5 Tips for Preparing Your Immune System for Cold and Flu Season

The cool, crisp morning air has arrived, and despite the sun’s ability to warm our September days, an impending seasonal change is detectable.  As the leaves start to fall and rainy days roll in, cold and flu season quickly approaches.  It’s difficult to definitively say why we, as individuals, are more susceptible to becoming ill during this time of year.  Perhaps the cooler temperatures keep us inside more hours of the day - increasing our exposure to germs while in closer proximity to others, or perhaps we’re exercising less with the inclement weather. 


Regardless of the ‘why’, our goal is to embrace the seasonal change without getting sick!  You may recall a previous article written on ‘The Pillars of Health’ - if not, check it out!  Ultimately, these pillars will support our body and immune system, and decrease the likelihood of becoming sick.  We must remember that the body is an integral system of moving parts, and we need to support each part to achieve optimal health.  


With that said, let’s specify a few tips for immune support:


1. Diet: 7-10 servings of fruit & vegetables daily is important for our nutrition.  Focus on only 2-3 servings of fruit due to the sugar content, and the remainder as vegetables.  Drink plenty of filtered water - aim for 1/2 of your body weight (lbs) in ounces.  Avoid highly processed and fried foods - focus on a whole food diet as much as possible.


2. Sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours each night.  Sleep is vital in our ability to fully rest and feel rejuvenated when we wake.  Being ‘run down’ usually precedes catching the flu!  If you’re someone with difficulty sleeping through the night, find ways to rest as much as possible during the day and at night - over-exertion is also part of being ‘run down’. 


3. Supplements: Vitamin D is crucial for immune support - particularly since we live in the PNW and vitamin D levels diminish as the sun exposure declines during fall and winter months.  Adequate supplementation of vitamin D is important for moods as well.  Zinc, among other micronutrients, are important based on your individual deficiencies which can be determined through micronutrient testing.  


4. Reduce Obstructions: Reduce or remove consumption of alcohol and sugar.  Decrease exposure to germs by washing hands often.  If possible, aim to purchase organic produce and drink filtered water. 


5. Manage Stress: Find your outlets for proper stress management and take action!  Meditation, yoga, exercise, and journaling are great options.


Head over to the ‘Recipe’ tab and check out the flu-fighting smoothie.  Cheers to a happy and healthy fall! 




Dr. Silverman