Focus on Health:
Boosting Your Immune System Naturally
By: Dr. Trina Ting
Have you ever felt like there was no end to the so-called cold and flu season? That runny nose or cough has been lingering for weeks, and while you aren’t bed-ridden, you’re not exactly feeling in your optimum state of health. Your family physician prescribes some medication to deal with the post-nasal drip, and advises you to ride it out, as antibiotics aren’t going to help much. What is the solution?
The obvious saying here is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You may know that the following strategies help to boost your immune system, but here are some of the reasons these time-tested tips are still worth doing.
Sleep: Some studies have shown that your body produces more cytokines (cells that are part of our immune system) and more Ig-antibodies during sleep. Optimal sleep time for adults has been shown to be between 7-8 hours (more sleep may actually suppress the immune system). Teenagers typically require slightly more, 9-10 hours and children may need even more. (1)
Avoid Refined Sugar: Sugar may suppress your immune system. Stick to fruit sugars, ideally in the whole form of the fruit as you will get the added benefits of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fibres.
Increase Fluid Intake: Increasing your water intake can help assist your body’s excretory systems and further assist the circulation of blood and immune cells to the body. The old advice of chicken soup may actually be true: soup made from chicken bones contains B vitamins and other important minerals which your body needs to ward off germs.
Regular Exercise: Long-term effects of exercise can keep your weight down, lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugars. Moderate physical activity minimizes the production of cortisol, a stress hormone produced by the body that suppresses the immune system. The key word here is regular exercise: working out when you are already ill or about to become sick can temporarily suppress your immune system. Listen to your body: if you feel under the weather, it is better to skip your workout that day. However, regular moderate exercise when you are healthy can increase the number of immune fighting cells. Intense exercise (such as long heavy workouts or marathon training) has been shown to decrease your white blood cell count and increase the presence of stress hormones (2).
Rest/Meditation: I like to recommend people “power down”. Simply close your eyes for 2-5 minutes, let your mind drift, and relax for several times a day. This is not the same as sleep. Others have found that meditation works also. Taking a break from our hectic lives can help to decrease adrenaline and cortisol.
When you are already sick, the strategy is to do all of the above, with particular focus on sleep, diet, and skip your regular workouts. In the event of a prolonged illness, a light walk or very moderate activity will usually make you feel better instead of lying in bed all day. Remember, these tips apply to those who have already had other more serious causes of cold symptoms such as pneumonia ruled out. It is always safer to have your medical doctor check you when in doubt. There are many supplements on the market to help boost the immune system; we could write a whole book on that. Consult us at Advanced Chiropractic and Wellness Centre if you have questions about supplementation or nutritional needs.
- Morgenthaler TI (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 8, 2012.
- Medline Plus, US National Library of Medicine. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007165.htm
A Natural Flu Shot
By: Michelle Chin, ND
Having your immune system on high alert is a good idea throughout the winter months, particularly if you are prone to colds and flus. PascoleucynTM helps to increase the body’s natural defenses against the flu virus.
Let’s get a head start for the long winter season!
PascoleucynTM can be injected or it can be drinkable for children or for those afraid of needles. The only advantage of an injectable is that it is absorbed right away by the body, and bypasses the digestive system.
What else can you do to prevent the flu?
- Take PascoleucynTM at the beginning of the flu season
- Take PascoleucynTM when others around you are getting ill
- Wash your hands frequently with hot and soapy water
- Exercise regularly
- Eat immune-positive foods: Vitamin C, antioxidants, garlic, etc.
- Keep hydrated
- Relax & get enough sleep
No need to be a current patient! Anyone can receive the flu shot, please call to book your appointment.
Cost $20 + HST
Recipe: Broccoli Pasta with Parmesan Croutons
Recipe from: marthastewart.com
- 1/2 baguette, cubed (3 cups)
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce), plus more for serving
- Salt and pepper
- 3/4 pound medium pasta shells
- 1 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets, stalks peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together bread, 1 tablespoon oil, and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Bake unit golden and toasted, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 2 minutes less than package instructions; add broccoli and cook 2 minutes. Reserve ½ cup pasta water, then drain.
- Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil and garlic to pot and cook until garlic is fragrant and lightly golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add pasta mixture; toss to combine, adding enough pasta water to create a light sauce that coats pasta. To serve, sprinkle with croutons, lemon zest, and additional Parmesan if desired.
Did you know?
Broccoli is loaded with fiber. Foods high in fiber and nutrients can help weight loss efforts by increasing the feeling of being full, thereby eating less. Fiber is necessary to “soak-up” toxins dumped into the intestines by the liver. Without fiber, the toxins are reabsorbed into our bodies wreaking havoc on our systems.