Healthy Hoboken – December 2009
[Every month, Hoboken411 will be posting a column to give answers to Hobokenites’ most frequently asked health questions. The column is written by Dr. Laura Brayton of Hoboken Chiropractic + Wellness. Please send all health-related questions to DrBrayton@HobokenChiro.com.]
The Flu is just a bad cold, c’mon!!
“Dear Dr. Brayton,
I am concerned with all of the hype regarding the swine flu and how to keep my family healthy during the winter season.
Any suggestions of how to be preventative without getting the flu shot?
Always good to care for immune system!
Dear Hoboken Mom,
The drop in temperature and shorter days during the winter season tend to be accompanied by more flu-like illness than other times of the year.
Does that mean there are more “bugs” hanging around when it gets cold outside? No, so why is there so much hype regarding the flu, especially the swine flu this season?
Well, there do seem to be more cases of colds and flu in the winter season and there are a few reasons why this occurs; none of which is related to the amount of virus or bacteria present in our environment. Instead, during the cooler months of the year, our bodies tend to yearn for more of a hibernative state of slowing down, more rest, and whole, warm foods like soups and stews. Instead, especially during the month of December, we are running around with overscheduled plans for holiday parties, shopping, and indulging in a unhealthy diet. This becomes a recipe for a lowered immune system which in turn is susceptible to illness.
The immune system is the body’s natural defense against germs, like bacteria or virus, and naturally produces antibodies to fight off illness or disease when the body is infected. Once the antibody has been created, a person is typically immune from further infection because the body’s memory cells can quickly reproduce the necessary antibody if needed. Therefore, the best way to stay healthy is to take care of your body before you get sick. So, get more rest, avoid foods that weaken our immune system like bleached flour, salt, sugar, and dairy, and instead eat a diet of warm (rather than salads), nourishing foods loaded with vitamins A, C, E, Beta-Carotene and Selenium found in fruits and vegetables, Zinc in red meat and eggs, and Magnesium in legumes.
Exercise is also vital to support the immune system as well supporting the nervous system through chiropractic, massage, acupuncture which all promote movement of energy within the body to support its natural self-healing abilities. And, don’t forget to wash your hands!
Yours in health,