Part 1: Cold and Flu Prevention with Mary MacDonald, ND

It’s that time of year again…where sniffles get the best of us! I got in touch with my favorite Naturopath to talk cold and flu prevention, and because she’s so great, she’s sharing her expertise with you!

Tips and tricks for avoiding the Flu this season:

  • Wash your hands frequently. Always practice good hygiene! Just 30 seconds under hot water with normal soap will kill off most of the pesky bugs you pick up on your day to day travels. A good way to ensure you are under the tap long enough is to sing happy birthday while washing your hands – this works for brushing your teeth as well (great tip for kids!)
  • Sleeping well. Adequate rest allows your immune system to gain strength. On average, adults need 8 hours of uninterrupted rest for the immune system to function optimally.
  • Relax. Stress is a well-known contributor to many types of illnesses. Flu and other infections are higher in individuals who report higher levels of life stress and anxiety. Cortisol is a hormone released in higher amounts when one experiences excessive physical or emotional stress. Cortisol helps us adapt to acute bouts of stress and inflammatory conditions, but prolonged exposure to high amounts circulating in the system inhibits normal immune system cell function.
  • Steam with essential oils such as Eucalyptus. Eucalyptus kills bacteria & viruses. Place glass jars of steaming eucalyptus around the house in different rooms to disinfect the house and stop the spread of the virus or bacteria. It makes the house smell good too!
  • Warm Sock Treatment: Just before bed saturate a pair of cotton socks in cold water and wring most of the water out of the socks. Cover these with a pair of 100% wool socks and tuck yourself into bed. This sounds crazy but it often works! The cold water directs your body to increase its basal metabolic rate and strengthens the immune response! The wool socks will draw the wetness away from your skin. You should wake up to toasty warm feet after a nice deep sleep!

Nutritional Recommendations:
• Stay hydrated. Fluids help to thin secretions making it easier for the body to get rid of them, warm and cold fluids are beneficial!
• Avoid sugar – sugar not only feeds the bacteria that make you sick, it also competes on a cellular level with vitamin C and other necessary nutrients for absorption. So, your body will more likely absorb sugar before vitamin C, depressing your immune system and wasting your money on your fancy vitamins!
• Eat antioxidant rich foods – which are necessary to strengthen the immune system- Blackberries, walnuts, strawberries, artichokes, cranberries, raspberries, blueberries, cloves, grapes, prunes, cabbage, oranges, plums, pinto beans, spinach, kale, swiss chard
• Almonds, sunflower seeds and Brazil nuts – Almonds and sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E. Research has indicated that vitamin E helps to reduce the number and duration of common colds. Brazil nuts are rich in selenium which, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, helps to protect us from respiratory infection.
• Decrease saturated fat intake but be sure to have enough of the good fats on hand! Omega-3 fatty acids are powerful immune system allies. You can get them in fatty fish like salmon and sardines. Other sources of these essential fatty acids include flaxseed, safflower oil, and eggs. It can be hard for children to eat fish, so I recommend an essential fatty acid supplement specifically formulated for children.

Thanks Mary for sharing your expertise! Next week, Mary will share more great cold and flu info, plus a great chicken soup recipe!

You can book a consult with Mary at:
Holly Pharmacy
611 Holly Avenue – At Derry Road
Milton, ON L9T 0K4
T: 905.878.9001
F: 905.878.9916

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