2020 has been a year where we’ve had to live in discomfort in the face of so much uncertainty. Through my own health struggles, I have learned in these uncertain times where there are so many grey areas is where you can either live in fear or choose to take control by facing the discomfort head on. I always try to see a silver lining in an otherwise “negative” situations. In this period when we finally have time, it’s time to take an interest in our own functioning, claim our personal power, and take control of our health and our future.
Over the years we have been so accustomed to the conventional way of thinking that we often forget one extremely important thing: we have our own innate immune system that has the power to overcome any disease given the right stimuli. As we head into the colder months and flu season I would like to share with you some effective ways to strengthen your immune system.
Here are some ways that we can support our mental and emotional health, which is so important as the emotional/mental component has a direct impact on the physical body.
1. Detox your mind by using some of these ideas:
• Practice mindfulness through meditation and deep breathing/visualization exercises using soothing music of your choice.
• Keep your body moving and your mind still. This could be through yoga or any other activity that your body responds well to.
• Ground yourself. Get out in nature for a walk with your dog, a hike, finding a spot amongst the trees or on the water and practice being in the present.
• Limit your screen time, especially before bedtime.
• Distance yourself from negativity as much as possible, whether that comes in the form of people, places or even your own negative self-talk.
2. Shift your perspective. When we feel ourselves getting pulled in by the negativity and heaviness of the world, a simple shift of perspective can determine our reality and completely change our mood. There is almost always a silver lining in any given situation, it is about being willing to find it.
3. Have a laugh! Laughter truly is the best medicine, so find ways to get that good ol’ deep belly laugh in.
4. Essential oils. The use of essential oils can have a significant impact in balancing our mind, and we carry a variety of Co-op Gold PURE essential oils in the Health & Wellness sections at Red River Co-op food stores in Grant Park, Southdale and St Vital.
A strong immune system is not just about boosting or stimulating (avoiding under or overreaction), but rather modulating and balancing your system. So far, I have touched on ways to support your emotional/mental health, here are some ways we can support our immune system on a physical level.
1. Diet: Avoid inflammatory foods which include; refined sugars, processed foods, dairy and gluten. Add more organic foods, greens, and good fats. Use food as medicine and to fuel your body!
2. Detox: Reducing our toxin load is crucial in maintaining a healthy functioning immune system here are some ways that we can support our bodies detox system:
• Increasing our water intake (add a fresh squeeze of lemon!)
• Maintaining a healthy PH level by eating an alkalized diet. Eg. Prairie Naturals “Morning Rise and Shine” and make sure you’re getting your greens in!
• Taking herbs that support the liver. Eg. Milk thistle
• Sweating it out! Either by exercise or using an infrared sauna.
• Supporting our lymph system which is the second part of our circulatory system with the use of herbs, rebounding, dry skin brushing or gentle manipulation.
3. Hydrotherapy (also known as the water cure). Contrast therapy is a quick easy technique you can do at home that is beneficial for enhancing the immune system by alternating with hot and cold temperatures while showering in order to alter blood flow.
4. The use of Supplementation that will reduce inflammation and modulate your immune system:
• Functional Mushrooms: The use of functional mushrooms have become a popular as they have an immunomodulation effect on our immune cells. The use of Reishi, Cordyceps, Lions mane, Chaga all have amazing unique healing properties. My favorite way to incorporate mushrooms into my health regime is by adding them to my morning cup of Joe! Purica has an amazing spectrum of mushrooms that can suit your needs!
• Improving gut health and digestion: diet, probiotics, cleanses and bone broth. We carry two local delicious brands in our Health & Wellness sections (Gold Bone Broth and Bones & Marrow)
• Supporting Adrenals: It is crucial to support our adrenals in amidst of stress, we can do this simply through diet, adaptogens and adrenal tonics etc (St. Francis Herb Farm has some fantastic options for this).
• Antimicrobials: The use of antimicrobials to help protect the immune system from invaders is imperative particularly in times like these. Some powerful Antimicrobials are:
-Manuka Honey (Proven to be stronger than any antibiotics)
• Vit D3 (particularly In the winter months), Probiotics, Omega 3 are all essential for a healthy functioning immune system.
The ways in which you can protect your immune system are endless. A health regime is never a one size fits all and should always be customized to assist you in meeting your own personalized health goals and needs. At Red River Co-op, I offer a FREE complimentary 15-minute consult as we’d love to be a part of your health journey!
You can find the consult forms by following this link: https://www.redriverco-op.crs/sites/redriver/local/detail/health-wellness-private-consults and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time that works for you!
-Dayna Woods, Health & Wellness Advisor