Dr. Alison shares how to support your immune system naturally, from food, supplements, to lifestyle and more!
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Is your immune system ready for winter?
This month in my Facebook community our theme is ‘brace yourself, winter is coming’ because we need to start preparing now for the next few months. So make sure to join us, I will be going live a few times a week and have lots of info for you on wellness, cooking, how to manage parties, all of the winter things.
Story: As we are heading into the fall, kids are coming home from school with new friends and new germs, you might feel like you are getting sick all of the time. And of course now the big worry is wondering if you have allergies, a cold or if it is the pandemic cold. My son started school this year and immediately was home because he was throwing up at school, then had to stay home, then doing the same thing over and over. He is finally better but it took some work!
My favorite foods for the winter for the immune system are gut focused. We want to protect that first line of defense, which is the lining of our gut, the Secretory IgA, and how our immune system interacts with what we bring in.
First, I love to add in bone broth because of the collagen. Collagen is a great support for the lining of the gut and I also use this for eczema support. You can drink this warm like coffee in the morning, add it to soups.
Root vegetables like sweet potatoes, onions, shallots, and yams are great as well. Because of their high levels of carotenoids, beta carotene, and vitamins a and c, they are great immune support.
With your cooking, adding in basic support herbs and spices like ginger and oregano can be helpful too. Basically, this is the best time for soups, chilli, and good warm foods.
I always like to start off with a probiotic for immune health because they help reduce inflammation, support the gut lining, and support the immunoglobulin cells. The key with probiotics is that you want a good variety of strains, not just the one with the highest count. I love doTERRA’s PB Assist, and Seeking health’s Probiota HistaminX for people who have histamine intolerance or SIBO and don’t handle probiotics well.
Vitamin D is another must have supplement. It is best to get your levels tested before and after the summer to see how much your body is getting naturally from the sun and if there is any blockage to why you aren’t making and using vitamin D. Many people whose levels are still low despite taking vitamin D might have gut health issues, thyroid complications, or a nutritional deficiency. Make sure that your vitamin D also has K2 to increase your absorption.
Zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin A are all really important as well. Now, we can list every single vitamin and mineral and talk about how great they are, so don’t fall into the trap of buying every supplement, because everything really is important. But for immune support, especially if you are going to be traveling, going through a stressful time, or around a lot of new people, adding these things in can be helpful.
I would say lifestyle is the most important factor in your immune health. Washing your hands consistently, not touching your face or eyes, staying home when you are sick, are all very important.
Not drinking alcohol would be my #1 recommendation. Alcohol reduces your ability to fight infections, it reduces your immune system, destroys your gut lining and bacteria. Stick to drinking only at special events if you have to, don’t drink every single day, and if you do need help reducing your intake find professional help with a therapist. They can help you manage stress without negative risks with drinking, drugs, or overeating.
Sleep is my next main priority. Research shows those who get less than 6 hours of sleep have a reduced ability to fight infections. Practice good night time rituals like keeping your room cooler, sleeping in the dark, put your phone away from your bed so you aren’t distracted. Turn off the TV and stop scrolling through social media.
There are so many good things to do with your lifestyle, but my last one for today would be to exercise. Exercise improves your brain health and sleep, helps your heart health, and boosts your immune system. The minimum is 20 minutes a day of focused exercise. Focused meaning all at one time and to increase your heart rate. You can absolutely find what works for you, it might be walking, running, weight lifting, following a DVD or youtube. But get your heart rate up for at least 20 minutes a day.
4: essential oils
I love using essential oils for daily support for my immune system but also my whole health. Oils are so versatile that one oil can help your body in multiple ways!
My go to is always Copaiba because it is amazing for immune support but also brain health, stress, anxiety, sleep, muscle pain, and so much more. I use two drops a day under my tongue or rub some on my feet at night. I do the same with frankincense.
We also have the On Guard blend and line that covers all that you need. I like to diffuse on guard during the day, we use the hand soaps and sanitizing mist, and now we have the On Guard chewable tablets with beta-glucan, C, D, Zinc, and the oils which has been great for our whole family.
The other oils we use every week is actually the Aromatouch Technique. This has 8 oils in the kit and we just apply 1-2 drops on the back and dilute with fractionated coconut oil. The oils in the kit are specifically designed to support health inflammation responses, supports the immune system, relaxes the nervous system, and has such a great calming effect. This is the kit I used daily when I was in the hospital too!
We have a lot of options for supporting our immune system, but the main key is taking care of yourself on a daily basis. Lifestyle and nutrition will always be your best support, so please put yourself and your health first! Thank you for tuning in today, make sure to like and subscribe so you stay up to date with all of my weekly podcasts, and join my free Facebook community so you can be ready for winter with us!