GET BACK ON TRACK (THE HEALTHY ONE) AFTER THE HOLIDAYS!
Sleep, exercise, and managing stress can help you get your immune system reset. However, you'll need to boost it by eating and drinking certain foods and beverages and avoiding others. Here's the lowdown...
BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM WITH NUTRITION!
• Remove alcohol and soda, sugar and items made with white flour.
•Increase consumption of citrus fruits, (such as grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes, clementines), kiwi, papaya, bell peppers, especially red (organic – these are on the dirty dozen), broccoli (fresh is expensive right now, but Costco has a large bag of frozen organic), and spinach (broccoli and spinach also are high in Vitamin A). These are all high in Vitamin C, which is thought to increase white blood cell production. We need white blood cells to fight infections.
Foods have the synergistic effects of including everything your body needs for digestion and absorption. If you opt for Vitamin C capsules, please be sure to include bioflavonoids, such as Quercetin, to enhance absorption effectiveness. Quercetin can be taken as a separate supplement and is a powerful flavonoid that is not only highly effective for allergy symptoms, but also has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. In foods, it is found in onions and colorful foods, especially citrus, apples, kale, blueberries and sweet potatoes. It’s also in green tea and red wine (keep this to a minimum though). For more information about Quercetin.
• Make and eat/drink chicken broth and soups made with it. It’s really true that chicken soup is a healing and comforting food. It’s high in Vitamin B6, which is vital to the formation of new, healthy red blood cells. B cells create antibodies that attack bacteria, viruses, and toxins that enter the body. The chicken bones also contain collagen and other healthy nutrients for gut healing and immunity. If you choose to boost your health with Vitamin B supplements, ask one of our pharmacists for a B-complex with the most absorbable forms of the Bs, especially with the Pyridoxyl-5-Phosphate (P5P) form of B6.
• Drink green tea and other immune system herbal teas (check out BueTEAful Teas at the Moncton Market or Bear Roots Forest on their Facebook page). There are many herbs with preventative and symptom-relieving properties. Combinations work synergistically together, as well as improve taste.
• Be sure to get your Vitamin D. We don’t get the right angle of the sun here in the Maritimes even of a sunny wintery day, but pasture-raised eggs (especially the yolks), yogurt (coconut for those needing to be dairy-free) with live cultures and Vitamin D fortified, fish, pasture-raised beef and butter. We have several options for supplements, both liquid and in gel caps and this may be the best option for most of us. Talk to a pharmacist about the amount you’ll need.
• Eat fish, especially shellfish for Zinc. Zinc is one of the most used minerals in our bodies for enzymatic activity. Also, the oily fish provide you with Essential Fatty Acids, beneficial for brain health – both memory and neurotransmitters for mood boosting), as well as joint health. Not a fish lover or just don’t feel you get enough in your diet? Try Ford’s Super EPA/DHA.
• Eat almonds and avocadoes for Vitamin E and Essential Fatty Acids.
• Cook with onions, turmeric, garlic and ginger for anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacteria, anti-viral properties (next few blogs will be on using herbs and spices in cooking and how each one works).
• And, last, but not least: DRINK PLENTY OF WATER! Because you’re not hot, you may think you’re not thirsty, but cold, dry conditions mean our bodies are dehydrated just as easily as in summer when we sweat. Try beginning your morning by squeezing half a lemon in your water to set your digestive and immune systems up for a great start to the day.
REMEMBER: If you do get a fever, aches and pains, remember that is your body’s immune system at work. As long as you can take it, try not to suppress the symptoms. Having a fever and inflammation can be unpleasant, but they’re signs that your body is doing its job. Fever releases white blood cells, increases metabolism, and stops certain organisms from multiplying. Inflammation occurs when each damaged cell releases histamines. The histamines cause the cell walls to dilate. This creates the redness, heat, pain, and swelling of inflammation. As a result, your body limits the effects of the irritant.
Your immune system works hard to protect you every day, but there are things you can do to help it out. In summary:
• Get a good night’s sleep. Your body can’t function correctly if you aren’t sleeping well.
• Practice good hygiene. Washing your hands regularly can prevent infections.
• Eat a balanced diet and get plenty of exercise. Eating nutritious food and staying active will help your body fight