It's Time to Strengthen Your Immune System
It is time to build up your system before the holiday season is upon us and keep it strong for the winter. I’ve already seen the start of viral abdominal flus, so this will help prevent and minimize the typical viral and bacterial flus common at this time of year. I try to remind folks that having a cold or flu once a year year is a good thing. It helps to re-train and remind the immune system about what it needs to look out for and what it needs to destroy, and keeps it vigilant. It is like any other system in our body; if we don’t require it to practice, it will start to be less effective when we really need it. Many of you can relate to the first day skiing. If you have not done exercises that require the muscles to contract and relax and re-learn what they need to do, you may find yourselves sore the next day. It is exactly the same concept. If we keep on top of the system as we move into a different activity, or in this case new challenges, the response is much smoother. A good cold/flu response is mounting a fever that breaks after one night, with the duration of the cold/flu only three or four days. It is important to keep hydrated during that period, rest and replace electrolyes if necessary with miso broth, and not worry about eating much.
The important steps to bolster the system are:
1. Drinkat least one ounce of water per kilo of your body weight per day to flush toxins.
2. Eat a well-balanced diet with lots of veggies, fruit and whole grains, as we discussed in the past for adequate nutrients. (Look at previous articles for more detail.)
3. Minimize foods that compromise the immune system — you know, the stuff that comes in boxes or cans, with few real ingredients and lots of added chemicals. Remember, one teaspoon of sugar decreases immune function by 50% for four hours.
4. Minimize bad fats that are hydrogenated, oxidized or saturated that create a toxic load on the system. (Use coconut oil to replace butter, margarine, lard or shortening; olive oil to replace vegetable or cooking oil, almond, coconut, soy, hemp or goat milk to replace cow milk; and nut or seed butters to replace cheese, or use goat or sheep cheese
5. Consider maximizing a non-citrus neutral based Vitamin C at this time of year as a powder or capsule. Remember, no chewables or ascorbic acid or calcium ascorbate- this just wears the enamel off teeth and makes you acidic, so, not only can you not detoxify, but it contributes to your sugar load.
6. Consider a Multi-Vitamin & Mineral in capsule form to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need, unless you eat mostly organic foods.
7. Keep to a routine, so you are eating each meal at about the same time and keep to three meals per day. This keeps the blood sugar regulated properly to minimize cortisol, which minimizes any stress on the adrenal glands, liver and pancreas.
8. Get eight hours of sleep per night — remember every hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after midnight — to restore adrenal balance.
9. Minimize alcoholand acidic or stimulant drinks, including coffee, black or green or white tea, yerba mate, honey bush, rooibos and pop, to two or three per week to minimize adrenal stress.
10. Resolve any conflictsat work or at home as quickly as possible to restore adrenal balance.
11. Maintain some type of activity routine with a component of increased heart rate — walking, cross-country skiing, dancing, rebounding (etc.) with components of strength and flexibility such as yoga, Tai Chi or Pilates.
12. If you wish to strengthen your system even further, consider using the flu kit. These are available at this time of year. One vial is formulated for the most common, virulent strains of bacteria and viruses that year. The other vial optimizes the ability of the immune system to identify, locate, destroy and be more vigilant for any type of bad bug. You take them twice a week for 6 weeks to protect you for the season. I have many patients who have chosen this approach and have had little trouble with the colds and flus of the season.
If you tend to catch many colds/flus or have a compromised immune system, especially cancer or other chronic diseases, consider an appointment with Dr. Brenda Gill at 250-362-5035