5 Winter Rituals For A Strong Immune System

Robin Berzin, MD
December 9, 2015

I’ve gone through at least the past five winters healthy and with a strong immune system. And it’s not just by chance.

I am not living in a bubble! I ride the subway and mass transit where fellow commuters are sneezing, coughing and spreading all those germs around me. And I work with patients daily, many of whom are sick, putting me at higher risk than your average person.

But, my body remains resilient because I follow these 5 steps below. No Z-pak needed.

  1. Rebuild Smoothie for breakfast . Smoothie in the winter? Yup, I dig it. Just about every weekday morning I have a smoothie made with Parsley Rebuild Protein Powder – it’s quick, delicious, nourishing, filling, and gives me the energy I need to feel good all morning long. I toss it in the blender with some coconut milk, water, coconut oil, baby spinach, frozen blueberries and then I ‘winterize’ it by adding cinnamon, a warming spice. Rebuild Protein Powder has anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, antioxidants and methylated B vitamins which all work in conjunction to promote gut health and your body’s detoxification process – vital systems which will keep your immunity up this winter.
  2. 5 Minute Morning Meditation : Meditation is always a work in progress for me, but these days it’s about 5 minutes of breathwork in the morning. Just five minutes can still allow you to access the sense of calm and clarity that comes with a regular meditation practice. Not only is it a magnificent stress and anxiety buster, research shows it ups our immune function too.
  3. Supplement with Vitamin D : In the summer, I’m a sucker for the beach and a lot of direct sun without sunscreen, so I seasonally opt out of supplementing with vitamin d since I’m getting from it’s natural source: the sun. However, when fall hits I begin to incorporate it into my supplement routine – I take a dosage that is fit for what my blood work levels show, per my doctor – Dr.Berzin . Vitamin D is known to boost immunity, and mood , so it can help you feel healthy and happy all winter long.
  4. Herbal Adaptogens. Herbs such as elderberry , andrographis , chamomile and ashwagandha help the body adapt to stress. A body well adapted to stress can better handle and fight off infection and bacteria that come its way. My favorite adaptogen this time of year is a cup of chamomile tea before bed. This calming ritual grounds me at the end of the day and soothes my system to ease into a restful sleep . Chamomile has been used for centuries by herbalists as a gentle yet effective remedy to ease the nervous system. Research has proven that this herbal ally is quite effective as a sleep aid too. Sleeping well is necessary for optimal immune function and this helps me get there.
  5. Sweet Slumber: Getting a solid 8 hours of sleep a night is essential for me to feel my best, and I encourage you to try it too . Many people get a second cortisol surge after 11pm – creating the wired and tired effect. It’s ideal to get yourself in bed before 11pm to avoid this as it’s bound to interrupt your sleep patterns and quality. Not only does proper sleep increase your immune function , but it’s also an important time for the body to detox and restore.
Robin Berzin, MD

Dr. Robin Berzin is the founder and CEO of Parsley Health. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Robin completed medical school at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and trained in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

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