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Simple Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System Naturally

As many of you know, I'm a former Exercise Physiologist and yoga teacher and mom and these roles have made me fiercely passionate about how miraculous our bodies are and how given the proper support, we can function optimally. I believe we can establish simple, beautiful habits daily to bolster our health and that your health care providers should offer advice on how to do so. The focus of conventional, western medicine is reactive ... wait until you are sick and then offer synthetic options to treat part of you. I believe in a holistic approach to wellness that is proactive and have found many solutions personally in the wisdom traditions like Ayurveda where the approach is to heal the whole individual with simple, natural approaches that connect us with nature and our own innate ability to heal. Can you imagine….What if doctors only got paid if you were healthy? This would be a complete overhaul and shift in our healthcare systems in Canada and I believe we may reach this vision one day. Today, I want to invite you to empower yourself with knowledge, skills, and a joyful community to take examine your habits and get off auto-pilot when it comes to the choices we make to live better. I believe simple shifts in daily habits done with awareness and levity can change a person and the ripple effect will change the world. As Marianne Williamson so aptly wrote,

"It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine,

we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are

liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I'd like to teach how you can simply take back responsibility for you own health and it really is your personal choice how you wish to resource yourself. I would describe my approach as a mindful blending of traditional and modern approaches.

What if you could help your entire being, mind - body - spirit, to not just survive, but thrive?

“A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking because it’s

trust is not in the branch but in it’s own wings.” - Ravi Kumar

Trust your wings, and let's dive in! I truly wish someone had had this conversation with me or even challenged my self-care habits when I was younger. My intention is that this approach and information saves you from a lot of pain, heartache, and offers hope for the future.

Examine each of these suggestions for what resonates with your heart first and let's get started!

Nourishment Everything we eat will either support our health or deter it. Our food is broken down into the building blocks for our cells. Vitamins and nutrients are crucial and if we aren’t getting the right foods and clean water daily, our health will deteriorate. Each generation of the expression of our cells is further and further replicated at a deficit. 80% of our food needs to come from proteins, fats, vegetables, and fruits. Complex carbohydrates (pastas, breads, baked goods, etc.) break down into sugars and add to our sugar tally so you have to be extremely mindful if you are relying on grains for a majority of your meals.

Please also try to eat as locally as you can and choose organic as often as possible.

I still have and just love a former cookbook series from the Australian Women's weekly and really appreciate this Wellness e-book from doTERRA Australia for it's beautiful and simple

recipes, tips, and suggestions for self-care practices to keep you nourished all season long.

Let me know which recipe you tried first!

Download PDF • 34.60MB

Supplementation Regardless of how clean and healthy our diet is, we will still be lacking vitamins and nutrients that are key to our body’s function. There are also some vitamins that we just can’t get from our food. The list of supplements we take daily are:

  • Life Long Vitality from doTERRA. This includes a cellular complex, fish oil, and multi-vitamin. This three pack of supplements supports almost every aspect of my health. These three offer all of the vitamins and nutrients I need to reach as close to my recommended daily allowance as I can get. They have been clinically proven to support your health in the areas of cardiovascular health, metabolic health, inflammation status, antioxidant status, energy level, immunity, and mood. (14)

  • Vitamin D. Truthfully, current recommendations for supplemental Vitamin D are too low. A 2017 study from Finland shows that we need to drastically increase our intake of Vitamin D. (15) Nutritionally, we only are meant to get about 20% of our vitamin D and that’s primarily from food sources people do not eat: wild eggs, quality fish, and non-pasteurized milk. 80% of our exposure should come from UV-B rays but we are taught to stay out of the sun and in Canada, we receive even less during the winter months. The study indicates that children can safely consume between 1000-3000 IU/day and adults can safely take upwards of 8000 IU/day.

  • I have also personally recently added zinc, vitamin C, additional Omega 3, and quercetin to our supplements.

  • Pre and Probiotics. Probiotics are designed to dose you with good gut bacteria and help replenish and restore your gut biome which is highly valuable to your overall health, including mental health. Anti-biotics can effect the body and mind for between 18 months to 2 years and if you've even been on anti-biotics, you have probably experienced this. Specific to current concerns, it has been shown that a variety of microbes help prevent against respiratory disease. (16) In our family, we also like to consume the occasional Cove Kombucha, love to add organic sauerkraut to meals, and make sure to keep fiber, color, and water high in our diet to keep the digestive system and gut working optimally.

Did you know there are more connections and signals running from the gut to the brain than vice-versa? This tells us that we collect vital information from the gut to inform the brain and so it is supremely important to address and support gut health when addressing overall health. In Ayurvedic medicine, all illness is treated as an imbalance so it seeks to heal and restore balance in the individual.

“Ayurveda possesses the longest clinical experience of any medical system

in the world, with a history of Ayurvedic hospitals and colleges going back

well over three thousand years. It has carefully examined every sort of disease

and life condition and their impact on health and wellbeing. It contains an

intricate and sophisticated system of anatomy and physiology as well as

an in-depth structure of psychology that understands the dynamics of

karma and consciousness.

Ayurveda is not just a system of medicine but a science of life-quality promotion

designed to optimize our wellbeing and happiness in all areas: physically, mentally,

emotionally and spiritually.” - David Frawley

Your brain-body connection is paramount in your overall health and the less stress on your nervous system, the less stress on your body as a whole, including your immune system (1).

Drink LOTS of water This is being shared widely and it has good merit. The more you flush your system with clean water, the better. When we are dehydrated, it leaves us more susceptible to germs. Water also helps bring oxygen to your cells which helps your entire body, including your immune system, function better. If you’re looking for ways to enjoy water more, try flavoring with essential oils! Avoid Sugar and Alcohol Sugar and alcohol depress immune system function. There are a lot of memes floating around that tell us to deal with the stress of illness by drowning our fears in wine and chocolate. My friends, don't do that. Many studies have linked high blood sugars to the destruction of your immune response to viruses and bacteria. (10, 11). Alcohol can trigger inflammation in the gut which kills off our healthy gut bacteria and decreases our immune response (12).

Movement & Metabolism Being active has been directly related to a stronger immune system. Moderate exercise has shown to have both a humoral and cellular response as well as protection for the upper respiratory system. (13) Get outside as much as possible and think about simple ways to add more activity to your day like taking the stairs, parking your car further away, or riding your bike to help save our planet. Think about ways to get into nature to get some fresh air, a change of scenery, and boost your natural vitamin D. Do something you love to move your body regularly and vary it up to avoid boredom and promote balance. Many people don't realize that one BIG benefit to activity is deeper, fuller breathing so if you yawn frequently or sigh often for no reason, consider adding a #mindful #breathing class like yoga into your repertoire. Aim for 30 minutes a day including daily stretching and weight-bearing activities to support muscular and joint health. Sleep When our body is #sleeping, it is a time for repair and renewal. Have you ever noticed when you’re sick, you feel tired and sleep more? Your body naturally knows what it needs to do to repair itself. According to the #Sleep and #Performance Research Center (17), when you sleep, your #immune system creates and releases cytokines, which are proteins designed to help with infection. When you are burning the candle at both ends and your body is lacking sleep, there is a decrease in cytokines and other antibodies. A quality night of sleep is directly correlated to higher T cells, important immune system cells that fight infection. Bottom line is that your body thrives on 7-8 hours of quality sleep at night. Did you know essential oils can help support your sleep too?

Essential Oils There are essential oils can be a simple, inexpensive, natural tool in your home that can support your immune system with their protective qualities. Oils like Oregano (2), #OnGuard (3,4), Manuka (5), Tea Tree (6), Eucalyptus (7), Clove (8), Rosemary (8), Cinnamon (9) and others. Understanding how to safely and effectively use essential oils is crucial and so if you are looking to add oils into your lifestyle, you can learn all about how to do that HERE with a special promocode for those new to our doTERRA community. There is a ton of great research to show the mental benefits of taking proactive steps and mastering our own health and we'll speak at length on this topic in a future post. While it may seem overwhelming at first, taking it one step at a time will make it more manageable. Each tip above, on it’s own, will make a difference in your health.

Finding a team of health care practitioners who support your beliefs when it comes to how you want to take care of your health. It would be prudent that any health care practitioner address the foundations of health as discussed above and who is open to listening to your concerns, health goals, and desired approach.

Choosing to take control of your health is a process and it’s a marathon, not a sprint. In fact, it’s a life long commitment. Shifting the choices you make daily means that cumulatively with consistently, you'll move forward in love for how you feel in your own skin. It doesn’t matter how old you are when you start. It does, however, matter that you do start.

The time is now.

Until next time, friends, keep smiling, hugging your neighbors and thank you for listening!

RESOURCES (1) WR Boone Ph.D., DC; Paul Oswald B.Sc.; Kelly Holt B.Sc.; Randy Beck Ph.D., DC.; Kanwal Singh MD; Andrew Ashton B.Sc. “Long Term Assessment of Blood Indices and Immune Panel Profiling of Subjects Receiving Chiropractic Care: A Pilot Study” Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research ~ June 7, 2006 ~ Pages 1-11 (2) D H Gilling 1, M Kitajima, J R Torrey, K R Bright “Antiviral efficacy and mechanisms of action of oregano essential oil and its primary component carvacrol against murine norovirus”. J Appl Microbiol. 2014 May;116(5):1149-63. (3) Shuhua Wu 1, Krupa B Patel, Leland J Booth, Jordan P Metcalf, Hsueh-Kung Lin, Wenxin Wu. Protective essential oil attenuates influenza virus infection: an in vitro study in MDCK cells. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010 Nov 15;10:69 (4) Han, X., Parker, T. L., & Dorsett, J. (2017). An essential oil blend significantly modulates immune responses and the cell cycle in human cell cultures. Cogent Biology, 3(1), 1340112. (5) Jürgen Reichling 1, Christine Koch, Elisabeth Stahl-Biskup, Cornelia Sojka, Paul Schnitzler“Virucidal activity of a beta-triketone-rich essential oil of Leptospermum scoparium (manuka oil) against HSV-1 and HSV-2 in cell culture”. Planta Med. 2005 Dec;71(12):1123-7. (6) Akram Astani 1, Jürgen Reichling, Paul Schnitzler “Comparative study on the antiviral activity of selected monoterpenes derived from essential oils” Phytother Res. 2010 May;24(5):673-9. (7) Angela E Sadlon 1, Davis W Lamson ”Immune-modifying and antimicrobial effects of Eucalyptus oil and simple inhalation devices” Altern Med Rev.2010 Apr;15(1):33-47. (8) Y. Fu et al., “Antimicrobial activity of clove and rosemary essential oils alone and in combination,” Phytother. Res. PTR, vol. 21, no. 10, pp. 989–994, Oct. 2007. (9) S. F. Nabavi, A. Di Lorenzo, M. Izadi, E. Sobarzo-Sánchez, M. Daglia, and S. M. Nabavi, “Antibacterial Effects of Cinnamon: From Farm to Food, Cosmetic and Pharmaceutical Industries,” Nutrients, vol. 7, no. 9, pp. 7729–7748, Sep. 2015. (10) Shichao Yu 1, Gaoqun Zhang 1, Li Hua Jin 2, “A high-sugar diet affects cellular and humoral immune responses in Drosophila.” Exp Cell Res 2018 Jul 15;368(2):215-224. (11) Janna G. Kiselar, Xiaowei Wang, George R. Dubyak, Caroline El Sanadi, Santosh K. Ghosh, Kathleen Lundberg, Wesley M. Williams.”Modification of β-Defensin-2 by Dicarbonyls Methylglyoxal and Glyoxal Inhibits Antibacterial and Chemotactic Function In Vitro.” PLOS ONE, 2015; 10 (8): e0130533 (12) Dipak Sarkar, Ph.D., D.Phil., M. Katherine Jung, Ph.D., and H. Joe Wang, Ph.D. “Alcohol and the Immune System”. Alcohol Res. 2015; 37(2): 153–155 (13) A Jeurissen 1, X Bossuyt, J L Ceuppens, P Hespel “The effects of physical exercise on the immune system” Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd .2003 Jul 12;147(28):1347-51. (14) (15) Dimitrios T. Papadimitriou, “the Big Vitamin D Mistake”, J Prev Med Public Health. 2017 Jul; 50(4): 278–281 (16) (17)

(18) Frawley, David. Ayurvedic Healing: A Comprehensive Guide. 1989

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