With the passing of the 2020 holidays, it is now time to do our human hibernation. What is that, you say?
Unlike the animal kingdom, our winter solstice eating (i.e. holidays!) does not hold us over until spring. However, we can take a hint and use this time to re-group, imagine our next endeavors, visualize what they look like and strengthen our bodies…and in particular our immune system. Our immune systems should be a priority throughout the year; however, cold and flu season tend to be prevalent in the winter months and that is when we think about it. As you think about next endeavors…visualize making your immune system a priority starting in October.
Regardless, what are some of the things you can do now? My first recommendation is to work on the food you are eating. The best ways to get the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need is through the food that we eat as well as food we should be avoiding.
If this isn’t possible, then supplements might be of value to you. For me, I look for plant or food based supplements. I want to keep away from a chemical manufactured supplement that my body may not recognize and therefore, not be of any value except to the company I purchased it from.
Caution note: If you are on medication, you should check with your doctor before engaging in any supplemental menu. Some medications may have certain vitamins contraindicated and assumption of needs without a blood test is ill advised. Also, the RDA (required daily allowance) may vary with age.
In addition, some medications react to foods as well – garlic thins blood; grapefruit can interact with drug effectiveness, etc.
What are some of the vitamins and minerals you should look for in helping to support your immune system?
Note those in bold type are noted for fulfilling several needsZinc, Vitamins A, C, D. E, Selenium, Omega 3
What foods can help with providing these vitamins and minerals?
Vitamin A* – Dairy, Sweet Potato, Spinach, Carrots, Squash
Vitamin C – Citrus fruits, Red Bell Peppers, Kiwi, Broccoli, Spinach
Vitamin D* – Yogurt with “live and active cultures and wishful thinking… sunlight
Vitamin E* – Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, Avocados, Dark leafy greens, Red Bell Peppers, Peanuts
Zinc **- Oysters, Beef, Crab, Lobster, Chicken, Pumpkin Seeds
Selenium** – Seafood(crab, salmon, tuna, prawns). White meat and poultry (turkey and chicken),
Brown Rice, Lentils, Peas, Potatoes – only need small amounts of this trace mineral
Omega 3 **- Fish and other seafood (especially cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna,
herring, and sardines),Nuts and seeds (such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts),
Plant oils (such as flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil), Fortified foods (such as
certain brands of eggs, yogurt, juices, milk, soy beverages)
* These vitamins are fat soluble which means they are absorbed when there is fat present and they can be stored in the body; they will not be bio- available if fat not present. Hint: I keep slices of avocado in my freezer. When needed I thaw and chew a slice prior to taking this vitamin.
Foods to avoid: These may impact your immune system effectiveness.
Sugary foods, drinks
White flour products –breads, cakes,
Just because “hibernation” is mentioned in this blog, doesn’t mean you should avoid your exercise routine! Exercise is extremely important in keeping our immune system health. A 30 minute daily walk in the fresh air can help the winter blahs on several levels.
In the picture, Jill is waiting for her daily walk in the snow…time to go!