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Navigating Seasonal Changes

By Joe Boland

March 1, 2024

Navigating Seasonal Changes

While many welcome the blooming flowers and warmer weather of spring, this season can also bring on adjustments as the seasons change from winter to spring and beyond. 

Here are some tips for managing seasonal changes that you may want to implement. As always, you should consult your healthcare professional prior to starting any new dietary or lifestyle regimen. 

Maintain Your Healthy Immune System

Supporting your healthy immune system is important year-round, including as the seasons change. 

As you know, the immune system is our body’s built-in first line of defense — a network of cells, tissues and organs working together to support the health of the body. Thank goodness for our healthy immune systems!  

Of course, there are a lot of variables that affect immune system function, including one’s dietary and lifestyle habits, such as sleep, stress and more, so we have to take care of ourselves overall.   

Everyone’s immune system is different, but one thing is for certain: maintaining your healthy immune system is necessary for optimal health. It’s also important how you feed and nurture your immune system, so a healthy diet (and lifestyle) is critical.  

Dietary Tips (Including Food Swaps)

It’s best to avoid common problem foods and instead focus on healthy immune system- supporting foods during seasonal changes (and year-round). Here are a few tips:

  • Limit processed foods: Processed foods can promote an unhealthy response to inflammation and are lacking in macronutrients and micronutrients.

  • Increase fruits and vegetables: These are rich in antioxidants that can help with a healthy response to inflammation.

It’s also best to limit or avoid common problem foods, such as:

  • soy

  • alcohol

  • wheat

  • caffeine

  • conventional dairy

  • bottled citrus juice

  • milk chocolate

  • shellfish

  • peanuts

  • sugar

  • artificial sweeteners

  • food preservatives

  • dried fruit

  • gluten

Meanwhile, you want to eat some of the best foods for your healthy immune system, such as:

  • Hot and spicy foods

  • Wild-caught fish

  • Bone broth

  • Free-range poultry

  • Probiotic foods

  • Grass-fed meats

  • Pineapple

  • Apple cider vinegar

It’s also a good idea to consume more herbs and spices that support a healthy immune system, like cayenne, garlic, cinnamon, onion and ginger, and immune system supporting drinks, such as tea.

Lifestyle Tips, Including Healthy Immune System-Supporting Supplements

In addition to a healthy immune system-supporting diet, it’s also important to follow a healthy lifestyle, including getting enough sleep, de-stressing, exercising regularly and possibly integrating dietary supplementation for extra support. 

The following supplements may help:

  • Probiotics: Studies suggest probiotics may support a healthy immune system and immune system response. 

  • Spirulina

  • Zinc

In addition, getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night is important to keep your body running at its best.

Finding ways to de-stress, such as reading, journaling, spending time in nature, hanging out with loved ones, meditation and breathing exercise, can do wonders for a healthy immune system as well.

Of course, you want to exercise as well. Research shows exercise can help de-stress and support overall health.

Seasonal-Specific Insights and Tips

Some of the main environmental factors that can happen when the seasons change can include:

  • grass

  • pollen

  • dust

  • ragweed

  • mold

  • residue from flowers and trees

Here’s a general overview of how these may play out, depending on the time of year:

  • Spring: Tree pollen occurs, with different types of trees pollinating at various times throughout the season.

  • Summer: Grasses and weeds can take over, releasing their pollen.

  • Fall: Ragweed can take center stage in many regions.

Lifestyle Tips

  • Monitor pollen counts: Check online resources or weather reports for daily pollen forecasts, and limit your time outdoors when counts are high.

  • Shower after spending time outdoors: This helps remove pollen from your hair and skin.

  • Saline nasal irrigation: Flushing your nasal passages with a saline solution, such as with a neti pot, can help clear mucus.

  • Essential oils: Diffuse essential oils to help open nasal passages.

  • Stay hydrated

  • Declutter to limit dust in your home

  • Wash bedding and clothing

  • Wipe down your pets

Dietary Supplements

Some of the foods or dietary supplements that may offer support as the seasons change can include:

  • Local honey during some seasons: Raw, local honey may help promote a healthy, balanced immune system response during some seasons if consumed regularly. (Consult your healthcare professional first, especially if you have any concerns.)

  • Quercetin: This natural compound found in fruits and vegetables may help during seasonal changes.

  • Local Pollen Extract: This involves taking small doses of local pollen to build up tolerance, but consult a healthcare professional before starting.

  • Butterbur

  • Vitamin A

  • Bromelain

  • Stinging Nettle

Remember, these are just some general tips, and individual experiences with seasonal changes can vary. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional for a personalized plan. 

But with knowledge and some diet and lifestyle tips, you may be able to enjoy the changing seasons to the fullest!

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