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Friday, August 26, 2011

Have a healthy fall

Fall is my 
New Year.
It was always an exciting time: a few new clothes, new books and new pencil crayons!
Of course that was a while ago, but I still get butterflies in my stomach every fall.

When we get back to the fall school routine and when kids go back to school (3-25yrs), we’re all going back to a petri dish of germs and bacteria in; mass transit, school railings and public door handles. Building up a good immune foundation to face these little critters will help you avoid getting sick is essential.

As a practitioner I work with my patients and their families to improve their immune systems so that they can avoid cold and flu completely. 

Here are a few tips.

What are some immune boosters? 

Drink filtered water. Water is the oil that runs our engine. Mild dehydration can make you feel tired and dry membranes are more prone to nose bleeds and infections. The rule is 2-2.5L/day for adults and 1-1.5L for kids. Try peppermint or herb teas to help flavour your water and avoid artificial sweeteners to flavour your water.

Eat your dark greens. Dark greens are loaded with protective vitamin A, D, E, C, K, calcium, potassium, manganese, folic acid, magnesium, antioxidants, natural pre-biotics and fiber to flush out your system.

Brightly coloured fruits & vegetables. Orange, yellow and red fruits are the best bio available source of natural vitamin C, vitamin A, E and contain lots of antioxidants to help maintain health. Fruits should be eaten as whole foods and not as juice.

Good probiotic yogurt. Our immune system powerhouse is in our intestines so keeping up with good probiotics will help boost your immune system. The most beneficial are BioK and Kefir, sources of natural probiotics without all the sugar that most conventional yogurts contain.

Oats and Barley. These grains contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber with antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities more potent than Echinacea and boosts immunity.

Garlic. This pungent little bulb contains the active ingredient allicin, which fights infection and bacteria. A British study has shown that those that ate 2 raw cloves a day were 2/3 less likely to catch cold.

Fish. The Omega 3 rich fish like: salmon, herring, sardines and mackerel contain anti-inflammatory EPA decreasing the inflammation in the lungs from respiratory infections. Shellfish contains selenium that is a great antioxidant, helps maintain elasticity in our veins (including ones in the lungs) and increases white blood cells to help us fight an infection.

Immune booster smoothie:
1 1/2C filtered water
1C frozen blueberries
1/2C frozen raspberries
1/2C raw almonds
1 sachet of ginseng tea
1tbsp flax seed oil or fish oil
1tbsp phyogreens
1 scoop hemp protein powder
1tbsp agave nectar
• Place all of these in a blender and blitz until it's well blended.
Makes 1Lt, serves one.

Get outside! Comparing an indoor walk and an outdoor walk, British studies found an outdoor workout increased energy and decreased frustration, more than the indoor walk. With exercise you increase the oxygen into your system including more oxygen to your brain, making you more effective processing stress.

SMILE! Positive attitudes have a great benefit to good health, these people get sick less often, and they deal better with stress and recover faster. Laughing brings the focus away from negative feelings and provides a physical and emotional relief. Plus smiles are a good contagion, spread them happily!

Homeopathic medicines.
Homeopathic medicines are great at preventing the flu and cold and they’re also amazing to treat cold and flu symptoms. We can actually give homeopathic medicine to prevent flu's and colds.  They’re safe for anyone at any age and stage of health; even expecting mothers, newborns and the elderly can benefit from taking homeopathic medicines. Interested in the Free Flu Clinic? Click here for more information

What are the immune busters?
Besides the standards: overeating, large deposits of body fat, high processed foods, artificial sweeteners and over indulging in alcohol.

Stress. Ok I know you hear this all the time but this sucks your immune system dry. Kids get a recess to recharge; you need to give yourself a recess. Walk 1/2hr in the morning, walk 1/2hr at lunch and another 1/2hr after dinner. You’re removed from the stressful situation, you’ve added
1 1/2hrs of exercise; you’ve increased your oxygen intake and reduced your stress levels.

Sugar. Think about when the flu season really begins – after times of indulgence like: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentines Day. It’s not only the candies and cookies that kids indulge but the alcohol adults consume. One small cube of sugar = 4g, enough power to reduce our immune system 60% for up to 4 hours. Moderate how many goodies you indulge in to maintain your health.

What to do if you start to feel under the weather?

Echinacea It’s a great way to ward off the onset of a cold. Start at the first sign of; sneezes, sore, scratchy throats or sniffles, but dose yourself for two weeks only, after that it reduces your immune system.

Zinc is essential to your immune system. When you start to feel the tell tale sore throat, you can suck away on zinc lozenges to help reduce or even stop your illness in it’s tracks.

Vitamin C (as a full bioflavonoid) can be taken as a supplement all season long. We lose Vit C through urine so it’s something we can take all day long to maintain our immune system. If you take a lot and start getting diarrhea, cut back on your dose until the diarrhea stops.

Let your child have a fever.
Physicians are now realizing that a child with a fever is a good sign that their immune system is working. There are caveats to this: if your child has a high fever but is playing happily (just quieter than normal) keep and eye on the fever but let them ride it out. I’ve let my kids shoot up to 104ºF, they were in good spirits and liked the cool bath and homemade popsicles.

If a child has a high fever and is listless and not very responsive this is much more concerning. This is a time when you want to bring the fire inside them under control quickly, cool baths, homemade popsicles, lots of clear liquids and if needed a dose of children’s medication will bring it under control.

In Conclusion
Like everything in life, moderation in indulgences, live, love, laugh, maintain a positive attitude and homeopathic preventative medicines you’re set to have an illness free winter season (and life).

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