Transitioning into the Fall season, when everyone's getting blasted with colds and flus, I think it's so important to spend a little time to take care of yourself and really boost your body however you can - just so that you are a little bit more immune to everything else out there.
One of the ways that I like to do this is through some supplements and by adding more healthy, immune-boosting foods into my life so that my body is naturally taking care of itself.
1. Vitamin D3
So one of the supplements that's really important to take, or to optimize, is Vitamin D. And if you haven't ever gotten your Vitamin D tested, I highly recommend checking in with your doctor and going in to get tested every three to six months if you're low.
And Vitamin D is an amazing fat-based vitamin that is absorbed naturally through sunlight in optimal conditions. Meaning during the wintertime, we have to be outside for a really long time to get the same amount of Vitamin D, if any. Versus the summertime, the Vitamin D is just coming through.
And so especially if you have pale skin or you have a sensitivity to sunlight, please put on the sunscreen still.
Having a few minutes outside during the brightest time of day is the easiest way to absorb Vitamin D.
And the more skin you have exposed, the more Vitamin D you can absorb. If you live in a cold place, I know it's a little difficult. And so if you're bundled up, you may not be getting enough at all.
And that's why, a lot of times, I'll talk with my clients about supplementing as well.
With Vitamin D, I usually get an oil-based form because that's Vitamin D3, which is the most absorbable type of Vitamin D, your body doesn't have to convert it from D2 to D3.
You can take it in supplement form either in olive oil or lanolin oil. I really like getting organic-based supplements so that I know that it's the healthiest, cleanest form I can get.
And then I've heard some doctors say anywhere from 1000 IU’s a day, up to 5000 IU’s per day, just depending on if you're in maintenance dose or if you're trying to get back up there because you've been in deficiency dose. And if you really have low levels, make sure you talk to your doctor so that you're taking the right dosage.
Taking Vitamin D on a regular basis, especially through the wintertime:
Boosts your immune system
Can help lessen depression
Helps with bone and teeth density so that, especially as we're aging, our bones stay nice and strong.
Some of the food-based sources of Vitamin D are salmon, and any sort of wild caught fish. Wild caught fish actually have a much higher absorption rate than other types of animals. There are also some mushrooms that have Vitamin D.
And then on the commercial shelves at the grocery stores, a lot of our dairy products are actually enriched with Vitamin D2. So again, Vitamin D2 is not the optimal form. Your body has to convert it. And for some of us, that's actually a very difficult thing. So getting the supplement form, the Vitamin D3 form, is optimal for absorbing it for your body.
And just so you know, some people actually have a hard time absorbing Vitamin D because of the medications they're taking. Not that we should stop taking them, but just know this can be the case. Especially with cholesterol-based medications, since Vitamin D is kind of a type of cholesterol that's being broken down in your body.
Certain medications will actually hinder absorption. And that just means that you might have to take a higher dosage, so talk with your doctor so that you know how to safely and effectively supplement with the medications you're taking.
In general, if you're taking medications, you should always talk to your doctor before taking a new herbal or supplement just so that you make sure that everything's safe.
2. Vitamin C
Another supplement I really love for optimizing my immune system is Vitamin C.
We've all heard about Vitamin C for when you're sick. And it's actually true that if you take a higher dose of Vitamin C when you're at the onset of a cold, it might shorten the duration of the cold or flu for one to two days.
However, it doesn't prevent a cold or flu from happening. So it's really important to know that it's one part of the picture to boost your immune system.
Vitamin C helps with healthy gums and teeth and it helps your white blood cells mobilize the site of infection. So right when you're getting sick, it helps your white blood cells get to the site of the scene where something's going on.
It's also really important for helping your body absorb Iron and other important nutrients in your body.
So I like taking Vitamin C in as many foods sources as I can because it's a water-based vitamin, meaning if you take it every day, your body will use it. But since it doesn't get stored in your fat, it just gets peed out if you take too much, and your body doesn't hold onto it.
Vitamin C is an important supplement to take on a regular basis or to sneak into your foods all over the place.
It's high in oranges, not just orange juice, but it's actually more potent in the orange peel. And I've seen some people getting into eating dried lemons and oranges, and those are really delicious. That white, pithy part around the orange is actually where you get the most orange, or the most Vitamin C.
Besides citrus, here are some other great sources for Vitamin C:
A lot of your green, leafy vegetables
I'm a big fan of salsa. The richer the salsa, the spicier it is, the more antioxidants are in it and typically more Vitamin C as well.
If you're interested in supplementing with Vitamin C foods, just know that foods lose their Vitamin C when they're cooked and when they're stored for a long period of time. So your frozen vegetables will not have as much in them, as well as your canned goods.
So the fresher, the better. And that's why, especially going into winter, if you have access to a farmer's market or some fresh produce, that's where you're gonna get your most from your food.
So to take care of your body, just be really gentle. Start with a really small thing at a time. All of these things help so much to boost your immune system and protect you from colds and flus.
If you want more tips on how to boost your immunity, click here for our free Fire Cider class. It is a free class where you learn five herbs that help boost your immune system and how to put them together into an immune tonic.
Otherwise, stay tuned for more posts. We'll have lots of other immune boosting tips going on all month long to take care of your bodies for an optimal immune season.
Or should I say, less cold and flu season ahead?