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How to boost your immunity – 3 Step Guide to better health this Cold and Flu season

May 31, 2023 | Chiropractic Care

Our team believe in a holistic approach to our chiropractor practice in Coburg North. It’s no surprise that Winter is now upon us which means the dreaded ‘cold and flu season’ is here. This month we’re going to cover some Winter do’s and don’ts to help you boost your immune system and/or better prepare yourself for unwelcome bugs that have already made their way into your body.

“People are taught that sickness comes from bad genes, bad bugs, or bad luck, as opposed to bad behaviours”

Dr James Chestnut

We must recognise that our behaviour matters, and what you do absolutely influences your health. We live in world governed by stress, and we often make poor decisions regarding our health when faced with physical, chemical, and emotional stressors daily.  

Ask yourself…

How many times have you grabbed the closest chocolate, muesli bar, packet of chips, or ordered take away because you worked too late to prepare meals?

How many times have you skipped meals (especially breakfast) and grabbed a takeaway coffee for a boost of energy?

How many times have you skipped the gym, yoga, or taking your pet for a walk because you have meetings, deadlines, or you’re simply too exhausted?

How many times have you had a constant body ache or niggle that you haven’t sought treatment for because you don’t have the time?

The list goes on….

It’s no wonder people drop like flies during “cold and flu” season. We push ourselves to exhaustion, lack adequate fuel to keep us going and expect that our bodies will keep up. This puts a huge strain on our immune system.

In order to give yourself the best chance of having a strong immune system this Winter you must limit the amount of all 3 stressors in your body. Here’s how.

Boost your immunity this winter

Immunity boosting tip #1

(Remove chemical stress)

You are what you eat – the less chemical stress your body is under the better it will respond to harmful pathogens. We can do this by eating good wholefoods and using appropriate supplements.

Wholefoods:

DO’SDON’TS
VegetablesRefined carbohydrates
Organic meat, poultry, fishCereals and grains
Natural fats (e.g. Avocado)Sweeteners
Free range eggsDairy Products
Some nuts and seedsSoft Drinks, Juice, Alcohol
Drink lots of waterRefined Sugar

Some good foods to incorporate into your diet during winter are foods that have anti-inflammatory, and pre and probiotics properties.

Bone broth and alkaline foods are also great for boosting immunity.

Anti-InflammatoryPrebioticProbiotic
TurmericOnion, shallot, scallionYogurt
GingerGarlicKefir
GarlicAsparagusSauerkraut
TomatoesJerusalem ArtichokeKimchi
BroccoliBananaMiso
Green leafy vegetablesChicory rootPickled Veggies
Blueberries & PineappleLeekTempeh
Flaxseeds & Chia seedsApplesNatto

Chemical stress can also build up from other toxins such as:

  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Laundry powder
  • Unfiltered water
  • Food/ Drink additives
  • Drugs/ medicines
  • Alcohol
  • Shampoo and conditioners
  • Soaps/ body wash
  • Moisturisers
  • Candles
  • Bleach

Just to name a few.
I would encourage you to check your products for hidden toxins, a great way to test this is by looking on the back of the label for the list of ingredients. If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, or you have never heard of it before it probably isn’t going to be good for your body.

There are also apps that you can use to scan items and it will tell you how toxic that item is, some of my favourites are

‘Think Dirty’ – for all things beauty, hygiene and cosmetic.

‘Yuka’ – for food and cosmetics (more for better health choices and nutrient dense foods, not the best for harmful food additives – but a good place to start)

Natural cleaning and body products are available, you can slowly swap these out when you finish the products you already have.

Supplements to help boost immunity:

During the months May – September you should supplement your body with the following:

  • Vitamin C
  • Turmeric / Curcumin
  • Zinc
  • Olive leaf extract
  • Echinacea
  • Fish Oil (or vegan substitutes)
  • ArmaForce (practitioner grade immune boosting supplement)  

Dosage may differ from person to person so enquire with a practitioner before supplementing.

Immunity Boosting tip #2

(Remove physical stress)

Maintaining physical health is so important when it comes avoiding and/or fighting off cold and flu symptoms. Now is the time to break habits and put in the hard work so you not only look good, but you feel good too. Here are some ways you can improve your physical health.

  • Exercise – 20 minutes of exercise daily is the minimum your body needs to refuel. Exercise promotes the flow of oxygen which naturally helps remove toxins from your body. Exercise promotes the production of endorphins released by the brain that make us feel good and plays a role in relaxation and sleep.

Getting in a 20-minute walk in the morning is also great for sun exposure where the UV is not too high or harmful, this will boost vitamin D levels (another vitamin that boost immunity) and help reset your circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle) if you are someone who struggles with sleep

  • Sleep – The recommended amount of sleep is about 8hrs, and more if you’re sick. Sleeping is where we do most of our healing, it’s your body’s natural way to recover and repair. You must not compromise on sleep and get as much as possible.
  • Technology – TV’s, phones and tablets should be switched off at least 1hr before bed. Too much exposure to blue light from devices can wind up your nervous system, increase stress, and disrupt your body’s natural sleep/wake cycle.
  • Treatment – Get regular Chiropractic adjustments – joint dysfunction creates nerve irritation that interferes with your body’s innate ability to heal itself. TCM also have very effective acupuncture points for the liver, spleen and gut that will assist in the removal of toxins and boosting the immune system. 

Immunity Boosting tip #3

(Remove emotional stress)

Your mindset and thoughts have a great influence on your body chemistry therefore can alter your overall health and immune function.

Stressful thought patterns release hormones such as cortisol and adrenalin into the body causing a “fight or flight” response.

Historically the “fight or flight” response was a survival mechanism that would switch on when you were confronted with something life-threatening (e.g. being chased by a Lion or a Bear). This response is temporary and should be switched off naturally by your body once the danger is gone, however in modern day society switching off this mechanism can be quite difficult.

When the “fight or flight” mechanism is switched on your blood flow and energy is redirected to your upper and lower limb muscles allowing you to run or to fight, this down regulates your immune system as well as other body functions such as digestion and reproduction. Here are some ways you can reduce emotional stress:

  • Meditation/ Yoga.
  • Deep breathing.
  • Remove yourself from stressful situations or deal with them when you are in a better headspace.
  • Learn how to say “no”
  • Reserve some time for yourself each day and do something you love, even if it’s just for 5 minutes
  • Journaling, positive affirmations or telling your partner/ house mate or friend 3 things you are grateful for each day.

Never underestimate the power of the mind and positive thinking