The Be Well Center - I Bar Wellness Blog - Building Immunity for A Healthy Fall & Winter

Building Immunity for A Healthy Fall & Winter

Interested in staying well through the Fall and Winter season?  Respiratory illnesses are the result of a weakened immune system and unresolved emotions.  Here are few tips to support you in having a well fall and winter.

1. Start with your thoughts

Our thoughts are the basis of all our experiences, including our health. The foundation of remaining well and creating wellness is in knowing that in your essence you are well, regardless of any current experience with illness.

All experiences are temporary states that can change just as quickly as you are willing to change your mind and stop identifying with that experience.

Tip: Focus all of your attention on all the wellness you are experiencing, in this moment. 

2. Learn the Energetic Cause of Your Illness

Each illness is associated with an emotional issue that is unresolved.  Clearing the unresolved emotions will promote healing.

For example, upper respiratory syndromes are associated with being judgmental, critical, confused, indecisiveness or failing to express one’s self creatively or effectively (to name a few of the issues).

Tip: Go within and observe your behavior in the weeks and days preceding your illness.   Notice the emotion that you held that is/was out of accord with wellness.  Choose differently moving forward, and release the emotion.

3. Maintain a Healthy Gut

70% of our immune system resides in our Gastrointestinal Tract.  Therefore, to have a healthy fall & winter, it is important to maintain a healthy gut. 

For a healthy gut, we must maintain a healthy balance of friendly microflora (bacteria and yeast).  These friendly microflora help prevent the growth of unhealthy bacteria that are associated with illness or decreased immunity.

Tips: Eat a diet rich in vegetables, whole grains and fiber.  Enjoy fermented foods to restore the healthy microflora in your gut, including yogurt, sauerkraut, and fermented soy/bean curd.

An Integrative Physician can assess your stool and support you in maintaining or restoring gut health.

4. Know & Optimize Your Vitamin D Level

Vitamin D is important in building and maintaining a healthy immune system.

General Guidelines for Vitamin D Levels:

<10 ng/ml- severely deficient <30 ng/ml- deficient 30-50 ng/ml- suboptimal levels 50-80 ng/ml- optimal levels

Vitamin D Supplementation is particularly important in people living in the Northern latitudes and in people with dark skin from October to May.  80-90% of Vitamin D results from sun exposure.

5. Support Your Adrenals

Chronic unchecked stress weakens your immune system leading to increased disease, including respiratory infections.

Your adrenal glands are the organs that secrete stress hormones with stressful events.  Prolonged secretion of these hormones weakens your immune system (as well as your heart and other vital organs).

To help restore or balance your adrenals engage in regular:

Meditation Gratitude Walks Daily Exposure to Sunlight Laughing Journaling Exercise Healthy Eating Conscious Deep Breathing Enjoying Hobbies Developing Healing, Loving Relationships Giving

You can have your adrenal health assessed with a salivary test to optimize their function and your overall health.

6. Eat an Anti-oxidant Rich Diet

Antioxidants are another essential element in building a healthy immune system.

Below is a ranking of Top 20 Antioxidant Rich Foods (June 2004 edition of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry):

Rank Food Serving Size Antioxidant Capacity per Serving
1 Small red beans, dried 1/2 cup 13727
2 Wild blueberries 1 cup 13427
3 Red kidney beans, dried 1/2 cup 13259
4 Pinto beans 1/2 cup 11864
5 Blueberries, cultivated 1 cup 9019
6 Cranberries 1 cup 8983
7 Artichoke hearts, cooked 1 cup 7904
8 Blackberries 1 cup 7701
9 Dried prunes 1/2 cup 7291
10 Raspberries 1 cup 6058
11 Strawberries 1 cup 5938
12 Red delicious apple One 5900
13 Granny Smith apple One 5381
14 Pecans 1 ounce 5095
15 Sweet cherries 1 cup 4873
16 Black plum One 4844
17 Russet potato, cooked One 4649
18 Black beans 1/2 cup 4181
19 Plum One 4118
20 Gala apple One 3903


Rule of Thumb:  Eat plenty of Vegetables and Legumes that are bright in color (greens, reds, etc.).  Enjoy fruit 1-2 times/day and choose low glycemic fruits (less sweet fruit like berries, grapefruits, etc.)

Enjoy plenty of green leafy vegetables, including kale, collards for their antioxidant capacity.

For the antioxidant Vitamin C:  enjoy broccoli, red & orange bell peppers, kiwi, strawberries, spring greens, brussels sprouts and curly kale

An Integrative Physician can assess markers of oxidative stress and markers of your antioxidant reserve to address inflammation and oxidative stress (that cause disease and a weaken immune system).

7. Optimize Diet 

Enjoy a diet rich in antioxidants, whole-grains, vegetables, fiber and clean protein (mostly fish & legumes).  Avoid sugar, caffeine and alcohol—all can weaken your immunity and ability to prevent infections.

Eliminate white, processed and high glycemic (high in sugar or simple carbohydrates) foods. These foods are easily breakdown into sugar.  Sugar serves as fuel for bacteria, viruses, and weakens your immune system.

High glycemic diets are associated linked to most diseases.

Insulin and blood sugar levels, antioxidant markers and a nutritional panel can be assessed to determine the quality of your diet and your ability to absorb the nutrients to support wellness.

8. Make sure you get an adequate amount of protein

Protein is essential for maintaining great health.  Unlike simple carbohydrates, protein yields even blood sugar levels.  Even blood sugar levels are associated with improved immunity and health.

Tip: Be sure to incorporate a healthy protein with every meal, and start your first meal with a healthy protein.

9. Skip the Antibiotics, when possible

Antibiotics weaken your immune system over the long-term, and their overuse wipes out many of the healthy bacteria and yeast in your gut (see above).

Be sure to work with a competent physician to know when spirit-mind-body medicine and natural remedies are appropriate (vs. when antibiotics may be appropriate for you).

10. Create Optimal Air

Clean air supports whole health.

Tip: Create optimal air with humidifiers, plants, electrostatic or pleated air furnace filters, clean furnaces, and clean carpets.


Step 7: Meditate Daily
Step 6: Maintain A Loving Vision


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