With Ebola in the news and cold/flu season settling in, it's a great time to take note of ways you can keep your immune system healthy and strong! Here are the most common tips I give to my patients during this season:
Water! Roughly 75% of our body is made of of water and when we don't replenish this reservoir our body becomes stagnant and dry. When our mouth, nose and throat tissues dry up, they are can't actively flush out unwanted viruses/bacteria leaving a perfect opportunity for them to stay, multiply and have a party in our sinuses...
Vitamin D! Research shows 60-70% of Canadians are deficient in this vitamin which plays a key role in keeping your immune system strong. If you are one of the many who have stopped drinking cow's milk, you may be at higher risk because this milk is fortified with extra Vitamin D... Consider supplementing with 1000 I.U. a day (liquid is best) and ask your doctor to check your levels next time you are in. More and more research is showing low Vitamin D levels connected to cancer, heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.
Green Tea! This one also helps to address point #1. Green tea contains a special polyphenol called catechins which have been shown to kill the influenza virus! To maximize benefits and minimize bitterness, add your green tea bag to just-below-boiling water and only steep for one minute. Don't add milk! The proteins in milk bind to the polyphenols rending them useless.
Move your body! Each time we flex, walk, jump or somersault (... for you kids-at-heart out there) your lymphatic system is pumped around your body. This allows your white blood cells (your immune army) to find and destroy viruses and bacteria. When we sit and lay most of the day, our lymphatic fluid becomes stagnant and inefficient. Throw on your sneakers and hit the sidewalks for a brisk walk today!