It’s that time of year again! The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting colder, and many of us are getting ready to hibernate (sort of) for the winter! It can be easy to feel cold and tired, while always on the look out to prevent those dreaded fall and winter illnesses. Often we would do almost anything for a boost, so why not boost the immune system while we are at it?
This is one of the worst times of the year for a lecture on the importance of diet, but it IS so important! Candy, pies, cookies, drinks, and carbohydrate-laden meals often become staples in our diet through the holidays. But be careful because these are some of the foods that can be pro-inflammatory and mucogenic, and they can decrease our immune system. Dairy, sugar, processed, and caffeine containing foods are some of the more dangerous foods when trying to support immune health. Sensitivities or allergies aside, these foods should be fine to be consumed in moderation. As a rule, day-to-day diet should be largely plant-based with lean protein options. Grains and dairy should have a more minimal part in daily nutrition, and sugar should be consumed on a rare basis.
Ask your chiropractor if there are any supplements that may be helpful. Some nutrients that can boost immunity include, but are not limited to: selenium, zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and B vitamins. There are many supplements that are based in whole food nutrition, too, and these frequently can be absorbed better by the body. A great option is to incorporate immune boosting foods into daily diet. These foods include, but are not limited to: berries, tea, wheat germ, sweet potato, and cruciferous vegetables. They often contain high levels of antioxidants and the immune boosting vitamins mentioned above.
Don’t forget to take a probiotic! Probiotics can help build up the good bacteria in the gut so that we can fight against toxins and disease. Look for a probiotic supplement with a bacteria count in the billions. Fermented foods, yogurt without added sugar, and kefir, can be great options for foods with good probiotics too.
Exercising increases respiration rate and blood flow throughout the body. The respiratory tract can filter bacteria and viruses from the air we breathe, and the circulatory system can pump toxins to detoxification organs in the body. When each of these systems escalates, our disease prevention capabilities improve too. Exercise also slows down the release of stress hormones, and it produces endorphins to act as a sort of natural pain reducer. Plus, when we exercise we often feel healthier. We can better ourselves both physically and mentally through exercise, which can begin to boost our immune system in no time. Start with 30 minutes of physical activity throughout the day. Before beginning an exercise regimen, ask your chiropractor what activities may be best for you or if there are any activities to avoid.
Not getting enough sleep can increase stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body, which increases inflammation. Additonally, T-cells, a type of immune cell, may decrease in our system; and inflammatory cytokines may increase during periods of sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation also may lead to increased C-reactive protein, which is another inflammatory marker. This increased inflammation may hinder immune capabilities.
Not only does our disease prevention improve with sleep; our disease fighting capabilities improve too. For example, with better sleep comes a better fever response, which allows your body to fight off infection! Don’t be afraid of an occasional mild fever—it means your immune system is working! Strive for the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Your immune system will thank you!
Monitor stress levels, as increased stress hormones in your system may leave your body more open for infection. There is so much to do, and the quantity of our obligations often increase, during the winter and holiday season. Don’t stress. It will all get done. Make a priority list of the activities and events that are most important to you, and begin to accomplish them one by one. Talk with your chiropractor about stress reducing techniques, like meditation, listening to soothing music, or physical activity. By reducing stress, we can boost our immune system!
Chiropractic adjustments are meant to improve the function of the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is the part of the nervous system that controls everything you cannot consciously control. Some examples that the autonomic nervous system controls include: internal body temperature, heart beat, breathing, digestion, adrenal glands, and immune function. When we are adjusted, our body increases the production of certain white blood cells and CD-4 “helper” T-cells, which work to fight infection. Our body also reduces the presence of inflammatory cytokines after an adjustment. This is one reason we feel less pain after an adjustment, but it may also lead to a boosted immune system. While chiropractic adjustments do not “cure” disease, they definitely help our immune system to fight harder!
Sometimes, it can be good just to start fresh. By cleansing or purifying nutritionally, it can feel like starting with a clean slate. Cleansing can help the body to eliminate toxins and reduce inflammation. Most cleanses help to stimulate the detoxification organs of the body, like the liver, intestines, and kidneys. While the liver and kidneys help to filter toxins from the body, the intestines form a barrier, and create antibodies, against toxins. This is so important because up to 80% of a person’s immune system is found in the gut. It is a good idea to ask your chiropractor before starting a cleanse because there may be a certain type of program that would best suit an individual’s needs.
Be on the lookout, and sign up, for upcoming nutrition classes with Kate Parker on November 7th, December 1st, and December 15th! Standard Process Purification group program is set to begin at the start of the New Year and attendance at one of these nutrition classes is mandatory to participate.
Riverview Chiropractic Health will be closed on Thanksgiving Day,11/24/2016. We are all so thankful for all of our patients, friends, and families at our office and hope you have a blessed day! What are you thankful for?
For this recipe, just throw a whole chicken in the slow cooker with dried thyme and vegetables. Then let it simmer away until the chicken falls apart in the rich, chicken-y broth. Take the chicken out, shred the meat, and add it back to the slow cooker, then stir in cooked egg noodles, or steamed white or wild rice to make it even heartier.
8 cups (2 quarts) water
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large dice
3 medium celery stalks, large dice
1 medium yellow onion, small dice
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 (4- to 5-pound) whole chicken, neck and giblets removed from the cavity
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 cups steamed white rice, steamed wild rice, or cooked egg noodles (optional, see above)
1. Place the water, carrots, celery, onion, and bay leaf in a 6-quart or larger slow cooker and stir to combine; set aside.
2. Place the measured salt, measured pepper, and thyme in a small bowl and stir to combine; set aside.
3. Place the chicken on a work surface or cutting board and pat it dry with paper towels. Cut off and discard any extra fat hanging around the body cavity. Drizzle the oil on the chicken and rub it all over the skin. Season inside and out with the thyme mixture. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the slow cooker. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through and falling off the bones, about 6 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
4. Transfer the chicken to a rimmed baking sheet. When it’s cool enough to handle but still warm, use your hands to shred the meat into bite-sized pieces (discard the skin, cartilage, and bones). Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker and add the parsley.
5. Add the rice or noodles, if using, and stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
This soup can be made through step 4, cooled to room temperature, and frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 month (freeze the rice or noodles separately, if using). Thaw the soup and rice or noodles in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, reheat the soup, then stir in the rice or noodles. You’ll need to make steamed white rice, steamed wild rice, or cooked egg noodles before you begin.
“Like” us and “Share” us on Facebook and keep you and your friends up to date with health tips, articles and office news: www.facebook.com/RiverviewChiropracticHealth