Fall is in full swing, and with the cooler temperatures here, winter seems to be creeping up already. With the change in season comes the returning threat of “seasonal” illnesses like colds and the flu. Have you ever wondered why sickness is more common in winter?
Why does someone who works in the cubicle next to you get sick multiple times per year, but other people in the same office, breathing the same air rarely get sick?
Are germs more abundant this time of year? Do viruses and bacteria only come around during the fall and winter months? They don’t – this is a MYTH! They’re around us ALL of the time.
When we think about the health of our body, it can get confusing and complicated quickly.
Instead, think for a moment about what would happen if you planted a seed in the ground. You covered it with soil, didn’t water it, offer it sun, or supply it with air. Would the seed grow?
NO! Why not?
The answer is that the condition of the soil was not ideal for the seed to take root and for the plant to flourish. Now, consider your body equivalent to soil and a virus or bacteria as the seed. If you planted that seed in your body right now, could it grow?
Many people get sick with colds or the flu this time of year because the condition of their body is primed for pathogens to thrive and grow.
Conditions that may increase your susceptibility to illness include:
- High emotional or physical stress increases cortisol levels
- Decreased exercise
- Less sun exposure and Vitamin D production
- Depleted essential nutrients
- Increased sugar and processed food intake (Holiday goodies)
- Disrupted neuro-immune system communication
What can you do to bullet proof your body and decrease the likelihood of illness for you and your family?
Start by following these 7 steps to build a bullet proof immune system
Focus on eating REAL food 80% of the time.
Foods like citrus, red grapes, onions, garlic, apples, carrots, leafy greens, berries, kiwi, and sweet potatoes contain vitamins (A, C, beta carotene) and minerals that support immune health. Incorporate these foods into recipes or as a snack throughout the week.
Avoid processed/packaged food and sugar as much as possible. If it is packaged, follow the single ingredient rule like turkey or almonds. Research states that 70% of your immune system is located in you GI tract (gut). A diet high in processed food and sugar causes increased inflammation in the gut and can weaken immune function. To have a healthy relationship with holiday goodies, try the Heck Yes of NO! Philosophy.
Consider a Vitamin D3 supplement
This is SO important that we wrote a whole post about it. In short, between September and May most people should be supplementing wiht a high-quality Vitamin D3 supplement. You can trus the pharmaceutical grade quality that we have in the office.
Increase you Ability to Adapt to Stress
One suggestion to help this process is concentrated diaphragmatic breathing to help lower blood pressure and help your nervous system enter “rest & digest” mode instead of “fight or flight” which is typical during periods of heightened stress.
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude by keeping a gratitude journal. According to this article, people who are thankful for what they have are better able to cope with stress, have more positive emotions, and less anxiety. They tend to sleep better, have better heart health, and can produce measurable effects on a number of systems in the body, including lowering cortisol.
Don’t Skimp on Sleep
Aim for 7-8 hours per night and try to get up and go to bed at the same time each day. To ensure you’re getting quality sleep, avoid the blue light from your TV or smart device at least 30 minutes before bed, and make sure to have a pillow that properly supports your head and neck to prevent further health issues.
Whistle While you Wash
Start washing your hands more frequently. Regular soap (not anti-bacterial) and warm water while singing or whistling “Mary had a Little Lamb,” twice through will help you decrease the transfer of bacteria and viruses. Avoid anti-bacterial soaps and hand sanitizers. The FDA has raised concerns over the due to the questionable safety of the active ingredient, Triclosan. Triclosan and gels can contribute to creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Movement helps boost immune cells that ward off viruses. Exercising 30 minutes per day, 5 times per week has been shown to decrease the chances of contracting a cold by 50% and decreases the severity of those with cold and flu by 31%. The best exercise is the kind that you’ll do. If you’re just getting started, simply try walking or try a new class with a friend.
Optimize your Brain-Body Connection
A study by a leading cancer and genetic research specialist found that chiropractic patients of all ages had 200% greater competence than people who had never received chiropractic care.
Why is that?
Structural Chiropractic care helps to resolve obstructions between the nervous system and the rest of the body. Proper communication between the nervous system and immune system is vital to remaining healthy.
Often we find that structural changes in the spine obstruct communication controlling immune system response. Our goal is to correct those shifts, restoring NORMAL position, and allowing messages to be sent properly from the nervous system to the immune system and the rest of the body.