Staying Well through the Winter
Greetings, everyone! We have made it to December, and you know what that means: colder days, less outdoor exercise and much more holiday stress! For most people, this also means more parties, more eating out and more sugary treats. Have you ever wondered, is it a just coincidence that “cold and flu season” just happens to occur when we reduce our daily sunshine and let other priorities take the place of our healthy habits?
This time of year, there is no shortage of reminders to “get your flu shot.” However, this medical intervention is not very effective, it comes with some risks and its ingredients are not safe for everyone. Read more on www.nvic.org. We have a long list of other options that we believe are much healthier and safer for maintaining your health and vitality:
Vitamin D levels must be sufficient in order to achieve deep sleep and to make proper use of your B vitamins. Vitamin D is a sex hormone precursor and it helps maintain strong T-regulatory cells within our immune system. Through the summer, we are able to make a decent amount of vitamin D if we get some daily sunlight exposure and consume a good amount of essential fatty acids. We also get some vitamin D from foods like salmon, eggs and meat. However, once we start wearing long sleeves and staying indoors on the weekends, just about everyone becomes deficient. For this reason, we often recommend supplementation with vitamin D3 through the winter.
Cod Liver Oil is like an “insurance policy” for Americans, who are unlikely to eat organ meats, and thus are often lacking in vitamins A and D, which cod liver oil naturally provides. Vitamin A is necessary for proper utilization of vitamin D within the body. Cod liver oil also supplies essential fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are necessary for brain function and development, as well as reducing inflammation. Cod liver oil is known to provide healing action within the intestinal lining, where the majority of our immune system resides.
Fresh Fruit The natural, whole vitamin C complex in fresh fruits like kiwi, berries and oranges is immensely supportive to the immune system. Consuming the whole fruit with the fiber slows the absorption of sugar and gives many other vitamins, too. The whole vitamin C complex consists of bioflavonoids, antioxidants, rutin and tyrosinase, in addition to the ascorbic acid, which acts like a preservative for the rest. Your body doesn’t make vitamin C on its own, and it doesn’t store it, either. So, it’s important to consume these foods on a regular basis. What about those cheap ascorbic acid supplements on the market? These can be helpful temporarily if you are already sick, because they acidify the gastrointestinal tract. However, they are a poor approach for long-term health, as they don’t provide the full vitamin C complex that comes in whole, fresh fruit, and furthermore, can cause damage to the kidneys over time.
Homemade Chicken Broth is so easy and economical to make at home. Once you get the hang of it, you will never want to buy that store-bought watered-down broth again! Homemade broth contains loads of minerals that come directly from the bones and the bone marrow. You can use the bones from chicken, duck, beef, lamb or fish. Bone broth can be cooked anywhere from 3 to 36 hours in a crock pot, or can be made in about 45 minutes in a pressure cooker. Either way, it is the most economical healing food you can consume. Bone broths contain fantastic minerals for supporting the immune system and healing the gut lining. As an alternative, you can take a good quality whole-foods multi-mineral supplement, like Immuplex from Standard Process.
Probiotics and Living Foods Lacto-fermented foods are living foods – literally teeming with beneficial bacteria and enzymes – you should realize that one of the foundational keys to great health is having a diverse living population of bacteria in the gut. Why – because a strong microbiome assists in our digestion, keeps Candida and parasites at bay, strengthens our immune system, creates B vitamins,and helps remove heavy metal exposures from our gut. The biofilm that is created by these living organisms coats our intestinal tract and serves as our first line of defense from environmental toxins. So how to start? An easy first step is to try Coconut Kefir – it is a consistency like yogurt and can be flavored with fruit or cinnamon, or enjoyed mixed with seeds or granola. My other favorites include Ginger-Berry Kombucha or fermented Beet Kvass. If you prefer to take a probiotic, we recommend a variety of strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium – even better with some Saccharomyces added in. Make sure any probiotic you take is not cultured on a potential food allergen – like dairy, corn, wheat or soy. Our favorites? Prosynbiotic or Lact-Enz by Standard Process, and Probiotic Sufficiency by Innate Choice.
Exercise There is nothing like exercise to help boost the metabolism, as well as mitochondrial growth in our cells, which helps create energy. Physical activity does many things to support good health, such as: it can flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways, it stimulates white blood cells, it increases body temperature, and slows the release of stress hormones that can have a suppressive effect on the immune system. We recommend that you incorporate short, fast intervals to your regular cardio training. Bounce and jump to move your lymph. And sweat, sweat, sweat!
Herbs Oh my goodness, where do I start discussing my favorite herbs?!? Most people have heard of Echinacea, but did you know that it works best the longer you take it; you are not getting its best benefit if you only take it when you start feeling ill. Furthermore, there tend to be quality issues with cheap Echinacea on the market. If you compare to our liquid Echinacea Premium made by Mediherb, you will instantly notice the potency as it tingles your tongue with its powerful “echinacosides. In addition, Astragalus root supports the immune system, your vigor and vitality, as well as a healthy stress response. And Mediherb’s Andrographis Complex, which also includes Holy Basil as well as Echinacea, is an even more targeted support for upper respiratory tissues. Did you know that the multitude of adaptogenic herbs like Ashwaganda, Rehmannia, Eleuthero and Rhodiola can also benefit the immune system, because of their powerful effects modulating the stress response? With so many choices, it really helps to have an expert opinion. Let us help you with a personalized herbal protocol to fit your needs.
Chiropractic adjustments are a regular lifestyle choice for all of us here at East Cobb Spine & Sport. Numerous research studies have shown that chiropractic care positively impacts immune system function. Maybe some of you still reach for OTC cold meds, but if we get the sniffles, we run to our amazing chiropractors – Dr. Bacon and Dr. Wilkie! Adjusting the spine gives an immediate boost to the function of the central nervous system, which controls EVERYTHING. When the central nervous system functions at 100%, the immune system has more power, the stress response is more appropriate, and deeper growth and repair is possible. For more information about how chiropractic care can help the immune system function better, visit www.chiro.org/research and www.icpa4kids.org.
And I suppose it goes without saying that we should minimize unhealthy influences like alcohol and sugar. Unfortunately, these have a direct and detrimental effect on your immune function.
There are so many things you can do to stay well!
Contact us for recommendations for your unique health concerns!