Even in lovely Northern California, people around me are beginning to get sick. The change of seasons, stress of back to school and other commitments, along with imperfect eating habits sets people up for decreased immune function.
Here are my top six ideas for staying well:
1. Wash your hands. I know my grandmother used to repeat it. We all thought she was a broken record. But studies have shown without a doubt that people who wash their hands more frequently get fewer colds. (Avoid antibactieral soaps – they create “super bugs” that can contribute to antibiotic resistance.)
2. Avoid sugar. Sugar depresses the immune system for up to four hours after its consumption. I believe that one of the reasons so many people get ill during holiday travels is that they consume way too much sugar and therefore their immune system is rendered helpless.
3. Eat real food. Avoid the junk. Cook foods yourself. Shop the perimiter of your grocery store. Eat your leafy greens. (Check out my website fore more good, healthy recipes: http://www.DrThyr.com)
4. Sleep. Most Americans don’t get enough. It is the main time your body can regenerate and heal itself. If you have insomnia, see someone (preferably a naturopathic doctor) to fix it. But the reality is that most people just honestly don’t allow enough time for sleep. Stop your projects earlier, avoid excess stimulation before bed (I mean frightening or violent TV or books), and make sure you are sleeping in complete darkness.
5. Take your vitamins. I recommend that even healthy people take a good, balance multivitamin. Unless you have a really perfect diet, which I don’t know that many people who do, it is a good insurance policy. If you don’t want to do a multivitamin, at least take a good fish oil (a pure one without heavy metals, PCBs, and products of rancidity), and perhaps a B complex.
6. If you feel yourself becoming ill, take it easy. Don’t do the ol’ American type-A push through it all. Take the afternoon off. Or sleep in. Eat well, but not large meals – stick with soups or raw foods. Take your probiotics and be particularly gentle on yourself. Be sure to drink lots of water and increase the Vitmin C. (EmergenC effervescent packages are great to help increase hydration while upping your C.)
More later on treating colds. Stay tuned.