Fall is officially here - and NOW is the time to prepare your body for cold and flu season. Fall generally starts the downward spiral of illnesses and viruses spreading around schools and workplaces. So, what can you do to strengthen your immune system and minimize illness?
1. Get adjusted.
The nervous system and immune system are hardwired and work together to create optimal responses for the body to adapt and heal appropriately. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to boost the coordinated responses of the nervous system and the immune system. A reputable research group found that when a spinal adjustment was applied to a misaligned vertebra, the white blood cell (neutrophil) count collected rose significantly. White blood cells are the cells of the immune system that are involved in protecting the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders. At Radiant Life Chiropractic, we have developed affordable ways for you and your family to get adjusted on a regular basis.
2. Reduce stress.
When your body is experiencing stress it weakens your immune system. Repeated exposure to stressful situations can really compromise your well-being both mentally and physically. While we can't avoid stress altogether, minimizing your exposure can help keep your defenses strong. Whether you are dealing with stress infrequently or often, it is important to find ways to manage it. There will always be stress, but it's how you respond and adapt to the stress that matters. Find relaxing activities that help you find peace and calm down. Some recommendations include breathing, yoga, meditation, listening to music, going for a walk, laughter, etc.
3. Support the immune response.
There are a variety of immune boosting supplements we recommend. For example, without an adequate amount of Vitamin D, there is less calcium uptake in the bloodstream. Vitamin D can boost your immune system, so be sure you are getting enough of it from the foods you eat, exposure to the sun, or supplementation. Living in Minnesota, we recommend supplementing Vitamin D. Fall is the time to be building up your storage of Vitamin D in preparation of winter. For other recommendations, please ask at your next visit.
It is very important to trust the source and quality of the supplements you take. In February of this year, the Attorney General focused on a variety of herbal supplements from four major retailers: GNC, Target, Walmart, and Walgreens. It was determined that only 21% of the products actually had DNA from the plants advertised on the labels. Only 4% of the products tested at Walmart showed DNA from the plants listed on the labels.
The supplements that we carry can only be purchased through a healthcare practitioner. We are very careful with what we offer our patients and have thoroughly researched the products, companies, ingredient sources, and business practices. Additionally, Dr. Barnes has personally made on-site visits to most of the companies we work with.
4. Get enough sleep.
When you are deprived of sleep, your body is less likely to defend itself against illnesses. Sleep can also help to reduce stress hormones and decrease inflammation in the body. Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night to keep your immune system strong and healthy.
5. Get some exercise.
Exercise causes changes in antibodies and white blood cells. Even just 30 minutes of exercise a day can help to strengthen your immune system and promote weight loss.
6. Eat good food.
Your immune system could be suffering if you are not eating a diet that is full of vitamins and nutrients. Sugar and refined carbohydrates actually reduce the cells in your immune system that attack bacteria. Eating foods like fruits, vegetables, and high quality protein will supply your immune system with vitamins and nutrients to strengthen it and keep it healthy. It is also important to stay hydrated. We recommend drinking 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water daily.
7. Use essential oils.
Aromatherapy for immune boosting works in three ways: (1) By virtue of their antibacterial and antiviral properties, essential oils can directly attack and destroy harmful microorganisms in your body. (2) By directly stimulating the organs of your immune system in a twofold manner: improving the production of their various immunity-boosting cells and encouraging lymph to flush out toxins. (3) By alleviating stress and controlling the hormones secreted by the adrenal system.
Numerous essential oils work well for immune system support. Some Dr. Barnes recommend include Thieves, Lemon, Peppermint, Lavender, and Valor.
NOTE: With the recent surge in essential oil popularity, there are a lot of brands out there claiming to be pure and organic, yet almost all of these companies are using synthetic oils to reduce costs. This can result in an inferior product that lacks life energy and therapeutic value. Please do your research and invest wisely, not only in your health and well-being but the health and well-being of the planet.