Bend Naturopath Dr. Marie Agnew
Boost your Winter Wellness
by Dr. Marie Agnew
Adopt a Regular Sleep/Wake Cycle
Boost your health with adequate sleep. Go to bed earlier and allow yourself to sleep longer, 8-9 hours per night. Adopt the same sleep/wake cycle, turn in and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Keep heat down when it’s time to sleep, a cooler sleep environment (60-66 degrees) and black-out curtains are shown to increase sleep quality. Avoid screen time or consider blue light blocking glasses if you’re going to binge Netflix or scroll emails prior to bed. Blue light activates our sympathetic, fight or flight nervous system.
Supplements improve health, immunity, and energy levels:
Vitamin D Vitamin D plays a powerful immune regulatory role, it regulates expression of hundreds of genes involved in biological functions and activates our immune defenses.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids In the form of extra virgin cod liver oil, flax oil or fish oil capsules.Omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, boost immunity, help with dry skin and achy joints. For vegans, ALA is an option.
Fermented Foods 70-80% of our immune system is in our gut, if you have poor gut flora, you’ll be more susceptible to viruses and infections. Eating a diet rich in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, or yogurt will strengthen your microbiome.
Vitamin C Vitamin C contributes substantially to immune defense by supporting multiple cellular functions of the immune system.
Make sure you are Connected
Connection to self and community can improve health. Yin Yoga, Meditation, Prayer, Hiking, Tai Chi, Mindfulness, & Diaphragmatic Breathing are great ways to get into your body, become grounded and decrease stress levels. Prolonged stress can lead to increased cortisol, affecting inflammatory and immune response, making it more likely to get sick when exposed to a virus. Take time for self care!
4. Practice ABHYANGA (lymph stimulating self massage)
In Ayurveda, your hands are a healing tool, practice self massage to improve sleep and stimulate your lymph, an integral part of the immune system. Start with dry hands or a dry brush, rub your hands or the brush over your body to stimulate lymph and blood flow. If you want to use moisture, use warm sesame oil on your skin, massage into your skin using long strokes over long bones and round strokes at joints. Massage your abdomen in a clockwise rotation.
5. Find a Physical Activity you ENJOY!
Move your body to help flush toxins, boost immunity and promote lymphatic flow. There are so many exercise options, keep experimenting until you find an activity that brings you joy. Get your blood pumping and heart rate up, exercise has a profound effect on your immune system, improves concentration and releases endorphins
Kaizen shows small incremental changes will add up over time, implement one change per week for several months, as opposed to multiple practices at one time . Feel free to contact me directly at shiftfunctionalmed.com