IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN
There are many lifestyle factors which will directly contribute to maintaining your good health and well-being, especially during the cold and flu season. Many of these factors are directly under your control and may help you keep your immune system strong! This is good news!
1. START NOW! Rather than waiting for a cold or flu to strike, be proactive and congratulate yourself for taking an active and vital role in your healthcare. Consider regular chiropractic care. Regular chiropractic adjustments strengthen and optimize the functioning of the master control system of your body – your amazing nervous system. Your nervous system controls all of the functions in your mind and body – including your immune system.
2. DON’T FEED THE BUGS! – Cold and flu bugs like to feed on sugar, so limit your intake of sugar and refined (simple) carbohydrates, especially during the cold and flu season. Sugar, white flour and other processed foods create stress and inflammation in your body and mind. This will also slow down your ability to heal. If you are using nutrition supplements or vitamins, talk with Dr. Weaver about what vitamin supplements you are taking, so he can help you determine if you are getting the most benefit from them.
3. EXERCISE – Engaging in regular exercise benefits not only your body and your mind but regular exercise also strengthens your immune system! In his best-selling book, SPARK, John Ratey, M.D. explains the new scientific discoveries regarding the role of exercise in improving mood and attention, strengthening your immune system and lowering stress and anxiety. Regular exercise also appears to guard against and even reverse some of the effects of aging on the brain. Dr. Ratey says: “In order for your brain to function at its peak, your body needs to MOVE”. Check with Dr. Weaver about the right exercise program for you.
4. HAVE YOUR VITAMIN D LEVELS CHECKED – Vitamin D deficiency has now been linked to lowered immunity. A recent review of the medical literature published in the New England Journal of Medicine (N Engl J Med, 2007; 357: 266-281), strongly suggests that a Vitamin D deficiency may be a contributing factor in the development of infections – such as the flu. We do not get the sun exposure in the winter months, like we do in the summer. This has been found to be a direct correlation as to why there are much fewer colds and flu in the summer. Boost that immunity with Vitamin D3
5. CONSIDER USING PROBIOTICS – Probiotics are the “good” bacteria which live in your gut and help keep your immune system strong. “Good” bacteria protect us from germs, viruses and other microorganisms that could cause disease. “Good” bacteria also assist us with the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients. Probiotics are available in dietary supplements. Yogurt also contains probiotics (but stay away from yogurt with lots of added sugar, remember…“don’t feed the bugs”). Most often, these “good” bacteria come from two groups, Lactobacillus (best for adults) or Bifidobacterium (best for children).
6. DEVELOP SKILLFUL STRATEGIES FOR WORKING WITH STRESS – Stress is a part of life. However, there are many scientific studies which now suggest that overwhelming physical, emotional and chemical stresses (if left untreated) can weaken your immune system and may make you more prone to colds and the flu. If we are overwhelmed by too much stress, our minds and bodies will respond as if our survival is being threatened, even if the “threat” is one we have created only in our minds, by getting “stressed out”. This is called your “fight or flight” or stress response. As part of your ”fight or flight” response, the body will TAKE ENERGY AWAY FROM YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM (the immune system requires a lot of energy to function) and use that energy to try and maintain your stress response and ensure, first and foremost, that you “survive”.
7. PRACTICE MINDFUL LIVING – Take time each day to enjoy being fully present with people (with face-to-face interactions rather than Facebook). Take a little break from the computer and engage in meaningful events and/or hobbies that are not computer-related. Live mindfully, in the present moment. Take yourself outdoors, if possible, and surround yourself with meaningful and inspiring experiences.
8. BE KIND TO YOURSELF AND STAY POSITIVE – Sometimes life can be very challenging and stressful. So, despite our best efforts, the functioning of our immune system may be lowered by too much stress and we might develop cold and flu symptoms. Stay positive, and remember that your body has an extraordinary capacity to heal itself if given the time and the right conditions. So, if you develop symptoms, take it easy, slow down and take care of yourself. Get plenty of restful sleep – this is the time when your body does the most healing. Drinking plenty of water will also help the healing process. Talk with Dr. Weaver about additional vitamins & nutrition supplements which will help you to strengthen and support your immune system. If symptoms persist, he will also recommend you seek further attention from your primary care doctor.
We appreciate the opportunity to be part of your healthcare team. Please share this information with family & friends to help them stay well too!
Be Active Be Healthy,Dr. Austin Weaver, DC