Is it easier to treat an illness after it’s diagnosed or…is it easier to take the necessary steps to stay healthy in the first place? Most people would probably choose taking the steps to stay healthy. So why then do so many people do so little to maintain their health in the first place? If you are a chiropractic patient in our office then you have already taken the first step towards being a healthier you. But what else can you do to STAY healthy…especially with the cold and flu season upon us? Here are some great suggestions to help you get and stay healthy:
→ Get enough sleep…at least 7-8 hours per night. Sleep deprivation suppresses immune system function. Studies show that if we are sleep deprived, T-cells (cells that fight disease) go down and inflammatory cytokines (chemical messengers in your body) go up. These things can potentially lead to the greater risk of developing a cold or flu.
→ Exercise…a moderate goal is 150 minutes per week. Shoot for a good balance of endurance, strength and flexibility targeted exercise. Exercise not only helps your immune system fight off simple bacterial and viral infections, it decreases your chances of developing heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer.
→ Optimize your vitamin D levels…D3 is the best form of vitamin D. This helps your immune system to be healthy (and bones to be strong). Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common in the United States, especially in the winter months. Vitamin D produces 200-300 different antimicrobial peptides in your body that kill bacteria, viruses and fungi…so it works like a very broad antibacterial and antiviral agent. We personally take 5000 iu per day and our kids take 2000 iu per day. If you feel a cold coming on you can double up on your dose temporarily until you’re out of the woods.
→ Avoid using excess amounts of sugar…sugar actually feeds bacteria and viruses. Every time you consume sugar, your immune system is depressed 50% and it takes about 6 hours for it to climb back up to normal. Suppressing your immune system impairs your body’s defenses against all infectious diseases. Also, avoid sugar substitutes…”sugar free” usually just means they put extra chemicals in it to make it still taste sweet…yuck. Besides, most sugar substitutes on the market (ex. Nutrasweet & Equal) are known carcinogens (cancer causing agents).
→ Eat a diet consisting of mostly organically grown fruits and veggies, free range, antibiotic and steroid free meats and poultry, and non-GMO minimally processed foods. “Shop the periphery” of the grocery store is a good rule of thumb…the foods in the aisles are typically the one with the most processing and preservatives. Now is a great time to start researching buying a local farm share (or splitting one with a neighbor or friend) for the upcoming growing season.
→ Schedule regular Chiropractic adjustments to keep your immune system functioning optimally. Most of our regular wellness patients report that they are rarely sick…and when they do get sick they don’t get as sick and they get better quicker. Remember, your spine houses and protects your spinal cord and nerves and your nervous system controls everything in your body…including your immune system. Therefore, a healthy spine means a healthier you!