Tips for Optimizing Immunity in the Autumn
Immunity is a working relationship between you and the environment and the community of living organisms around you. It is an organic relationship that you build upon with each day and life event. Read on to get focused on optimizing your immunity.
The first step to improving immunity is a clean-up. I’m a big fan of hygiene for optimizing immunity, both inside and out! Along with regular hand-washing and keeping household surfaces clean, I like to “take out the body garbage” with a cleanse. This addresses any current congestion issues and allows me to be ready for any stressors. Autumn is colon and lung healing season. Colon Hydrotherapy and visceral massage are powerful tools for toning these organs. Breath work and chanting allow for direct strengthening and cleansing of the lungs. An organized detox program is another way to effectively bolster the system and improve “resistance.”
There are natural elements that are essential to enhancing life force energy: oxygen, water, sunlight, and mineral-rich food. These are “non-negotiable’s.” Harvest time nutrition is a great gift from Mother Nature that strengthens us before the winter. The farmers markets are overflowing with high mineral content food and healthy community vibes. Nutrition classes can improve our understanding of how to use food as medicine and address chronic, weakening issues that leave us susceptible to illness. Gut Restoration can rebuild immunity from the inside out by helping your body fight off ingested microbes and reducing systemic inflammation.
Then, there are “Mother Nature’s boosters.” These are some of my favorite natural supplements for the fall season in preparation for the winter.
1. Probiotics. These are the smallest but some of the most important members of our internal community. These microorganisms are on the frontlines of interaction for us and busy establishing dominant populations. I like to introduce new life into these colonies on a regular basis. I begin each season by adding new troops of healthy bacteria to my guts. This is particularly helpful after the summer due to all the high sugar content foods, including fruits and ice cream! Yeast organisms like to settle in during this time and create a lot of bloating. If this isn’t dealt with early then the heavier foods of winter can make this situation a lot worse. Lastly, probiotics can be effectively used to reduce seasonal allergies and food sensitivities.
2. Nettle and Astragulus tea. These are the perfect plant allies for preventing fatigue-related illnesses in the early fall. The daily ritual of tea is the most balancing aspect of this tool. These herbs can be used in raw form as the tea or added to other teas in tonic form. See Tummy Temple Registerd Dietitian and Kitchen Goddess, Heidi Ochsner, MS RD, perform the ritual of making Nettle tea here.
3. Vitamin D. Even though the sun has been out a lot in the past several weeks, most of us are still deficient in Vitamin D. The truth is that unless you are showing over 30% of your body to the sun’s rays at least 25 minutes a day, then you are likely low in Vitamin D. Unfortunately, most of us here in the NW aren’t taking such an exposed sun bath on a regular basis, even in the summer. We suggest having your Vitamin D levels checked and staying up on your body’s stores of this very important, immune enhancing vitamin.
4. Elderberry syrup. Concentrated, no sugar added formulas are best and available at most natural markets. This is a tasty way to enhance the antioxidant supply in your body which can improve natural resistance. I also find the syrup soothing for my throat; a great thing to emphasize at the beginning of sore throat season.
This is also the time to create more structure and rest in your life. Allow the mind/body/spirit to fall into rhythm with nature. Good self-care practices are the foundation of the wellness model, and Fall is a natural time in our culture to get organized. Developing and sustaining good habits is easier when everyone else is also doing it, too. This is my favorite example of true “herd immunity;” people supporting each other in healthy practices! This is one of the draws towards group cleansing practices as well.
Get inspired. The mere thought of the word lifts not only the spirit, it ignites the organizing principles of the body. An inspired person experiences more oxygen flow as the breath is opened up. Life force energy flows better and blockages are diminished. Depression and anxiety can bring on illness as they suppress the body’s immune function and drain vital energy. Find something that opens your heart and fills your mind with uplifting content that is meaningful to you and your purpose.
These are some basics that when implemented create a strong body, mind and spirit. Immunity is a reflection of that. Everyone has vulnerable aspects to their health, and we can improve our ability to bounce back quickly. Engaging our bodies in a loving, supportive way can even help us resist illness, reduce its severity and provide “chicken soup for the soul.”
Viva Le Resistance!
Kristi Zimmer, LMP
Co-Owner of Tummy Temple