Expert Opinion:

Travel strong with immune health tips from Natural Health Expert, Bryce Wylde

Ever wonder why some people get sick and become bedridden for days, while others show few symptoms? This phenomenon is due to differences in immune function. Some simply deal with an invading organism effectively – showing few to no symptoms of long-term consequence – while others may already express partial immunity. In fact, how quickly you recover from a viral or bacterial infection is a great way to determine how robust your immune system is!

The best way to keep a robust immunity is to effectively arm your immune system. This is especially important when we are on holiday – at home or abroad. Whether it’s a staycation or vacation, we tend to eat less healthy and change our sleep pattern, which could suppress our immune system function and decrease our body’s ability to respond to bacteria and viral infections such as colds and flu. As a society, we are living longer than past generations, and thanks to modern medicine we are surviving viruses that would have once killed us.

Whether you plan to travel or ‘staycation’ over the break, the following tips can help build a strong and healthy immune system.

Quick Tips:

  1. 80% of infections are transmitted via contact or touching surfaces – so be sure to wash your hands often.
  2. Make sure you eat a minimum of 12 servings of fresh organic fruits and veggies every day. Here’s what you need to know: a serving is ½ cup and you need to include every colour of the rainbow for both categories.
  3. Stay hydrated! If you’re planning to indulge in some celebratory drinking, ensure you remember to consume enough water to keep your body hydrated.

Quick tips are good for something quick and easy to implement in the short-term. But for long-term gain, preparing your immune system routinely is key.

Supplement your diet

Whether you’re staying home or hitting up an all-inclusive, avoid a diet high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and alcohol. These are depleted of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals and by consuming too much of these your body won’t acquire the nutrients it needs to keep a healthy immune system. One powerful solution is to eat soup daily – check out the February Foodie Feature.

The following nutrients are particularly important when it comes to your immune system:

  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin D
  • Selenium

But supplementing for a robust immunity is about introducing something to your body that goes beyond an already healthy diet or vitamin pill. One of my favourites is COLD-FX®, which contains a patented unique extract of Panax Ginseng and has more than 10 years of clinical research. Learn more on how COLD-FX works.

I take it regularly, but especially whenever I travel. It has the level of evidence I need in a natural health supplement to help reduce frequency, severity and duration of colds and flu symptoms by boosting the immune system. But most importantly, I use it because it works for me!

Decompress

Whether your plans take you to the beach or a couch, congratulations because either can help you decompress. Make sure to limit the amount of work you plan to do.

This is YOU time! Excessive stress can lead to a depressed immune system, which is less able to fight bacteria and viruses.

Finding ways to relax is an important part of a well-rounded health program. When you’re back to the daily grind, some of these ‘non-activities’ to destress:

  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Techniques
  • Yoga
  • Deep breathing
  • Meditation
  • Warm baths with soothing essential oils
  • Walking
  • Reading

“Vitamin Zzz”

Quality sleep is crucial for the immune system. Where duration is important, it’s not all about the hours you clock on the pillow.

What is more important is the quality of sleep you achieve. If you can’t get a full night’s sleep because of time constraints, try to squeeze in a 20-minute nap during the day – but no more, as too much napping cuts into your sleep cycle at night which can backfire.

Exercise

Vacation time is an excellent time to regroup and get your exercise routine re-established. Work to create a 30-minute weight routine and 15-minute stretching routine. Make sure it is something that you can stick with when things are at their busiest and aim for a minimum of three times weekly.

But here is something you likely didn’t know: vigorous exercise means your immune system takes a dive for about 30 minutes following your workout! To prevent contracting a cold or flu virus during this window while your immune system is temporarily compromised, make sure to wash your hands following your workout – especially if you’re at a public gym (it’s a cesspool in there!).