Obviously in the winter the immune system is something that is taxed more than other times of the year. Reasons like eating more sugary foods around the holidays, being stuck inside with more people, more stress, weather changes, lack of quality fruits and vegetables in the diet, etc.
What most people often don’t realize, including most MD’s is that our gut health is CRUCIAL to our immunity and therefore energy levels. I just read a great article discussing how science is finally discovering how closely related our gut health is to a properly functioning immune system. And now there are most tests and studies being conducted to test this theory. One shows how gut bacteria may influence various disease processes, while being involved with their beneficial role in digestion and metabolism. Diets high in fats and simple sugars can reshape the gut microbial community and predispose humans to obesity and other health problems related to it. Healthy gut microbes interact with immune cells to quiet an overactive immune system while others act on T-lymphocytes, and others serve as an important energy source for gut endothelial cells which enhance immunity. A well-known acid called ellagic acid, which is present in nuts and berries is metabolized by gut microbes to a compound that has been shown to reduce inflammation and protect against cancer. BUT…if these microbes are restructured and reshaped to be ineffective then they cannot protect against the viruses and illnesses that get us down this time of year. That is why it is important to know your body and what irritates your gut (which is why I had you eliminate possible food allergens this 21 days) and how it effects your overall energy systems, so you can work to heal your gut and therefore the rest of your body can heal. I believe in an inward to outward approach to healing. Often we just treat symptoms: low energy, reflux, bloating, constipation, migraines, etc. with medicines…instead of looking to the inside and what systems are involved in causing these symptoms and addressing those systems accordingly. It may take longer to diagnose and heal, but in the long run you will be healthier for it. When beginning this journey of healing, it is advisable to look at the gut (small/large intestine, liver, spleen) first. It is usually the common culprit for energy-depleting illnesses and symptoms.
Other recommended ways to treat and maintain a healthy immune system are: Vitamin C, Zinc, VItamin D3, Echinacea, Elderberry…but remember none of these forms of treatment are going to be effective if your gut is not digesting them properly.
And one more sidenote: most people begin having gut deterioration problems in their youth and symptoms finally begin to show themselves as an adult. Therefore it takes longer to heal years of deterioration and irritants. So be tuned in to how your kids react to certain foods as well. For kids most often food issues appear through skin rashes, moody behavior, anger, frustration, short-fuse, ADHD, inability to focus, etc.