Holidays Season is a great time for family, tradition, giving and receiving. Sometimes it can be tough on our systems, both physically and mentally. Below is a great guide to staying away from the cold and flu season, and how to avoid physical and mental anguish while braving the holiday crowds.
Stay Healthy And Avoiding Colds & Flu’s
1) Boost your Good Bugs
Probiotics have shown to help with the immune system as well with helping with digestion. Most of us have had bouts of infections and sickness which in turn means bouts of antibiotics if we have entered traditional medicine. Antibiotics are like napalm, they destroy all flora, even our naturals flora. Many of our meats have been doused with antibiotics and our produced irradiated. Studies have shown our ancestors had very high levels of probiotics and gut flora as compared to our levels today, especially the strain Lactobacillus plantarum299v. I recommend beginning to boost your population. When exposed to germs and bugs, they will have to compete with this natural flora as well as your immune system. It’s a great 1-2 punch!
Good Belly Juice and Yogurts at Whole Foods or Sprouts.
A great guide and list of Probiotics at Whole Foods
Want to buy them online, here is a high quality and good company: Innate Choice (www.Innatechoice.com)
2)Lot’s of Enemies, So Amp up Your immune system
Our immune system fights battles on many fronts. Give your body the “fire-power” it needs to ward off foreign invaders. Below are some vitamins, herbs, and foods that will help!
Chiropractic Manipulation has been shown to prime the immune system and put your body in an optimal state to defend yourself. Want to read the study, it’s not an easy one but here you go (Interleukin 2-regulated in vitro antibody production following a single spinal manipulative treatment in normal subjects)
Vitamin D. It’s not just for your bones anymore. Some recent studies show it boosts our immune system and regulate autoimmunity. Many of us are Vitamin D deficient, thankfully most primary providers are now testing for these levels. We naturally produce this hormone/vitamin while absorbing sunlight, but many of us are trapped indoors strapped behind our computers or bundled up in clothes we don’t get the necessary levels of sunshine. So get out and get sunshine, or supplement with 1000-2000 IUs of Vitamin D through these winter months (careful…you can take too much D so don’t over Do it). Here is a study on Vitamin D and Influenza
Zinc is another supplement that helps boost the immune system at the preliminary stages of getting a cold. Zinc Lozenges or Airborne are good sources of this
Most natural or folk therapies have not been tested in rigorous controlled trials in diverse populations, and for those that have, studies have often had mixed results. It is prudent to ensure good hygiene,adequate rest, and adequate fluid intake, while avoiding deficiencies of essential nutrients. Taken prophylactically, echinacea can reduce the risk for Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (URTI) in adults by 58%; some data also support the use of garlic, American ginseng, pelargonium, and probiotics in adults to prevent or treat URTI. In children, some data suggest that vitamin C and echinacea can help reduce the risk for prolonged URTIs.
3) Your mother knows best, Wash your hands and don’t pick your nose!
Sounds way to simple “Wash your Hands and don’t pick your nose!” The most common form of transmission is from our hands to mouth or nose. Cold weather does equal more crowds indoors touching more things, so transmission of “germs” is more likely. It’s the equivalent to playing in the middle of the freeway versus a city street, you are more likely to get exposed/hit with something in a well traveled area. So wash your hands frequently with soap and water, not just anti-bacterial wipes/sprays/gels. The physical act of scrubbing helps (article here). And don’t point at your brain, pick a winner, or dig for nose goblins…just blow your nose (especially when your driving for those of us commuters).
4) Put the germs on a diet!
Sugary diets, with refined flours and inflammatory foods is like throwing a gas on the fire. If you feel the sniffles, or the itchy throat…avoid sugary foods, snacks, juices, and starchy snacks. Go gonzo on the green veggies, organic low sodium chicken broth, healthy fats (nuts/avocados) and moderate fresh fruit.
Shopping and Braving the Crowds
5)Don’t Commit Shoe-a-cide!
If you know you are going to brave the malls or spend the day “out and about”,remember to treat your feet well. Proper footwear will help your knees, hips, back and so on. Ladies, leave the high heels in the closet if you know you are spending 2+ hours on your feet. And sorry San Diegans, flip flops sandals all day long are almost as bad. If you know you will be standing in lines or walking a bit, please don’t be vain, be practical and wear proper shoes. Here is a great article on the effect of high heels…..here.
Don’t commit Shoecide please!!!
6) Minimize and balance
As a health practitioner I always cringe watching the size of the bags/purses/satchels etc. some people carry around. Try to be a minimalist and not lug around 82 lbs. of “just in case”. Heavy bags can lead to neck strain, shoulder pain, back pain. If you buy items, try to balance the goodies in each arm instead of lugging them around, or go to the car and put them in the trunk and then walk back (sneak in a bit of cardio)
7) Stay Hyrdated
Dry air, sweating more in the warmer clothes, increased coffee consumption this time of the year (I’m a bit guilty of that) can get us dehydrated. Make sure when you go out to the malls, bring a bottle of water or coconut water if you need a bit of flavor. Avoid the sodas, energy drinks, and sugary drinks.
8 ) Replace Consumerism with Humanism
Have one of those people that are always hard to find a gift for? They have everything and don’t want anything. Donate to a charity in their name. Do they really need a third fleece sweatshirt? With our economy the past few years, there are some great non-profits locally and nationally that could really use some holiday giving. Great Gift Idea! Here are a few of my favorites, if you need some ideas
Girls on the Run
Father Joes Village
Environmental Working Group
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society-Team in Training
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Chrohns & Colitis Foundation of America-Team Challenge
National Parkinson Foundation
Pay it forward