September is upon us, that means Back-To-School Days are just around the corner.
October is also fast approaching, and that’s when ‘flu season’ starts up.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
With that in mind, this is the perfect time to focus on health — getting back into your healthy habits and exercise routines, and stocking up your cupboards with natural remedies.
Colds & Flu
The best approach here is prevention! The KEY FACTORS to good health are: good nutrition, restful sleeps, laughter, fresh air and exercise.
Though, if you do find yourself feeling under the weather, here are some of my favorite remedies for you to try:
Good bacteria – probiotics – in your gut reinforce the barrier of the intestinal lining, lowering the chance of bad bacteria to get into your bloodstream. This greatly decreases the chance of you getting an infection or having other immune reactions. This is supports the health of your entire immune system.
Knowledge of how incredibly supportive our intestinal flora is to our health is growing rapidly, without a shadow of a doubt it’s imperative that we need the protection of our beneficial microflora. Raw, fermented and cultured foods are excellent sources of probiotics. Be sure you’re getting plenty of these in your diet, every day, along with a nice quality supplement.
Scientists at the University of Copenhagen have discovered that Vitamin D is crucial to activating our immune defense system and that without sufficient amounts of Vitamin D specialized white blood cells – called T Cells – will not be able to properly do their work. Vitamin D is called a ‘miracle nutrient’ for the immune system, and justly so, it enables your body to produce well over 200 antimicrobial peptides, and this process is imperative in fighting off infections.
One Japanese study showed that children taking a Vitamin D supplement were 58% less likely to catch Influenza A. That’s a higher effectiveness than any flu vaccine can claim!
Vitamin D from sun exposure is the best way to optimize your Vitamin D levels. Supplementation is almost always necessary durin our Canadian winter months.
University of Connecticut performed a study and determined that Echinacea reduced the chance of catching a cold by 58% and reduced its duration by almost 1½ days! Wow!!
To treat the common cold in adults, it is suggest to take 500-1,000 milligrams of Echinacea 3x daily for 5-7 days.
Zinc is a mineral that’s important to the body in a multitude ways – it keeps the immune system strong, helps wounds to heal, plus supports normal growth and development. Ohio State University researchers determined that its a protein that attracts zinc into key cells, and these are your infection fighting first-responders. Zinc is vital in this fight against infections and in turn helps balance your body’s immune response. Of interest, these same researchers found that if there is not enough zinc available in the body at the time of infection, one of the consequences is excessive inflammation.
For the common cold try zinc lozenges, 10-15 mg every 2-3 hours until your symptoms are gone.
The power of Vitamin C is often attributed to its role as an antioxidant. Did you know that there is no other antioxidant that can perform all of the physiological and biological roles that Vitamin C plays a part in?!? Along with it’s antioxidant function, Vitamin C is a strong support to a number of functions of the immune system. One of its major immune roles is ability to stimulate the production and function of white blood cells.
It’s recommended that you take at least 500 mg of Vitamin C daily in conjunction with your 5 colorful servings of fruits and veggies.
It may be hard to believe, though, this time of year is a common trigger for constipation. There are a number of reasons for this ailment, in both kids and adults alike:
- change in routine as school, courses, programs kick-off again
- not wanting to use public bathrooms
- feeling stressed because of work, school, friends or family
- being too busy and not paying attention to the signals that your body needs to go.
“Do probiotics work against constipation? Researchers at King’s College in London scoured the medical literature and found 14 studies that met their criteria for a well-done study. All were clinical trials that randomly assigned people with constipation to take either probiotics or a placebo (or other control treatment).
By pooling the findings of the trials, the researchers found that on average, probiotics slowed “gut transit time” by 12.4 hours, increased the number of weekly bowel movements by 1.3, and helped soften stools, making them easier to pass. Probiotics that contained Bifidobacterium appeared to be the most effective.” www.health.harvard.edu
We now know from the Colds & Flu section above that raw, fermented and cultured foods are awesome sources of probiotics. To combat constipation, take a quality supplement containing Bifidobacterium strains.
The reason why magnesium is so effective for constipation is because it works on blockages in two different ways. The first way is through muscle relaxation which makes going easier. The second way is through increasing water content in the colon – magesium acts as a ‘water magnet’ and helps to soften and bulk up stool making it easier to pass.
You can often treat occasional constipation with supplements, such as magnesium citrate. This supplement is what is called an osmotic laxative, which means it relaxes your bowels and pulls water into your intestines. Between 250-600 mg are recommended daily, more may necessary for laxative purposes.
It’s common for people to start having a few sleep issues pop up at this time of year. Especially when your trying to adjust your post-summer schedule along with seeing the longer daylight hours slip away to make way for Autumn.
If you need a little support sleeping, try these remedies:
Lemon balm is a plant in the mint family, its leaves are used as a soothing agent and as a sleep aid. Lemon Balm is considered very safe can help you sleep better because it calms the senses, is a mild sedative plus helps manage stress by reducing symptoms of anxiety and agitation. There is also data that shows that Lemon Balm is helpful in reducing insomnia.
To get a better night’s sleep, enjoy a cup of sleepy tea that has Lemon Balm in it before you go to bed.
Passion Flower is a plant native to the southern United States and holds may benefits including helping reduce even possibly eliminate insomnia, anxiety, inflammation from skin irritations and burns, menopause, ADHD and more. It functions as a relaxant by suppressing the nervous system, reducing muscle spasms.
To get a better night’s sleep, enjoy a cup of sleepy tea that has Passion Flower in it before you go to bed.
Valerian Root is a herb and has been used since the 2nd century to reduce insomnia, anxiety and nervous restlessness. Valerian reduces the time it takes for you to fall asleep and improves the quality of sleep. This is because it causes a sedative effect because it increases your brain’s GABA levels. GABA is an ‘inhibitory neurotransmitter’ who’s action calms excitability and quiets the brain.
To get a better night’s sleep, enjoy a cup of sleepy tea that has Valerian in it before you go to bed. For anxiety, try Valerian in tincture form and take 120-200 milligrams 3-4 times a day.
When it comes to trouble sleeping, Melatonin is touted, by far, as the best natural remedy to help.
Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by our bodies, its secreted by the pineal gland in your brain. When it’s dark your body produces more Melatonin; in contrast, when it’s light the production of Melatonin goes down. Young children have the highest levels of Melatonin, and our Melatonin production decreases as we age. This could explain why older people tend not to sleep as well as they did when they were younger.
The blue light emitted by screens – TV, computer, phone, etc. – suppresses Melatonin levels and this will make it more difficult for you to fall asleep. Jet lag, working night shifts and having very poor vision all lower Melatonin; as does caffeine, alcohol and tobacco.
If you need help getting a better night’s sleep, try Melatonin spray, 0.5-five mg before bed.
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