Part 2: Cold and Flu Prevention with Mary MacDonald, ND-Take the Right Supplements & Heat Up w/ Homemade Chicken Soup

Welcome to Part 2 of our Cold and Flu prevention strategies! Mary has listed some great recommendatoins below and included a great chicken soup recipe! Enjoy!

Supplementation Recommendations to Boost the Immune System: DO NOT supplement without speaking to your Naturopathic Doctor first – these can be dangerous to some groups!

Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids – omega 3 fatty acids have been found to balance the immune system by balancing production of important white blood cells, called T cells. These cells are the most important for strengthening the immune system in its role of fighting colds bacteria and flus.

Probiotics – a recent study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics concluded that: “Daily dietary probiotic supplementation for 6 months was a safe effective way to reduce fever, rhinorrhea (nasal dripping), and cough incidence and duration and antibiotic prescription incidence, as well as the number of missed school days attributable to illness, for children 3 to 5 years of age.” Pediatrics 2009;124:e172–e179

Vitamin D – new research has found that vitamin D is very important in proper immune system development and functioning. Vitamin D has a profoundly positive effects on your innate immunity, the portion of your immune system that acts as your first line of defense, protecting you from anything foreign, whether your body recognizes it or not. This is the part of your immune system that would be involved in keeping you from getting sick in the first place. Vitamin D helps to suppress the release of “pro-inflammatory cytokines”. These substances are an important part of your immune system’s reaction to a bug, as they help to create the inflammation that results in symptoms which will help you more quickly rid yourself of the bug and return to a state of health. However, things were a bit different with H1N1. While symptoms in most people who caught H1N1 appeared to be minor, there was a subset of people (mostly young healthy people) who were severely affected. The process involved in these cases has a lot to do with these pro-inflammatory cytokines, as they are behind the massive over reaction (termed a “cytokine storm”) that leads to the lungs shutting down. Vitamin D suppresses this action.

  • 80% of North Americans have been found to be vitamin D deficient as a result of concern over the increased incidence of skin cancer from UV rays. It is best to have your vitamin D levels checked before beginning wth supplementation.
  • Vitamin C – Extremely important anti-flu virus remedy. Always consume vitamin C supplements along with a natural source of it, like organic oranges.

If you do pick up a cold or flu bug, here are some suggestions:

  • Make an appointment with your friendly Naturopathic Doctor! I will be able to prescribe specific his and/or hers nutritional supplements depending on the symptoms you present with.
    • Fluids, fluids, fluids. Fluid intake is very important: flu sufferers lose more fluids from fever than they think. Drink water & vegetable broth to replenish. Chicken soup works great too!
    • Sleep. Your body is probably telling you to sleep anyway – listen to it! Lack of proper sleep might have been what got you into this situation in the first place, and lack of sleep certainly won’t help you get out of it.
    • Food. Even though you may not feel like eating, adequate nutrition is essential to feeling better and recovering more quickly. Again, chicken soup not only helps keep the fluids up, it is easy to digest and has been shown to have anti-viral, antibiotic and decongestant properties. Two servings of homemade chicken soup is recommended. See recipe below.
    • Minimal exertion. Even if you don’t feel like sleeping, it’s far better to stay in bed and relax than trying ineffectively to take it easy at work (and no one wants to catch the flu from you, either).
    • Take dairy out of your diet for the duration of the cold/flu – dairy especially will increase mucus production and make the mucus thicker. This in turn will make it harder for you to expel mucus from the respiratory tract
    • Bathe in hot water with soothing essential oils such as chamomile, lavender and rosemary – make sure you drink lots of liquids while bathing
      • The hot water will help to promote circulation throughout the body
      • These essential oils promote rest as well
    • Ginger: boil water – add slices of fresh ginger root or 1 tsp freshly grated root; let steep 10 minutes; drink a warm tea lightly sweetened with honey. Ginger is fabulous for promoting circulation in the body. It is also warming, soothing to the respiratory tract and the gastrointestinal tract and will lessen the duration of a cold or flu.

Chicken Soup Recipe for Colds and Flu

  • 1 small (5lb) chicken* or leftover carcass of large whole chicken, with bones & skin (protein, amino acids)
  • 4 cloves minced garlic (blood cleanser, liver tonic, vitamins C and B6, selenium)
  • 1/8 cup olive oil (oleic acid and other fatty acids help control cholesterol, vitamin E, phenol antioxidants, benefits for colon, heart, and liver)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (alpha- and beta-carotene, vitamin A, fiber)
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 large onion, chopped (flavonoid antioxidants, blood cleanser)
  • 2 cups chopped red potatoes (B vitamins, carbs, potassium)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Spice options: Thyme, Dill, Cilantro, Curry, Tumeric 1-2 tsp each or any to taste

Cut chicken into two or four pieces, place in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and remove the fat that accumulates on top. Add the spices, garlic, onion, carrots, celery and potatoes. Cook on medium-low for about 1.5 hours. Remove the chicken and pull the meat off of the bones with a fork (remove the skin and any skin remaining inside the pot). Pour a little olive oil on top before serving.

* Organically grown chicken is preferred.

Hope you and your family stay healthy and warm this winter season!

Prevention is Key! 🙂

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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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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