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Staying Healthy in the Fall Months

September 21st, 2011

by Keri Marshall, MS, ND

The onset of autumn is a time that illustrates many of the cyclic patterns in our lives. The coming of fall marks the dwindling days of summer, the turning of the leaves and cooler temperatures. For parents, there is a sense of life returning to normal rhythms as our children return to school. But what I think perplexes our bodies the most is the return to the indoors and the germs that surround us in these close quarters.

To some degree the media hype that surrounds us constantly plays on our innermost fears of health and wellness, however, we do need to acknowledge that many of the immune challenges that they discuss do in fact exist and bacteria and viruses surround us every day. What is the balance point and how do we stay healthy?

Building the immune system naturally is essential to maintaining health throughout the fall and winter months. Making Gaia Herbs products such as Organic Black Elderberry Syrup, Astragalus Supreme, and Whole Body Defense, part of your daily regimen, along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, can build your immune reserves.

What else can you do to prepare yourself for this immune season? The most important thing is paying attention to what you put in your body on a regular basis. While eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day may sound cliché, doing so to support the immune system is incredibly important. Fruits and vegetables are the body’s main source of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. These nutrients provide building blocks for a healthy immune system and cellular integrity throughout our body.

Fruits and vegetables are also a great dietary source of antioxidants such as anthocyanidans, beta carotene and other carotenoids. Antioxidants have a long established role as being cell protectors and their role in immune health is well documented. You’ll find antioxidants in colorful fruits and vegetables – especially those with purple, blue, red, orange, and yellow hues. To get the biggest benefits of antioxidants, eat these foods raw or lightly steamed; don’t overcook or boil them.

In addition to eating well, drinking ample amounts of water is key. When your body stays hydrated, red and white blood cells are able to function optimally. Getting plenty of sleep and reducing stress are also critical factors. It is well known that when the body has altered cortisol levels from stress, the immune system function and response time is not optimal.

Also, do not forget the simple things. Wash your hands often and be sure your children do the same. Although antibacterial soaps, gels and wipes abound, good old-fashioned soap and water do the trick. Antibacterial formulas destroy all the bacteria on our hands, both good and bad. However, our skin needs an outer foundation of normal “healthy” bacteria to provide a first line of defense for our immune system. Using only antibacterial products actually diminishes our natural immunity, making us more susceptible to bacteria and viruses.

Take responsibility for your health this season! While it may not ensure you don’t get sick, it will help your body’s response time towards recovery!

Tips from our Doctors

The more you learn about the healing powers of herbs, the more you can gain in terms of your personal health and well-being. This is why our advisory team of doctors and herbalists has developed these practical tips to help you on your journey.

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