Fall is almost upon us. Our children are going back to school, we’re settling back into our work routine, and (if you’re like me) you’re dusting off your container of Fall/Winter clothes. But, for many, the changing season also brings the dreaded resurgence of colds and flu.
In Western medicine we are conditioned to take supplements and herbs only when we are getting sick, or are already sick. That is unfortunate because right now happens to be the ideal time to strengthen and boost your immune system for the coming winter to prevent viral infections. In the last 4-6 weeks of summer our bodies and minds are relaxed; we are enjoying the sunshine and producing large amounts of vitamin D. We are eating lots of fresh seasonal fruits and drinking ample water. With our bodies and minds nurtured by this season of abundance this is the perfect time to lock in our health to carry us through the winter.
In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), we believe that prepping the body on the cusp of a new season is necessary to maintain the health and balance of the body’s Qi (or energy). Since late summer, August to mid-September, is one of abundance and harvest it is associated with our Spleen. The spleen is a very important organ both viscerally and in TCM, where it represents our digestion, immune system, and energy levels. Eating specific foods and herbs to support your Qi will equip you with a strong immune system to ward off any illnesses.
One protocol I like to use is a combination of the Qi Diet, coupled with some herbs and nutritional supplements.
Boost Your Immune System Protocol
Start Date: Mid-August – Mid-September
Duration: 4-6 weeks
- Deep Immune Tincture, by St. Francis (1-2 ml/day)
- HMF Forte Probiotics, by Genestra (2 caps/day)
- Vitamin D Liquid, by Thorne (2000 iu/day)
- Qi Diet Plan
- Deep Immune Kids Tincture, by St. Francis (lowest dose, once daily, age dependent)
- HMF Child Chewable Probiotics or HMF Powder, by Genestra (directions on package)
- Vitamin D Liquid, by Thorne (500 iu – 1000 ui/day, age dependent)
- Qi Diet Plan
Take the following supplements for 4-6 weeks while doing the Qi Diet Plan. Examples of immune boosting foods are listed below.
After 4-6 weeks, continue taking daily probiotics and vitamin D throughout the winter until mid spring.
**Consult your doctor or health practitioner before beginning any of the above nutritional supplements and/or herbs. There may be some contraindications with taking these products in combination with certain health conditions and medications.
Foods to Boost Your Immune System:
When selecting or preparing foods to support Qi, try to remember the following guidelines:
- Qi boosting foods tend to be yellow or orange in colour, are usually starchy root vegetables, and are sweet in flavour.
- When boosting your immune system, it’s important to eat lightly cooked to baked foods. Cooked foods are much easier to digest and therefore easier to assimilate into absorbable nutrients.
- If you want to eat raw foods, such as salads, keep it to a minimum.
- If you enjoy consuming smoothies, drink them at room temperature.
- Fruits are best eaten baked or dried. Some fresh fruit is okay, but kept to a minimum.
Qi Nourishing Foods:
- Sweet Potatoes, Yams
- Corn, organic
- Shiitake Mushrooms
- Eggs (no dairy, except butter)
- Meat, except pork
- Fruits, cooked
- Orange Zest/Peel (not the fruit inside)
Warm Spices: Cinnamon, Ginger, Cayenne, Black Pepper
There you go, you are all set up to boost your immune system this fall so that you can thoroughly enjoy the winter season. Do you have any tried and true tips you’d like to share with me? I’d love to hear them.