Sick and tired of getting sick?
Updated: Jan 27
When 36 year old Jenny came to see me she was having a really bad run of sickness. She felt like she was catching every flu that came into her workplace and she was getting sicker than everyone else.
This was the second winter in a row that Jenny* had suffered flu, ear infections and chest infections. She tried not to take too much time off work, but with a young family at home to look after as well, Jenny found that rest was the only way she could manage. A co-worker suggested that she should see a naturopath.
If you can relate to Jenny's predicament, consulting a naturopath can help you to improve your immunity and resilience to illness. A naturopath will assist you to recover from your current infection and help to prevent future occurrences. In my experience, a few diet and lifestyle changes, nutritional supplements when necessary, and some herbal medicine, can turn your health around quite quickly.
Making sure that you're eating a diet that is best for you and your health is one of the most important things you can do for your immune system.
A healthy diet includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and regular amounts of protein and healthy fats. These foods supply the nutrients that are needed to maintain healthy immune cells.
The foods we eat also influence the bacteria (microbiome) that live in our digestive system, which plays a vital role in our immune system.
At times when you feel vulnerable to a cold or a flu, food can also be your friend. Increasing the garlic, onion, ginger, Manuka honey and fresh herbs in your meals and infusions can help to fight off an infection. Some common culinary herbs to give your immune system a boost are thyme, sage, oregano and cinnamon.
You've heard it before: stress and busyness can contribute to a run down immune system. Stress affects our nervous system, our digestive system and our hormones, and steals nutrients away from our immune system.
Stressed, busy people often skip meals, or grab take away or preprepared foods that they know don't really agree with them. Organisation and planning is the key to eating well when you're busy. If this is difficult for you, some naturopathic coaching can help you get on top of things.
Regular holidays and weekends spent in nature give your body a break and allows your immune system to recharge.
Sunshine is very important for immune health because sunshine on our skin is converted to vitamin D, one of the most powerful immune boosters. If you're getting sick all the time, it's a good idea have your vitamin D levels checked and get out into the sun for at least 20 minutes every day.
Herbal medicine and supplements:
Culinary herbs are excellent for the immune system and there are many medicinal herbs that are prescribed by naturopaths for immune health. The exact prescription will depend entirely on what symptoms you have, what illnesses you've had in the past, and how long you've been sick.
Many people take over the counter herbal preparations that contain echinacea or olive leaf. These tablets are great, but finding out which herbs are actually the most beneficial for you can help you to improve more quickly, without the need to keep taking tablets long term.
Because naturopaths work holistically, the herbs prescribed for you may target other areas of your health such as ongoing digestive issues, allergies, hormonal imbalances, autoimmune conditions or anxiety. The combination and holistic approach will help you to become well and resilient.
By the way, Jenny is back at work and hasn't had another illness this winter. She feels more energetic and has developed some new healthy habits around eating and taking time out for herself.
Hi! I'm Simone Jeffries. I practice as a naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist and wellness coach.
I welcome clients to my clinic in Surry Hills, Sydney and work online with clients Australia wide.
*Jenny's name has been changed for privacy, however she was happy for me to share her story.