By Nicole Eckert, Holistic Nutritionist and Founder of Holisticole | Vibrant Wellness Collective
Seasonal transitions can make us vulnerable. While your body is equipped with this incredible ability to adapt to an ever changing environment, most of us already face an abundance of stressors in our daily life, and this change in seasons can be the final straw that leads to you feeling rundown.
In order to support your immunity + build your line of defense, it is ideal to take a holistic approach. This includes utilizing nutrient dense foods in our lifestyle, keeping hydrated, and practicing daily habits which support your body, and a healthy stress response.
Immune wellness is not as simple as popping a Vitamin C tablet and calling it your daily effort, there are many underlying factors which impact your level of wellness. Here is a 5-step holistic approach to immune health:
Eat Nutrient Dense Foods Everyday
Try to include at least two servings of colourful fresh vegetables in every meal. Reach for seasonal and nutritionally rich whole foods. Be inspired by your local farmers market and focus on eating with the seasons.
As we approach September, include pumpkins, winter squashes, dark leafy greens, and beets. You may find that you are naturally inclined to transition into warmer meals for fall/winter. Embrace this comfort, as warmer and heartier whole foods are supportive during a change in temperature. Now is an ideal time to start making soups and stews with bone broth if that is in your practice.
If you find it hard to get in your 5-10 daily servings of nutrient dense plant foods, a whole food greens supplement is a simple way to streamline your body with added vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. While a greens powder should not replace your intake of fibre rich plant foods, your body will thank you for your increased nutrient intake, which supports your immunity and stress response. You can also check out these Ninja Tips for Sneaking More Greens into Your Day.
Create A Bedtime Routine for Better Sleep
Sufficient sleep is an essential pillar for wellness. Every system in your body needs sleep, and your immunity may not be optimal without it. Your body needs at least 7-8 hours of high-quality sleep a night to regenerate. Our sleep tends to improve when it is consistent, so it may be beneficial to start setting a “go to bed” alarm as well as your normal good morning alarm. You can also promote deep and restorative rest with an adaptogenic supplement such as Reishi Defense. Some other actions in your bedtime routine may be avoiding screens 1-hour before bedtime, ensuring your body has had at least 4 hours to digest your final meal of the day, including a herbal tea, or adding some lavender oil to an essential oil diffuser.
Move Your Body
Exercise supports your body's ability to handle stress, which in turn supports healthy immunity, and also - better sleep! Listen to your body when it comes to exercise. If you dread your current workout routine or if you feel overly drained and fatigued after exercise, you may be over exerting yourself - in which case, your good intentions may be working against you. While it’s ok to throw in a challenging workout here and there, pushing yourself too hard on a regular basis can contribute to adrenal fatigue, decreased immunity, and a plateau in any aesthetic goals. Remember that there is no wrong way to move your body - going for a hike is one of the most natural ways for us to exercise, and it benefits more than just our physical health - we need vitamin Nature for our mental health too!
Superfoods for Immunity
Superfoods contain impressive key nutrients and a wide range of associated benefits. While you can find a variety of superfoods such as garlic, lemon, kale, wild blueberries, sustainable salmon, and broccoli at your local market - your local health food store will also have some impressive superfoods for immunity.
Black Seed Oil is an immune modulating superfood, and a master remedy with multi-faceted benefits so that you can do more, with less. This whole food supplement not only supports your immune system, but also balances your level of inflammation, promotes better digestion, decreases seasonal allergies, improves your mood, and can be used topically for inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Studies show that Black Seed Oil naturally increases t cells, and natural killer cells - which deactivate bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells.
Another remedy for your immune wellness kit is Black Oregano. This powerful two-in-one supplement combines pure Black Seed Oil and wild-crafted Oregano Oil with more than 80% carvacrol content. This formula also has added antioxidant powerhouses Vitamin A and Vitamin D to provide a one-two punch on immune system invaders - working to fight off colds, flus, allergies, sinus infections, bronchitis, coughs, and infections. Oregano has profound antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. It’s powerful enough to earn status as a natural antibiotic and is equipped to fight a variety of pathogens.
Be Kind to Yourself and Others
A holistic approach to wellness recognizes that your mental health can impact your physical health. It just so happens that immune health is largely predicated on mental health. Feeling depressed or anxious has been shown to predisposes you to inflammation and infection, and vice versa, having higher levels of inflammation increases your likelihood of being depressed. One of the best ways to keep your mind and emotions positive and healthy is through creating a positive and healthy mind.
List three things you're grateful for twice per day
Practice random acts of kindness daily
Reach out to a friend in need at least twice per week
These simple daily wellness tips are a holistic approach to immune wellness. Right now is the ideal time to prioritize your health and support your body's natural ability to manage stress and adapt to change.