By Dr. Abigaile Ortiz, D.C.
Cold and flu season can seem to last forever, and as February rolls around we may be feeling like it will never end. As parents we use every tool in our bag to help our family avoid sickness in the first place. In the cases when our children do become ill we try to help them heal the fastest they possibly can. But the best way to get through the cold and flu season is to not get sick at all! Here are a few tips for helping you build your immune system so you have the greatest defense to fight off any infection your body may encounter.
Drinking water is one of the easiest ways to keep healthy. Staying hydrated helps to flush harmful toxins from your body and keeps your mucus membranes moist to repel contaminants that can cause infection. Proper hydration allows your body to absorb the most nutrients from your meals. We always advise adults to drink ½ their body weight in ounces of water each day (that’s 90oz of water for somebody that weighs 180lbs).
Nature has supplied us with a host of superfoods that dramatically increase our ability to defend our bodies from infection and help us heal after injury. Superfoods contain high amounts of antioxidants which neutralize damaging free radicals in our bodies. They help keep us healthy by fighting disease and preventing cellular degeneration. One such food is turmeric. Turmeric is a root from the ginger family. It contains the powerful antioxidant curcumin which is known for its anti-inflammatory effects. Simply eating turmeric or taking a powdered supplement is not enough. Curcumin is hydrophobic by nature making its bioavailability in the body extremely low. In order for the body to absorb curcumin and use it, it needs to be consumed with foods containing quercetin. Capers contain a high amount of quercetin so they are a great addition to turmeric in order to get maximum effects. Freshly ground black pepper, cruciferous vegetables such as kale or broccoli, and healthy fats also aid in the absorption of curcumin from turmeric.
Some other antioxidant rich superfoods to help build yourself a super immune system are garlic, broccoli, onions, cherries, green tea, peppers, grapes, carrots, blueberries, cranberries, and lemons. Incorporate as many of these into your daily meals as you can. Smoothies are an easy and fun way to get fruits and veggies in quick! Try switching up your ingredients often so you don’t bore yourself.
Getting adequate exercise is important for a strong immune system. As little at 20 minutes per day of moderate aerobic activity can have a significant effect on overall health. Exercise helps to rid the lungs of bacteria, helps the body fight infection, and lowers stress hormones which can decrease your body’s immune response. A brisk 20 to 30 minute walk each day will do wonders for your overall sense of well-being as well.
Like a vehicle that’s out of alignment, the human frame can become misaligned as well. Misalignments in the spine can lead to a decreased immune response due to decreased blood flow and lymphatic drainage. Chiropractors correct these misalignments allowing the body to function at its optimal capacity. Just like our vehicles need regular maintenance to prevent damage, so do our bodies. The human frame works best with proactive care. But even if you do wait until an injury to see a chiropractor, it is never too late to experience the benefits. Activities that lengthen and strengthen the spine like yoga and pilates help as well. Massage works wonders for muscles that are tight and to help aid in the elimination of toxins from your lymph system.
Dr. Landon’s Super Immunity Smoothie Recipe
Makes 4 (12 oz.) Servings
Pour into your favorite glass and enjoy!
Dr. Landon Ortiz, and Dr. Abigaile Ortiz Asheville's Mobile Chiropractors
New Patients Accepted Daily!