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SUPPORTING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

Updated: Mar 29, 2020



As the nights get longer and the temperature drops our immune systems may need an extra boost. Here are some great tips to support a healthy immune system for moms to be and their families.

HAND HYGIENE

One of the main ways to avoid catching the flu is through the exercise of good personal hygiene. Hand hygiene – washing with soap and water . Wash your hands frequently when you are out.  Avoid touching your face – this welcomes germs that are on your hands into your body. If you are out and around sick people, consider taking a quick shower and changing clothes when you return home, particularly if you have been in a germ-ridden place like a doctor’s office or pharmacy. Make sure the kids change clothes and thoroughly wash their hands when they return home from school. And of course wash your hands after using the bathroom and before preparing or eating food. 

HERBAL HELPERS

Several herbal medicines and supplements are safe for use in pregnancy and can also boost your immune system. Elderberry syrup can be taken daily;Zinc tablets; Echinacea is an herbalist’s favorite for preventing upper respiratory infections and has demonstrated safety during pregnancy. Spice up your foods with:  Cayenne powder – Antimicrobial, analgesic, and expectorant. Garlic – Antiviral, antibiotic, and antiseptic. Ginger – Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. Good for upset tummy. Thyme – Antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, expectorant, and astringent. Great for respiratory infections, coughs, and upset tummy. Cinnamon – Antiviral, and antibiotic.

ESENTIAL OILS

Essential oils of Eucalyptus and Frankincense are excellent options for a steamy shower. Put a few drops of each into a small bowl in the corner of your shower and breathe deep. Lemon clears your nasal passages and allows for steady breathing. Lavender relieves stress, fatigue, depression, and headaches. Thyme has antibacterial activity to help fight respiratory infections. Eucalyptus reduces fevers and fights viruses. Tea tree oil inhibits bacteria and fights infections. Chamomile relieves cold and flu symptoms. Clove (eugenol) has antiviral and antifungal properties to clean surfaces or air. Cinnamon can clean surfaces or air. Rosemary is a nontoxic way to clean surfaces or air

NOURSIHING FOODS

A healthy diet and minimizing stress go a long way to preventing illness and supporting resilience.  Garlic and ginger, also safe in pregnancy, make good daily additions to the diet, and yellow and orange vegetables such as winter squashes and sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A which helps to keep the respiratory passage tissue healthy and optimize its immune functions. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables (preferably organic and pesticide free). Avoid or limit processed foods.  Add these healthy foods to your list…Honey – Raw, local honey is antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiseptic. Onion – Raw onion has phytochemicals that help keep the respiratory tract open. Lemon – Antibacterial. Also helps alkalinize the body. Rich in vitamin C. Asian Mushrooms (maitake, shitake, reishi) – Antibacterial and antiviral. Coconut oil – Antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal. Blueberries – High in natural aspirin, can help lower fevers and relieve aches and pains. Bone broth is rich in minerals and is one of the most beneficial foods to consume to restore gut health and support immune function

VITAMINS and MINERALS

Vitamin D3 supplementation has been found to have a strong correlation to the strength of immune system function, Take at least 3000 IUs of Vitamin D3 daily. You can get tested for your Vitamin D3 levels either through ordering tests online or through your Doctor or Naturopath. Take a high quality, organic multi-vitamin. Take probiotics daily. Probiotic bacteria can also be consumed through cultured dairy products such as yogurt and fermented foods such as sauerkraut. 

HOLISTIC HEALING

Be proactive. regular chiropratic care can help keep your body at it's best to fight off dis-ease. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture can be effective at treating and preventing illness. Naturopaths promote better health and individualized care.

LIMIT OR CUT OUT

In addition to limiting or eliminating sugars, eliminate or limit dairy, starches, and processed grains. Don’t smoke and/or avoid second hand smoke – this weakens your resistance against respiratory illnesses and worsens the effect on your body if you do become ill. Avoid in pregnancy and  limit while breastfeeding alcoholic beverages.

RESIST DIS-EASE

Get 7-9 hours of sleep per day – a tired body has a weaker immunity against viruses. getting moderate exercise and maintain a generally adventuresome, positive outlook on life may go a long way toward keeping our resistance to illness strong. Stress can decrease your bodies ability to fight off illness.  If a fever is illness related, allowing fevers to develop is healthy. It helps your immune system to recognize and respond to viruses and strengthens its ability to respond appropriately.  Try to wait before using natural or medical means to reduce it. See your care-provider if it gets to over 101F. Make sure to stay hydrated.

Refrences: www.mountainmidwifery.com,www.healthline.com,www.avivaromm.com,www.midwiferytoday.com, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, The Natural Pregnancy Book by Aviva Romm,MD, Mother Food by Hilary Jacobson

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