5 Tips to Staying Healthy Naturally During the Dreaded "Flu Season"
What is so different about the winter months that leads to a rise in illnesses in schools, children and families? Is it because there are more germs and bugs floating around the air in the winter? Nope. People get sick more often because their bodies are LESS healthy and not as strong in the winter months. We don’t get sick simply because we come in contact with bugs, but our bodies are not as conditioned and are too weak to fight them off. Germs survive and cause illness only when they encounter environments (unhealthy bodies) which allow them to do so!
What it all comes down to, you have to put in a little extra work to stay healthy in the winter months. Good news…I’ve outlined how in the next 5 steps! :)
1. Get Moving!
Most Americans do not get adequate exercise on a regular basis, and that only seems to get worse in the winter months. Let’s face it, it’s the Midwest, and winters get COLD. It is so much easier to stay inside on your warm comfy couch than venture outside or head to a gym. But remember, winter months are all about working HARDER to stay healthy. NOTHING has been proven to be more of an immune-booster and mood-booster than exercise!
What is the best kind of exercise? Research has shown the best type of exercise for your physical and mental health, is a combination of different training styles. By incorporating different styles of exercise (including cardio, endurance training, strength training, yoga, etc.), exercising stays fun and keeps you motivated, rather than becoming mundane. Try out classes at local gyms (ask us for a list of local gyms), or find a work-out buddy to keep each other motivated and accountable. A fit body is a healthy and strong body!
2. Like Your Mother Always Said, “Eat Your Fruits and Veggies!”
We know you’ve heard this one a million times, and it’s hard to do! But this is something that is so vital to good health, it just has to be done! Farmer’s markets are unfortunately over, but there are still places around town to find good, quality fruits and veggies!
Just down the road from our office is the Farmer’s Daughter’s Market. She provides a wide variety of fruits, veggies and even arts and crafts, all from local growers and residents. It is hard to walk out of this old barn-turned-market without a handful of delicious items! And not only is the food and produce amazing, we love that they are supporting local farms!
Two other great options for buying good fruits and veggies all year long, are the Fresh Market and New Pioneer Food Co-op. The Fresh Market just opened in Cedar Rapids (October 1st) and they have so many options to choose from. The New Pioneer Food Co-op is in Iowa City so it’s a little bit of a drive, but it’s well worth it for quality, organic, local products. And we’ve heard that there is one opening in Cedar Rapids in 2015!
3. Take a Vitamin D Supplement
Vitamin D is absolutely crucial for immune support and plays a large role in fighting off things like colds and flu to respiratory issues. The human body is so intelligently made, that it has the ability to transform sunlight into Vitamin D that our bodies need and use. However, winters here in the Midwest can get long and we may go days or weeks without a glimpse of sunlight! We get very little sun exposure for these 4 or 5 months of the year.
It is estimated that about 80% of the population is deficient in Vitamin D, making it even more important to supplement this vitamin into our lives, especially in the wintertime.
We sell certain supplement products in our office, including a Vitamin D liquid supplement. Check with us to see what the best (highest quality) product is for different ages.
4. Thieves™ Blend- Young Living Essential Oil
Essential oils are beneficial in so many ways, but the one that we focus on during “flu season” is a blend called Thieves™. The story behind the name helps to explain why it is so useful. During the Black Plague epidemic that struck Europe, a group of four thieves were robbing the dead of valuable items, without the fear of becoming ill with the deadly plague. After they were finally captured, the thieves were offered a deal. Officials offered them leniency if they would reveal how they managed to avoid contracting the dreaded disease, despite being in such close proximity to infected corpses. They disclosed that they were perfumers and spice traders, and they had rubbed themselves with a concoction of aromatic herbs.
Fast forward to today! Young Living Essential Oils developed this blend of oils that uses the same spices that the thieves used to protect themselves from infection. Thieves™ Blend contains a variety of oils including lemon, rosemary, cinnamon, clove and eucalyptus radiata. Studies on this oil have shown the antibacterial effectiveness against airborne microorganisms, specifically a 99.6 percent kill rate against airborne bacteria! Thieves™ Blend is safe to use for all ages in many different ways. It can be applied to skin topically, ingested, added into cleaning products, diffused in a room, etc.
We carry and sell Thieves™ Blend, as well as a few other basic essential oils, in our office. However, if you are interested in learning even more about essential oils, we can direct you towards who to contact for more information!
5. Regular Chiropractic Care, Don’t Just Wait Until You’re “Sick”
Last but CERTAINLY not least! Regular chiropractic care has been shown to BOOST immunity, improve mood, improve sleep habits, increase energy levels, and so much more! Regular chiropractic care removes stress/interference to the nervous system which ultimately increases your body’s adaptability. A body that can ADAPT will be able to fight off germs and bacteria more easily. All of the benefits of regular, preventative, wellness-based adjustments, on top of staying healthier in the winter, will save you tons of money in the long run that would go to doctor’s office visits, co-pays, prescriptions, time off work, etc. when you get sick! Getting sick in the United States is very costly as we have, by far, the most expensive healthcare system in the world. And trust me, most expensive does not in any way equate to better care and outcomes.
A recent study of 70,000 patients, comparing those under regular chiropractic care by a Doctor of Chiropractic and those solely under the care of their Medical Doctor, showed that chiropractic patients, “demonstrated decreases of 60.2% in-hospital admissions, 59% hospital days, 62% outpatient surgeries and procedures, and 85% pharmaceutical costs.”
What is all boils down to…No one likes being sick, and it’s not cheap to be sick, either! Waiting until we get sick and acting REACTIVELY to the situation will cost more in the long run and wear your body down. By following these simple steps and taking a PROACTIVE approach to your health, you will not only avoid the illnesses that come with winter, but remain HEALTHIER overall as we approach the holidays and cruise into 2015!
Dr. Erica Smothers, D.C.