In today's society we are used to going to the doctor only when we are sick (sick care), instead, we need to focus on preventative care. Do you want to mask symptoms or get the underlying problem fixed? Treating problems before they surface is more effective and cheaper. Boost your immune system year round with supplementation and chiropractic care to minimize sickness. Eating healthy year round can help you stay a few steps ahead of illness.
Food as medicine
- Onion: Red/Yellow; contain flavonols and quercetin, powerful antioxidants that help to decrease histamine release. Sulfur found in onions and garlic have anti-inflammatory properties which help to ease aches, pains and congestion caused by the cold/flu.
- Garlic: Contains allicin, an antioxidant with anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal capabilities. Helps to shorten and reduce cold symptoms. Allicin becomes active after being chopped/minced/crushed and is destroyed at high temperatures, so try to sprinkle freshly chopped garlic in soups, on pizza/pasta, etc. Allow garlic to "sit" for 10 minutes before ingesting to allow immune-boosting properties to become activated.
- Echinacea: Fights inflammation, bacterial/viral infections; boosts the immune and lymphatic systems by stimulating white blood cells. It can help to reduce the duration of a cold by several days when taken at the first sign of symptoms.
- Zinc lozenges: Decrease cold duration and helps to attack nose and throat viruses while boosting overall immunity. Take at the first sign of a cold for best results.
- Goldenseal: Contains the anti-fungal phytochemical, Beribine, which fights infection/inflammation and helps to strengthen the immune system. It can be found in combination with Echinacea; alcohol-free varieties are best. (Note: not to be taken for extended periods of time; take as directed by your healthcare provider.)
- Local honey: Boosts immunity by fighting viruses/bacteria. "In a Penn State University College of Medicine study, researchers found honey to be more effective than dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant) at reducing the frequency and severity of nighttime coughing" (Lissandrello, 2008). (Note: not for children under 12 months old.)
- Ginger: Contains anti-inflammatory phenols, gingerols and shogaols to help relieve cold/flu aches. Ginger also helps to decrease fever, eliminate toxins and allows the body to sweat, without the harsh side effects of ibuprofen. Use in teas/meals; fresh is best.
- Cayenne: Well known to help with joint pain, it also contains antiseptic properties to ease sore throats and decrease congestion by thinning mucus. (Note: not for nursing mothers or children under two years old.)
- Astragalus: (Herb) promotes white blood cell production to fight infection.
- Avoid sugar: Suppresses our immune systems and feeds bacteria.
- Kiwi: High in vitamin C and can reduce the severity and duration of upper respiratory infections.
- Siberian ginseng: A known adaptogen, allowing the body to restore balance and helps to strengthen the immune system.
- Probiotics: Healthy bacteria for vital for our bodies; suggested dosage is 3-5 billion live organisms daily. (Yogurt only contains 100-200 million organisms and less effective strains, along with excessive amounts of sugar and additives).
Minimizing and eliminating sugar, processed foods, refined carbohydrates, dairy products, preservatives/artificial chemicals will help to decrease stress placed on our bodies. Eating more vegetables, fruits, and incorporating different vitamins/herbs/minerals/spices into your daily lives for overall health is essential. Seeing your chiropractor regularly to make sure your nervous system is functioning optimally is also important for overall wellness. Chiropractic adjustments help to reduce dysfunction and allow your body to heal itself.
Keeping your immune system running at its best will help to prevent sickness. Fueling your body with the nutrients it needs on a daily basis, not only when you are sick, will help with overall health. Taking a variety of herbs and vitamins at the first sign of sickness is important to help decrease the intensity and duration of colds. Getting sick a few times a year doesn't have to be the norm; think about boosting your immune system year round to minimize the not so inevitable common cold.
Kitchen Prescriptions Lissandrello, Maria Source:Vegetarian Times, Nov/Dec2008, Issue 363, p78-83, 6p
Prescription for nutritional healing by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC
*Main image source: http://www.oralanswers.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/teeth_getting_hurt_this_cold_and_flu_season.jpg