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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