It’s flu and allergy season, folks, so I wanted to share some tips to keep you healthy by keeping your immune system in tip top shape. In light of my recent trip to India, some of the recommendations come from Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India via Integrative Medicine doctor, Dr. Shikha Sharma. The others are those that come from Traditional Chinese Medicine, my specialty.
- Dr Sharma recommends taking care of the intestine. “The intestinal lining hides a formidable system of immunity that helps balance healthy and unhealthy bacteria. When the healthy bacteria predominate, the body gets a steady flow of immune cells to fight disease-causing germs. Boost it by eating probiotic foods, and avoid junk foods, fried foods, overeating and acidic foods like coffee, fizzy drinks and tea boiled with milk.” I second that! Probiotic foods include kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, dark chocolate (!), and miso.
- Adaptogens! Adaptogens are substances whose pharmacological jobs are to help us deal with stresses to our bodies. Whether that’s typical work stress or the stress of an invading viral infection, think of adaptogens as boosters to our systems. In TCM we recommend Siberian Ginseng, or Eleuthero, which has been shown in studies to enhance immunity, increase strength, improve sleep, enhance cardiovascular function, and help with mental alertness. Dr. Sharma recommends Ashwangandha, in which she says “Ayruveda describes ashwagandha as a tonic, which helps repair damaged immune cells, and in turn helps the immune cells circulate through the body via blood.” She recommends taking it daily with coconut water for eight weeks.
Of course acupuncture also gives a huge boost to the immune system in any given stressful situation. Schedule your acupuncture tune-up today!