Welcome to December! Here are a couple of questions to contemplate….
What does December mean to you? Are you busier than usual? Do you eat more and let go of your usual routines? Is it joyful? Does it include more social time with people you love (related or not)?
Have you been sick ? Do you want to stay well?
This month I am going to recommend three things I love to help build your immunity and get you through the season.
Remember, I am not a nutritionist or a doctor and I don’t even play one on TV 🙂 but the following recommendations have studies to back them up (which i will link to) and most of these things have been done by humans for many many years.
I personally swear by these things and hope they bring you good health too!
- Vitamin D This vitamin is essential for good health and a strong immune function and has many more benefits as well. One way to get vitamin D is sunshine on your skin (another reason to keep walking this winter!) But most researchers believe that people living in northern countries can not get enough light to make the required amount of vitamin D. One thing people in nordic countries have been doing for many years is taking Cod Liver Oil which provides fat-soluble vitamins A and D. Pay attention to the brand you take because not all contain the same amounts of vitamins A and D. Yet another option is you can take a D3 supplement, this is probably the easiest way to get your levels up. Personally I try to generate vitamin D from a walk at mid day but I also take cod liver oil. My kids take the D3 supplements. We don’t take a lot of supplements on a daily basis but vitamin D is well studied for everything from bone health to auto immune disease. If you are not taking it it is time to start!
- Ferments. Kefir, kombacha, sourdough, sauerkraut and more – these are probiotics in their natural form. Your microbiome or your gut flora is very important in many ways but “A huge proportion of your immune system is actually in your GI tract,” says Dan Peterson, assistant professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Pickled vegetables are a great source of probiotics. I remember my mom telling me about all the sauerkraut she ate as a kid. Now we know how good it was for them! I am going to try to make my own pickled veggies soon but in the meantime, I love these products, and my favorite so far is the beets. This recipe looks yummy but usually I just put a few scoops on top of a salad or along side another dish. Available at Planet Organic.
- Golden Milk. This recommendation is a more traditional yogic/ayurvedic one. Inflammation is at the root of many conditions from heart disease to arthritis. This drink contains Turmeric (Curcuma longa) which has been used for 4,000 years to treat a variety of conditions and is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Proper sleep is also very important to your immune function and Golden milk is a warm, soothing and delicious drink before bed. I use organic full fat cows milk but this can be made with many other ‘milks’ and can be made with dried spices as well as fresh. I use fresh turmeric root, fresh ginger root, a cinnamon stick and a few whole black peppercorns. I also use a little ghee or butter to enhance absorption but you can use coconut oil in place for a healthy fat. Stay well this season and enjoy each other!!!