Tis’ the season of sniffles and scratchy throats! It is time to close those windows and crank up the heat, which means trapping all those germs inside. Sigh. If you are pregnant, this time of year makes it doubly harder to stay well as your immunity is already suppressed. You already know to take your prenatal, but what else can you do? Variety is the key to a healthy and balanced diet and lifestyle. Here are some more ways to fight back and keep yourself strong during cold/flu season.
“Enrich your diet with color, and you enrich it with nutrients as well.” – Deepak Chopra, M.D.
Yes, we all have heard that we need to make sure we eat our colors! However, in pregnancy it is a really important to assess your diet. Pull out a piece of paper and write down all the major colors. Next to each one, list foods. We tend to focus heavily on reds with things like: strawberries, peppers, tomatoes OR greens with: leafy greens, broccoli, spinach. This is all great, but when you list out all the colors, you can really see where you can spruce it up with more variety to hit all the key nutrients that your body needs.
Immunity tip with nutrients: Omega 3 & 6 Fatty Acids, Vitamin D & Zinc
Essential fatty acids are not only required for a healthy development of the baby’s nervous system, but it also boosts your immune system. Watch your fish intake though (mercury) and look for other foods that are rich in fatty acids such as: flaxseeds, nuts, mixed greens and egg yolks.
Since it is close to winter, getting outside for vitamin D and sunshine is harder – so make sure to start taking extra vitamin D. Here is a great brand! It also needs to build up in your system for it to pass through your breastmilk if you plan on breastfeeding.
Zinc is seen everywhere when we are sick! Zinc is in just about all cold teas or lozenges. Load up on foods rich with zinc such as: beans, nuts, dairy products (stick with organic if you eat dairy!), pumpkin seeds, grass-fed beef, chicken or chickpeas.
Practice the Pause
Whether you are working or at home raising other children while pregnant or both – Slowing down sometimes seems impossible! However, it is key to keeping your immune system (and nervous system) well.
Our immunity health is the most fascinating part of our mind-body connection! When we are sick, it is not just physical. Every thought, mood or sensation, we are sending to the cells of our bodies – including our immune cells. What do we do to keep our immune cells strong?
Meditation forces us to pause at least once a day and slow down. You do not need to be perfect at it or do it for an hour in the hills of a mountain either. Just simply find five minutes a day to yourself, throw on some relaxing music and close your eyes! You don’t even have to clear your mind because let’s face it: Nothing is going to clear a mother’s mind 100%! Instead, find a positive mantra to repeat over and over or find at least three things you love about yourself that you can think about while you are meditating. Or just sleep!
Your immune system will soak this up! It loves positive thoughts and a time to pause and re-boot. Antibodies have a chance to strengthen during this time, which is what you need to fight off all the germs.
This is my go to for everyone! You do not need to be an experienced “yogini” to do this! There are a lot of free audio online that you can download and listen to and it can also be your meditation time!
Yoga Nidra not only refuels you with rest – it draws you away from your senses and helps you to go inward. Think of your body like the dirt where we plant our seeds. We need the soil nurtured and taken care of in order for the plants to grow. Our immune system is like this same system. We need to go inward to nurture it, so it is strong to do its job! I practice Yoga Nidra even when I do get sick and it helps to fight it off faster.
Google it, find some audios and lay down! I became hooked to it after a week of trying it years back. Added Bonus: When practiced regularly, it actually changes the psyche and helps us shed limiting beliefs, so we can live more fully and joyfully!
Here is a great meditation with Yoga Nidra to buy!
You are in such a big transition right now mamma! It can be overwhelming and sometimes a little scary, especially if you are a first-time mom. Therefore, now is the time to learn to let go more than ever. I remember when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter and I was very nervous about every decision I made, starting in pregnancy. Once she was born, I soon realized that I needed to let go a little more. What I found is, this improved my well-being! Not just my psyche but my body. I felt stronger and more alive and enjoyed the present much more.
I also found that I would smile and laugh more. This truly does boost your immune system! It brings us back to that mind-body connection that you just read. Your body releases tension when you laugh up to an hour – giving your body a boost by helping your muscles to move the lymphatic system.
Release and give fuel to everything you feel. Motherhood is a time for ups and downs with so many emotions. Feel them ALL! Find a way to express them if they overwhelm you. Expressive art is one of the best therapies!
- Talk it out with your partner/spouse/close friend
When we suppress, our bodies regress. Stuffed emotions tend to come out with physical symptoms if we ignore them too long!
Here’s to hoping everyone has a healthy winter season!
Lindsay Gibson, Author & Pre/Postnatal Health Specialist
Editor for Beautiful Births & Beyond LLC