Why does a change of season suddenly bring with it so many symptoms of illness? What can we do to recognise our body’s reaction and how can we boost immunity naturally?
A change of season, especially in Hong Kong, not only brings about a change in temperature but also a change in humidity, daylight hours and atmospheric pressure. Your body will have to adapt to these changes in a number of ways. The key to doing this is using foods and nutrients to strengthen and boost our immune system.
Illnesses during change of seasons are natural and integral to the body developing and reacting to the changing atmospheres around us. They are a way of purging the body (of mucous and waste products for example) and are normally signals to rest and recuperate. For example the lungs have to massively change to compensate for the added water levels in the air with the change of humidity and temperature. The little hairs in our lungs (Cila) are affected. Getting muck (mucous) out of our system is the body’s way of adapting and spring cleaning. So children and adults alike may sneeze, get runny noses or coughs. These symptoms can be likened to a cold, but may very well have no bacteria or virus involved. It is important to know the difference and seeing a professional (whether a doctor, naturopath or homeopath) to help you to do that. To interrupt this can then lead to more serious symptoms, but supporting it you can adapt and allow the season to change with little disruption.
From winter to spring we get lighter mornings, we wake easier and seem to have more energy. We are programmed to operate at full function in daylight. Sunlight on our skin will also provide us vital vitamin D (but only by not wearing sunscreen, try and go 10 mins with 40% of your body in full sunlight a day. As soon as you feel the heat starting to get a bit intense on your skin, cover up or return to the shade see here) Vitamin D is vital for a healthy immune system. Our body clocks react to daylight. We are supposed to slow down and stock up in the winter ready for spring’s re-awakening. However daily hum drum does not change through the seasons anymore and the toll on our body is seen with more winter colds/ illnesses as the immune system is dampened in the cold weather and if we do let our bodies rest, then we start to become deficient in vital nutrients used up by the will to keep going.
Stress is a major factor in immunity – take time to relax when you start to feel run down. Illness is generally a signal to slow down and rest. Pushing through an illness is another way of suppressing signals and may also cause future long term damage. Viruses and bacteria are around us all the time; they are in our homes and outside. They are necessary for human existence. They are opportunistic so when you are run down, going through a change (in pregnancy or environmental change of season), stressed, malnourished, or tired you are at your most prone to illness. By adding foods and nutrients like vitamin D, C, E, zinc, magnesium and antioxidants daily; you can help prevent illness by providing your body with the means to heal and strengthen from within.
Foods in season are around to help support this change of season and boost the immune system. Foods in season right now are all your leafy greens, beetroot, strawberries, pumpkin, papaya – foods bursting with Iron, Beta carotene, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Papaya also has vital enzymes to help us absorb our food so is great to have at meal times. All perfect to help boost immunity and rid and protect our body from toxins. Another great reason to eat local organic produce and go strawberry picking in the New Territories!
Here are some Natural remedy recipes to allow you to keep the Spring in your step!