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A Holistic Approach to Wellness During the Sick Season

Owner of Waconia Women's Health shares how to stay healthy this winter

As the seasons change, so does our susceptibility to illness. While there’s no surefire way to avoid getting sick, adopting a proactive approach to health will support your immune system and minimize the impact of seasonal bugs. Stephanie Braunwarth, a licensed acupuncturist, is board-certified in fertility, women’s health, and Chinese medicine. She is also the owner of Waconia Women’s Health and shares insights from her more than 10 years of experience, emphasizing Chinese medicine’s role as a lifestyle medicine.

Stephanie notes supplements should complement a healthy diet and lifestyle rather than serve as substitutes. Foundational health supports a strong immune system and starts with the basics – getting adequate sleep, managing stress, engaging in regular exercise, and steering clear of excessive sugar consumption. This means prioritizing movement, saying no more than yes, and being conscious of what you consume. 

It’s not a coincidence that cold and flu season runs from late October to late February. This aligns with holidays and celebrations that are often all about the sweets. Sugar contributes to inflammation and lowers your immune response. While you don’t have to avoid sugar altogether, indulging in moderation is important to stay healthy.  

“Chinese medicine is lifestyle medicine,” Stephanie emphasizes. “What choices are we making throughout our day that are free of charge and can have huge effects on our immune system?”

Handwashing is a simple yet effective practice. Maintaining good hygiene remains crucial in preventing the spread of illnesses, especially during the sick season.

When it comes to supplements, Stephanie knows what she likes and relies on over and over again. That being said, consulting with a healthcare professional is important to ensure supplements are right for you.

Some of her favorite supplements to support a healthy immune system include:

  • Vitamin C, known for its antioxidant properties, plays a vital role in supporting the immune system.
  • Vitamins D and A are also recognized contributors to overall immune function.
  • Glutathione, a potent antioxidant, and N-acetylcysteine (NAC), often used for sinus issues, round out her top picks.
  • For children, elderberry syrup in the form of gummies offers a tasty and immune-boosting option.

Stephanie uses herbal formulas, too. These formulas, readily available at her practice, can be taken at the onset of symptoms to help minimize both the severity and duration of illness.

In addition to supplements, Stephanie encourages integrating immune-boosting herbs and roots into daily meals. Garlic, known for its antimicrobial properties, and ginger root are excellent choices. By making intentional dietary decisions, individuals can further support their immune systems.

As the sick season approaches, Stephanie’s advice serves as a guide for cultivating a resilient immune system. Through a combination of lifestyle choices, effective supplements, and the incorporation of herbal remedies, individuals can empower themselves to navigate the changing seasons with greater resilience and well-being.

Cheers to a healthier year!

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