10 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR IMMUNITY OVER WINTER
Natural medicines both prescribed and over the counter, are used extensively by the general population over the winter months to help ward off cold and flu.
Natural medicines, are still medicines. They need to be used correctly to avoid side effects, contraindications with current medications and to be most effective for the current problem you’re experiencing.
It is important to speak to your Naturopath, who is trained in herbal and nutritional medicine to offer guidance before self-prescribing.
Your body needs assistance to strengthen itself and improve immunity to help fight the common cold or even the flu.
There are three common factors that can influence your immunity:
- Oxidative stress
- Immune system dysregulation
Stress reduces white blood cell activity, population and production.
Nutrient deficiency is a large contributing factor to lowered immunity, creating:
- Poor mucous membrane integrity
- Lowered digestive function
- Slow moving eliminatory pathways
- Poor absorption
Here are a few handy tips that you can implement at home over the winter period to strengthen your immunity:
- BONE BROTH:
These are broths, which are made from chicken frames, or other cuts you can pick up from the butchers. Bone broth is high in nutrients and minerals such as: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and sulphur. Furthermore, broths are rich in glucosamine which helps with reducing inflammation and are also easy for your body to absorb. You can find a good recipe online, or better still, you may have a family recipe jewel around.
- HYDRATION AND HYDROCHLORIC ACID
Have a glass of warm water with half a lemon 20 minutes prior to eating, this will aid with digestion by stimulating hydrochloric acid and stop the fermentation of food within the stomach (prevent bloat).
Oats are a great food as medicine, as they are a “nervine tonic” meaning they support your nervous system. You can add almond or coconut milk into the oats with frozen berries (which are high in antioxidants).
Include cinnamon into your daily porridge as it is warming and helps stimulate circulation, it is also anti-inflammatory and an aromatic digestive, this will help with eliminating bloat. You can include honey for sweetness as well as some extra antimicrobial properties to your morning ritual.
- CHAMOMILE TEA
Drink chamomile tea, as it can be anti-inflammatory, carminative, and have a sedating effect. If you don’t like hot drinks you can brew the tea cold, it will be refreshing and have the same effect as a hot tea.
- CELERY SEED
Add celery seed to your cooking; you can add a teaspoon into your bone broths. Celery seed is anti-inflammatory and can reduce rheumatic pain (which can be reactive during the colder periods).
Include more magnesium rich foods into your diet; you can substitute your rice with buckwheat when making curry. Buckwheat is rich in magnesium. Magnesium assists with muscle relaxation, Mitochondrial function (the energy powerhouse), cellular membrane stability, reducing anxiety and so much more!
- MELATONIN (Sleep)
Sour cherry juice has melatonin (sleep hormone) in it, which will help with sleep onset. A glass 20 minutes before bed may help you catch those Z’s faster (ZzzZZzZZZzzZ)
- GREEN TEA
Try changing your coffee for green tea as it has GABA producing properties, it’s full of antioxidants AND it helps with liver detoxification. Try not to have any stimulating drinks such as coffee, green or black teas after midday.
As Naturopaths we LOVE bitters, they will assist in bile production and aid phase 1 and 2 liver detoxification, they stimulate digestion and breakdown of foods.
Increase bitters in the form of the three R’s:
You can incorporate bitters into warm salads, with roast veggies and grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, or bulgur wheat. YUM!
If you would like any further information on how you can stimulate your Immune System and powerhouse through the winter months, make an appointment with us and we can answer any of your questions concerning your health!
IS MODERN LIFE CAUSING YOU ANXIETY?
Whilst modern life has enabled accessibility to a 24 hour lifestyle and social interactions, it also leaves us open to never-ending contact including work and unwanted after hours responsibilities (which MUST be complete before they build up). This reduces opportunities for respite and increases our anxieties, inhibiting our ability to thrive to the best of our abilities.
Anxiety is seen as a psychological disorder, often presenting with the following characteristics:
- Worried thoughts
- Apprehension, dread or terror
- Feelings of tension
Physical changes may manifest in:
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Decreased sex drive
- Dizziness and muscle tension.
The most preferred treatment of anxiety is currently pharmacological agents such as benzodiazepines, Beta-blockers and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRI’s/antidepressants), though these also come with side effects such as:
- Anticholinergic effects (Inhibiting the physiological action of acetylcholine, a chemical released by the nervous system in order to activate muscles)
- Withdrawal and tolerance
- Memory loss
- Weight gain
In stress situations cortisol levels in the blood are elevated, which inadvertently triggers a rise in protein breakdown and mobilisation of fatty acids, to provide glucose for fight of flight response leading to hyperglycaemic state and insulin resistance. High cortisol levels have also shown a decrease in inflammatory and immune responses.
GABA is a neurotransmitter which helps regulate the body’s internal rhythm whilst helping people manage stress and maintain mental focus. GABA elevates the production of alpha waves associated with feeling relaxed, as well as boosting mental alertness. Feel good GABA-producing foods include:
- Tree nuts
- Brown Rice
- Oats, whole grain
- Oranges, citrus fruits
- Rice bran
- Whole wheat, whole grains, wheat bran
As Naturopaths we have a dispensary of herbal and nutritional medicines with anxiolytic GABAergic activity, which may assist in:
- Reducing anxiety
- Promoting sleep
- Decrease insulin resistance
- Adapt to stressful situations
- Supporting patients while on prescription medications
- …and so much more!
We also have the ability to give lifestyle and diet advice; we listen to your concerns and figure out what’s most important to you.
So if you are suffering from anxiety and would like to find out how we can help, call 0414862350 and book a Naturopathic consultation.
(And remember, never cease taking your medication without speaking to your GP or the person who prescribed them to you first!)
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