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Keep Well in the Winter #1 – The Foundation

Oct 9, 2022 | Herbalism Blog

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is consistently beneficial. However, as the days shorten and temperatures drop, understanding how to support a robust immune system in winter is imperative.

While some believe that immune-supporting herbs provide sufficient coverage, the reality is that optimal immune function is more about actions than supplements.

The list of lifestyle choices conducive to winter wellness may not be surprising, but it serves as a valuable reminder.

How to support a robust immune system in winter?

Food:

Eating a nutrient-dense diet is very important in the winter as in any other season. A couple of micronutrients are essential for a robust immune system:

Zinc

Maintaining the integrity of the physical barrier component of the immune system (skin, connective tissue, and mucus) and developing innate immune cells like neutrophils and natural killer cells are crucial functions of zinc.

Oysters, meats, legumes, and seeds, including pumpkin, squash, and sesame seeds, are rich sources of zinc.

Vitamin A – 

Vitamin A is pivotal in forming mucus, a crucial component of the physical barrier that prevents pathogens from entering the body.

It enhances immune function by promoting the maturation of cells in the adaptive immune system, likened to the SEALs of the immune system—highly trained and specialized immune cells.

Fruits and vegetables with yellow, orange, and red hues, such as peppers, carrots, apricots, and sweet potatoes, are rich sources of vitamin A.

Vitamin C – 

Vitamin C actively stimulates the formation of antibodies and the production, function, and movement of white blood cells.

While it may not prevent catching a cold, vitamin C can potentially shorten the duration of common cold symptoms.

Rich sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, and grapes.

Vitamin E – 

Vitamin E actively serves as an antioxidant, safeguarding the cell membrane from free radicals. It also enhances the production of innate immune cells, thereby bolstering the body’s resistance to infectious diseases.

Rich sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils like olive oil and coconut oil, as well as nuts and seeds.

Selenium –

Maintaining sufficient levels of selenium is crucial not only for initiating immunity but also for regulating excessive immune responses and chronic inflammation.

Just two brazil nuts can supply your daily selenium requirement. Additionally, selenium is present in seafood and organ meats.

Ensuring a diverse diet is essential for keeping your immune system in optimal condition. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts, as supplements are not absorbed by the body in the same way as minerals and vitamins that naturally occur in food.

Hydration

Water is vital for the immune system for two key reasons:

  1. The immune system’s initial defense, the mucus (alongside the skin), is composed of water and salts. Insufficient hydration leads to dry mucus, diminishing its sticky consistency and impairing its ability to trap pathogens.
  2. The immune system relies heavily on the nutrients and oxygen carried by the blood. Immune cells, crucial for defense, are transported throughout the body by the blood, which is predominantly composed of water. Thus, dehydration compromises the blood’s ability to effectively transport essential elements for immune function.

Sleep

Did you know that while you are asleep, your immune system rev up the production of adaptive immune cells? Studies showed that people who do not get enough sleep are more prone to colds and flu. The recovery period of people who do not get 7-9 hours of undisturbed sleep at night is prolonged. 

In the winter it is important to create time for rest on top of your nightly sleeping time. The body needs to produce more energy to keep you warm. In many traditions around the world, winter was time of slowing down, reflecting, and creating intentions for the year to come.

 

Sun exposure

Exposure to the sun is the only way for your body to synthesize vitamin D. People with lower vitamin D are more likely to get a cold. Vitamin D was also found to reduce the severity of the symptoms and the duration of colds. 

During the last two years, I talked to everyone willing to hear me about the importance of vitamin D to immunity. I recommend everybody supplement with vitamin D.

But as always, the body is much more complex than we think. A recent study found that high vitamin D in the blood due to supplementation was not associated with reduced chances of “catching” COVID or colds.

There is much more to exposure to all the spectrum of sunlight than just the synthesis of vitamin D. 

 

Exercise

Exercise can improve your immune function in three ways:

  • Exercise stimulates blood flow, thus increasing the circulation of immune cells.
  • Exercise is associated with good sleep. 
  • Exercise decreases stress.

Reduce Stress

Feelings of stress and social isolation significantly impact the immune system, acting as major immune suppressors.

In times of stress, the body prioritizes survival, directing resources to the senses for heightened alertness and the muscles for the fight or flight response. Consequently, blood flow to the digestion, elimination, reproductive system, and immune system is diminished. In the face of immediate threats, such as a saber-toothed cat chasing you, the body devalues functions like immune response.

A study found that psychological stress increases the susceptibility of the body to develop colds and infectious diseases. 

[Our bodies] are not distinct from the bodies of plants and animals, with which we are involved in the cycles of feeding and the intricate companionships of ecological systems and of the spirit. They are not distinct from the Earth, the sun and moon, and the other heavenly bodies. It is therefore absurd to approach the subject of health piecemeal with a departmentalized band of specialists. A medical doctor uninterested in nutrition, agriculture, and the wholesomeness of mind and spirit is as absurd as a farmer who is uninterested in health. Our fragmentation of this subject cannot be our cure, because it is our disease.

~Wendell Berry, Unsettling of America

Like all beings on the Earth, life full of purpose and meaning is essential for a robust immune system.

When it comes to well-being, we now know that a sense of community and caring for other beings, be it humans, animals, or plants, is a great immune booster associated with longevity. 

To learn more (So much more) about staying well with food and lifestyle join;

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Love, Lior

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Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.

Keep Well in the Winter #1 – The Foundation

Oct 9, 2022 | Herbalism Blog

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Feeling inspired? Want more?

Continue your learning by joining the Bee Fields Farm newsletter and gain access to exclusive content that is sure to nourish your mind, body, and soul.

Example topics include:

  • seasonal recipes
  • how-to’s
  • tips & tricks
  • farm & community updates
  • upcoming programs
  • and so much more…

ENROLL TODAY

Together we’ll transform your health and reach new levels of vibrancy at any age.

Love, Lior

Pencil drawing of bee to separate text

Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.

Keep Well in the Winter #1 – The Foundation

Oct 9, 2022 | Herbalism Blog

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Feeling inspired? Want more?

Continue your learning by joining the Bee Fields Farm newsletter and gain access to exclusive content that is sure to nourish your mind, body, and soul.

Example topics include:

  • seasonal recipes
  • how-to’s
  • tips & tricks
  • farm & community updates
  • upcoming programs
  • and so much more…

ENROLL TODAY

Together we’ll transform your health and reach new levels of vibrancy at any age.

Love, Lior

Pencil drawing of bee to separate text

Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.

Keep Well in the Winter #1 – The Foundation

Oct 9, 2022 | Herbalism Blog

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Feeling inspired? Want more?

Continue your learning by joining the Bee Fields Farm newsletter and gain access to exclusive content that is sure to nourish your mind, body, and soul.

Example topics include:

  • seasonal recipes
  • how-to’s
  • tips & tricks
  • farm & community updates
  • upcoming programs
  • and so much more…

ENROLL TODAY

Together we’ll transform your health and reach new levels of vibrancy at any age.

Love, Lior

Pencil drawing of bee to separate text

Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.

Keep Well in the Winter #1 – The Foundation

Oct 9, 2022 | Herbalism Blog

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Feeling inspired? Want more?

Continue your learning by joining the Bee Fields Farm newsletter and gain access to exclusive content that is sure to nourish your mind, body, and soul.

Example topics include:

  • seasonal recipes
  • how-to’s
  • tips & tricks
  • farm & community updates
  • upcoming programs
  • and so much more…

ENROLL TODAY

Together we’ll transform your health and reach new levels of vibrancy at any age.

Love, Lior

Pencil drawing of bee to separate text

Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.

Keep Well in the Winter #1 – The Foundation

Oct 9, 2022 | Herbalism Blog

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Feeling inspired? Want more?

Continue your learning by joining the Bee Fields Farm newsletter and gain access to exclusive content that is sure to nourish your mind, body, and soul.

Example topics include:

  • seasonal recipes
  • how-to’s
  • tips & tricks
  • farm & community updates
  • upcoming programs
  • and so much more…

ENROLL TODAY

Together we’ll transform your health and reach new levels of vibrancy at any age.

Love, Lior

Pencil drawing of bee to separate text

Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.

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