Colds, flu and strep are in full swing, but that doesn't mean you have to be down for days! There are obviously many things you can do to improve your immune system and prevent any sickness going around, but we're going to tell you our 9 favorite ways. You may get sick here or there but it is actually good for your immune system to fight off little invaders. It keeps it strong and working! But for those of you who are constantly sick (and even those who aren’t) here are 9 simple things to do.
1) Drink LOTS and LOTS of water. Stay hydrated. It seems silly and obvious, but most people do not drink enough water and even less in the cooler months. I am guilty of it too! I have to consciously drink a lot of water and track it. Flush out those toxins and give your body the proper hydration to kill off any invaders. Your goal is to drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water.
2) Eat as much raw garlic as possible. Some people can chew it... and kudos to those out there who can! I cut a clove up into 1/4 pieces and swallow it. You can cut it up smaller or mince it and put in a little bit of water and drink it fast. Fresh garlic (not processed or refrigerated) has amazing antibacterial proprieties (and antifungal). When cooked, the garlic loses many of its medicinal properties so it’s important that it is fresh especially when you are sick. Take as many as you can handle. Start with 1-2 a day and work up to 3-6 in times of sickness. If you just can't even think about doing that there are garlic supplements that we have available which you take instead.
NOTE: Not all garlic supplements are the same. The way the garlic is processed and handled is extremely important. Many companies lose the medicinal value in the processing because it is heated and not protected. Make sure you use a high quality supplement and if you need any ideas let me know. We have plenty at the office (and ones you won't burp up... which is a common complaint).
3) CUT OUT the Sugars. Sugary things feed bacteria and viruses. Cut out any processed junk, no matter what it is when you are sick. I get a lot of questions about fruits—yes fruits are sugary but they contain an important factor that processed food and juices don’t… fiber! So fruits are fair game, but sugary, processed foods need to be immediately cut out when you are starting to feel sick. In 2013 I had the flu twice and it happened after 2 different weekends of eating a lot of sugar and junk that I rarely have. My immune system was lowered by all that sugary food and couldn’t fight off invaders that it could in the past... No fun but I knew exactly why it happened!
4) Take maintenance doses of elderberry (2-3/day).Elderberry Defense by Nature Sunshine is my favorite. It has elderberry, olive leaf, and D3. All of those are extremely beneficial to the immune system.
5) Drink hot water with lemon. I say this all the time to patients but it is great for so many things. It helps with digestion and has a mild cleansing action on the liver. Lemons are packed with vitamin C and also are anti-mucolytic (break down mucous). This helps tremendously during times of sickness. Drink at least 2 cups of hot water with 1/2 lemon in each.
6) Sleep! When you are tired it is for a reason. If you were sick and not tired you would keep going and going and going and your body would never get a chance to heal. You are tired for a reason. Pay attention and don't push it.
7) Get adjusted. This is something I haven't talked about much on here. Every single part of your body- every muscle, organ, tissue, gland- is controlled by your nervous system. The nervous system is our master control center and protected by your spine. When you are sick it is essential to get your nervous system checked and make sure it is properly functioning without any restrictions. There are certain areas in your spine that directly control the nervous system (any chiropractor should know where it is) and that should be specially worked on along with anything else that is restricted. If you have any questions or concerns let me know. I do light force adjusting with muscle work (very important!) to help relieve any issues you may have.
8) Don't drink cow's milk (unless its raw). Most of my patients (hopefully all) already avoid cows milk. It instantly creates a mucous producing response in the body. So when you are congested and stopped up... definitely avoid this and all dairy. You should be avoiding it anyway but that's for another day. Drink almond milk or coconut milk, but NOT soy.
9) If your sickness isn't going away... please come in and get checked. It takes me 1-2 minutes and I can see if you are fighting off a bacteria or virus and give you something that will knock it quickly. The sooner you come in when you are starting to feel sick the better.