics or upset the balance of our gut bacteria in other ways, our immune system can be compromised. Believe it or not, the majority of our immune system resides in the GI tract, and the layer of cells just beneath the gut membrane is made up of immune cells. So it is easy to see how closely related our gut health and our overall immune health are.
Taking probiotics to help restore and maintain gut balance anytime that we are sick, stressed or take antibiotics makes great sense; but it’s also a good idea to consider taking a daily probiotic as a preventative to support the immune system if we anticipate a disruption to the system like travel. A good choice would be a probiotic that contains a mixture of bacterial strains, including lactobacillus and bifidobacter, in the 15-30 billion cfu/day dose range.
Elderberry is also a powerful immune system support, and can be taken either daily as a preventative in the cold and flu season, or at the first sign of the onset of a cold or other virus. It can also be helpful to take if traveling, especially flying. Have you ever noticed how often people say that they caught a cold from the plane?
Eating a diet with plenty of antioxidants is beneficial to maintaining a strong immune system; this is best accomplished by eating a rainbow of color (brightly colored fruits and vegetables) daily.
And lastly, don’t forget the importance of adequate rest; it is when we sleep that the body does the majority of its healing and repairing work. We clearly don’t want to add another stress to the immune system by skimping on rest.
So enjoy your summer, have good and safe travels, and remember to support your immune system along the way.
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