Autumn, change of season and immune support

It has finally rained here in the Cowichan Valley, which is a good sign that it is autumn. Transitions are difficult, as you may know from moving, starting a new job, a new school, a new relationship… They put us under quite a bit of stress to adapt. Autumn is the time to take particular care of our immune systems. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I do believe “getting sick” once or twice a year is actually good training for our immunity, and helps our immune cells to adapt to ever mutating viruses. However, we shouldn’t stay sick for long or suffer serious health complications because our bodies are not well equipped to fend off infections. Here are my favourite methods to protect yourself from getting too sick this autumn and winter.

  1. Start out in good health – Have you already been feeling tired and rundown? Not sleeping well? Then its time for a full check-up to correct deficiencies and address any underlying health problems before working on preventing further deterioration throughout the year.
  2. Soup. Never mind juicing, green drinks, and cold smoothies. Its cold outside now, you need food that will warmly nourish you. Pull out your slow cooker and start simmering some bone broths and harvest veggie filled soups. Beyond simply keeping your body warm and thereby keeping your blood circulating, soup is full of readily available nutrition necessary for keeping your immune system humming along.
  3. Hydrotherapy. Warming or “magic” socks work incredibly well to improve lymphatic and blood circulation, thereby accelerating various immune cells ability to clear infections. This is an excellent home treatment to use before and while sick. See my handout for more details.
  4. Go outside. Its much easier to adapt to the changes in season when we are a part of our environment. Get out for a walk or simply sit outside for 20min everyday. In our modern lives, many people go from cars, to homes, to buildings with minimal exposure to their external world. Head to a park, trail or even your backyard, and watch the leaves change and fall, witness how the plants and animals are preparing for winter. Breathe in the changing air and listen to what your body is telling you need at this transitional season.