Written by Dr. Evan Pulver
It's at the grocery store. It's at your child's school. You hear it on the news. Soon, there will be graphs and charts comparing this year to years past. Flu season has arrived, and EVERYONE is letting you know it (including your foundational chiropractor). But is the flu something we should be fighting? Would it be better for a powerful country to fight every battle, or to create a military infrastructure that no individual or group would dare challenge?
First- Facts about the Flu
1-The flu can be spread through close contact with another person carrying the virus. Avoiding contact with infected persons and washing your hands regularly with soap and water (but NOT antibacterial soap) is the best way to prevent the flu.
2- Nearly 40,000 deaths are attributed to the flu each year. That number is attributed to deaths also caused by pneumonia or illness possibly associated with the flu. Death caused by the flu is serious, but the numbers you may see in the news can be misleading. Some estimates on actual deaths caused by influenza are as low as 1,000 or fewer.
3-Sympoms of the flu, from the CDC:
Strengthening Immune Function to Prevent Flu
As with everything, prevention and taking proactive steps to avoid the flu is the best line of defense. The following suggestions are outstanding for improving overall immunity, not solely preventing one type of illness.
1. Increase your Vitamin D levels. Our body naturally produces this vitamin when we are outdoors in the sun. It is more than likely that you are chronically low in Vitamin D. Even living in Texas with ample sunshine nearly year-round, we tend to stay inside for work, school, exercise, etc. Or when it is summertime, we stay indoors during the extremely hot times when the sun would give us the best Vitamin D. Supplementing with a quality Vitamin D product can help fill this gap. Most adults need 5,000 -10,000 units daily to fill the gap, but seek the counsel of a health professional to get the best recommendation for you.
2. Increase your intake of healthy fats. I recommend that my patients eat more B.A.C.O.N., which gets them excited and saying "Hey! At least I'm doing SOMETHING right!". Then they realize that it's an acronym. I recommend that you add the following to your diet:
B- Butter: Preferably raw and grass-fed. If you live in The Woodlands, you can buy butter or raw cream to make your own at Calico Dairy in Conroe. Here's a link to their Facebook Page. Or copy this: https://www.facebook.com/calicodairy. Kerrygold Grass-fed butter is available across the street from our office at HEB.
A- Avocado: A favorite of my son, avocado is a superfood that goes great on top of scrambled free-range eggs or topped with Celtic Sea Salt.
C- Coconut Oil: Be sure to pick out raw and unprocessed organic coconut oil. This is great for stir frying vegetables, combining with raw butter to make Bulletproof coffee, or even adding to a smoothie.
O-Olive Oil: Extra-virgin, first cold pressed olive oil is still the great go-to fat for salads and even cooking. Many recipes can use olive oil as a substitute, and the Greeks used it on their skin before a good workout. Check with your crossfit box before you go there covered in oil :)
N-Nuts: Preferably raw, and peanuts are NOT nuts. Almonds, walnuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts are great ones to start with. If you must have them roasted, try toasting them yourself with a little coconut oil and sea salt.
Adding these healthy fats has a few benefits to your immune system. First, it helps reduce inflammation and oxidation in your body. Second, it helps fill your appetite for longer, reducing the urge to reach for simple carbohydrates and sugar. Sugar weakens the immune system, drains your energy, and makes you more susceptible to colds, flu, and other more serious diseases.
3. Get appropriate amounts of sleep at night. You probably know how much sleep you really need to feel your best. For me, it's 7 hours and 45 minutes. Any longer and I can't wake up. Any shorter and I am sluggish to get going. For most it's somewhere between 6-8 hours. It resets your body to be rested and ready to heal and thrive throughout the day. Avoid screen use (cell phone, iPad, computer, TV) right before bed. The bright screen simulates the sun and tells your brain that it's daytime and you need to get going! Turn it off and hour or two before you want to fall asleep.
4. Exercise! Go to Pure Barre or Express Hot Yoga if you enjoy a more social and challenging workout, or go for a hike in the state forest. Shoot for at least four 30-minute sweat sessions each week to improve your sleep, metabolism, immunity, and prevent heart disease and cancer.
5. Consider foundational chiropractic care to improve the function of your spine and nervous system. Your nervous system continually communicates with your immune system. Foundational Shifts of the spine can interfere with nervous system and immune system function. Consider a consultation to see if you would like to work with our office. Chiropractic care has a well documented history of influencing immune function. Here are some interesting points to consider about Chiropractic:
The MIRACLE CURE? No.
Does foundational chiropractic treat the FLU? Absolutely not. The benefits of foundational chiropractic care, however, can increase your body's immune function, giving you a fighting chance to prevent or stop the ill effects of the flu.
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Dr. Evan Pulver