The New Normal Part 3: How to bulletproof your immune system to ride out the rest of flu season
Stay healthy through spring
In the previous post, we explored how you can shift your grid by turning resolutions into actions and then habits. This time around, let’s take aim at another area of your life that is ripe for creating a New Normal – your immune system. As important as performance and recovery are, they need to be built on a solid foundation of overall health, and our ability to outfox viruses and infections is a major part of this. Spring might be just around the corner (the skiers and snowboarders among us hope not – endless winter would be just fine), meanwhile the nation is still firmly in the grip of flu season. If you’ve got kids you’ve likely seen many of their classmates missing in recent weeks, and maybe your own children have brought it home. Stuffy noses, sore throats, and wracking coughs seem to be the order of the day.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. While it’s impossible to completely rule out ever getting sick again – whether that means being down for the count or just struggling through the sniffles – there are some things you can do to improve your odds. Usually our approach to illness is reactive. You feel like you’re coming down with something icky or fighting it off, so you reach for the Emergen-C packets and go wild with the honey/lemon throat lozenges in an attempt to right the ship before you sink into sickness. But you shouldn’t wait until you’re symptomatic. There are some tried and true tactics that you can put into practice preemptively to get ahead of the flu, colds, and whatever else classrooms, workplaces, planes, and other germ-filled environments have in store for us. Try out the tips below to help create a New Normal for your immune system and overall well-being.
Put the Kettle On
When you’ve got a sore throat, drinking a cup of steaming tea feels great as the liquid slides down, and the mug warms your hands if you’re having the chills. But there’s much more to tea than just how it makes you feel better. Both black and green teas are chock-full of sickness-fighting antioxidants, and are particularly rich sources of polyphenols and flavonoids. A study conducted at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School discovered that drinking five cups of black tea a day elevated T cell levels up to 10 times above the levels of participants who didn’t drink any. This spurred them to secrete more interferon, which acts like a kind of immunological Paul Revere to sound the alarm to the immune system when the body’s under attack by a virus. Tea drinkers’ disease-fighting cells also responded five times faster than those of coffee drinkers in the presence of bacterial infection.
It’s not just American studies that demonstrate the disease-fighting powers of tea. A study run by researchers from University of Shizuoka found that Japanese healthcare workers who were repeatedly exposed to influenza had a significantly lower chance of getting it when they drank green tea regularly. The authors speculate that the catechins in the tea are responsible for such safeguarding. Variations like sencha and matcha are particularly high in these powerful compounds.
Bust Out the Botanicals
When it comes to pioneering explorers, it doesn’t get more badass than Kit DesLauriers, the first woman to not just climb the Seven Summits, but ski down from the top of them. Her secret for staying healthy despite an always on-the-go routine? “Even with the travel, parenting, work, and training schedule I keep, the only cold virus I’ve caught in three years was this past holiday season when I let myself get run down and wasn’t taking HANAH ONE,” Kit said. “You can bet I’ve already had a tablespoon in a cup of turmeric tea today as the flu season is in full force here in Jackson Hole and I’m about to head out for a ski.”
You don’t have to be a legendary skier or adventurer to reap the immunity-boosting benefits from the blend of 30 wild-harvested botanicals that we put into each jar of HANAH ONE, which includes powerful disease-fighters like shatavari, yellow-berried nightshade, and green cardamom.
Repeat customer Meredith H. told us, “I’ve been taking HANAH ONE for about four months now. Since then I’ve been surrounded by sick coworkers and friends, dealt with a stressful workload, and still maintained time to work out and play. I haven’t gotten sick once and I feel amazing while other active people drop with this winter cold/flu around me. Overall I feel really good.”
Get more Zzzzs
When you’re sick there’s nothing quite like climbing into a warm bed. But getting more shut-eye shouldn’t just be something you do once sickness has taken hold. Consistently logging seven to nine hours night after night is one of the most effective measures you can take to preempt illness. When you sleep, your body releases cytokines, certain types of which increase in number to tackle bacterial or viral infections. When you’re out for the count, your body also produces more T and NK cells, which play an important role in immune function. A meta-analysis of studies on sleep and immunity conducted by three professors from the University of Tübingen in Germany concluded, “Sleep indeed essentially contributes to the regulation of adaptive immunity.” They also asserted that if you consistently get sufficient sleep, this “supports the formation of long-lasting immunological memories.” We don’t often think of our immune system as remembering things, but in this case it recalls previous pathogens that your body has encountered and is more adept to deal with them quickly and effectively. Pretty cool, right?
As we wrote earlier, there is no magic bullet when it comes to forging a New Normal. Yet positive daily rituals and practices – in this case drinking green and black tea, taking a tablespoon of HANAH ONE, and getting good sleep every night – will accumulate over time to deliver a big boost in your immunity and overall health.
Take a look at part one of our New Normal series, and these similar blogs:
- New Normal part 2: From resolution to action to habit
- Run the Day podcast: HANAH founder Joel Einhorn
- Ayurvedic expert Dr. Venugopal shares the importance of holistic health
- Building a traditional superfood for the modern world
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