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Immune boosting tips

by Stacey Kaplan LAc, LMT

Cold and flu season is once again upon us. Though it's impossible to avoid being exposed to viruses and bacteria, there are steps we can take to boost our immune system so we are less susceptible to what's out there. These can also help minimize the severity of the colds we do get.

The man is not sick because he has an illness; he has an illness because he is sick. This is an old Chinese proverb that highlights the importance of keeping ourselves healthy in order to stave off illness. If we can keep our immune system functioning optimally and stress levels down, we can shift our focus from fighting off disease to staying healthy.

Here are a few simple, essential immune system boosting tips:  

Cook with garlic in every meal.
Powerfully antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, anti-parasitic and immune-stimulating, garlic is a strong defense against colds and flus.
Use garlic in every meal you cook.

Have a teaspoon of wildflower honey everyday.
Honey has numerous health benefits including antibiotic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, expectorant and immune stimulating properties and is exceptionally effective with respiratory conditions. Chose a local, natural wildflower honey instead of clover or alfalfa honey to get true medicinal benefits.
Have a teaspoon of honey by itself or put it in your tea.

Eat ginger everyday.
Ginger is antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, warming and can ease digestive discomfort. Incorporate ginger in your cooking, as a tea, with your sushi or however you like it.
I like Fresh Ginger Tea: A couple slices of peeled fresh ginger, lemon and honey in hot water.

Get lots of sleep.
During cold and flu season, our bodies are working overtime to fight off illness. Give your system the time it needs to recoup and restore its defenses so you can continue to ward off colds and flu everyday.

Use a humidifier at night.
Humidifiers can help soothe dryness, irritation and itchiness in the nose, nasal passages, sinuses, mouth, throat, eyes and skin.

Use a Neti pot daily.
Nasal irrigation helps flush out irritants in your sinuses before they have time to build up and cause infection. Saline solution, used in the Net pot, can help increase the speed and improve coordination of the cilia (which move mucous along smoothly) so they can more effectively remove allergens and irritants form your sinuses. Only use previously boiled and cooled water or distilled water in your Neti pot.

Get regular bodywork.

Stimulation of the skin and outer surface of your body helps boost your immune system. Ask me when I see you next about a simple health cultivating series of movements, called Dao Yin, that you can do everyday to keep your Qi moving smoothly and correctly.