Many people believe that it is the beginning of the dreaded flu season! It is true that there are more cases of the flu diagnosed this time of year, but germs for the flu are around all year. So, if these germs are always around, why do we see an increase in the number of flu cases during the fall and winter months?
I really like the way that Dr. Angie Elliot explains this phenomenon in her article “There’s No Such Thing As ‘Flu Season’.”
“Think for a moment about what would happen if you planted a seed in the ground. You covered it with soil, didn’t water it, offer it sun, or supply it with air. Would the seed grow? NO! Why not?
The answer is that the condition of the soil was not ideal for the seed to take root and for the plant to flourish. Now, consider your body equivalent to soil and a virus or bacteria as the seed. If you planted that seed in your body right now, could it grow?
Many people get sick with colds or the flu this time of year because the condition of their body is primed for pathogens to thrive and grow.” - Dr. Angie Elliot
Tis the Season
When you look at it this way, it is easy to see some of the factors that impact our bodies immune system and create an environment where germs can thrive. Some of the things that cause us stress are obvious, while other things are more subtle. Often we are so used to these things that we don’t even realize that they are causing stress on our bodies.
- Halloween Candy
- Lack of Sleep
- Crazy Schedules
- Lack of Sun Exposure
- Sweet Holiday Treats
- Less Exercise
- Financial Concerns
- Relational Stress
This year reframe the way you think about the ‘flu season’, and start to view it as ‘Sugar & Stress Season’ instead. By doing this we can remind ourselves that the choices we make greatly influence our health. We are not simply at the mercy of the virus’ and bacteria around us!
Staying Healthy During Flu “Sugar & Stress” Season
While some stressors may be beyond our control, there are many things that will be under our control. The important thing is to make sure our allostatic load isn’t too heavy. Let’s look at some important things that we can do to support our immune systems throughout this tricky time of year.
Limit Sugar & Nourish Your Body with Healthy Foods
When we eat sugar it wreaks havoc on our system. It causes an inflammatory response in the body, upsets the bacteria in the gut, and stresses the hormonal systems. For a more in depth discussion about sugar check out “The Not So Sweet Sugar Reality.”
Manage Your Mental Stress
There are many things that you can do to manage your mental stress. Having good self-care routines and healthy boundaries are extremely important factors. Looking at the way we perceive stress and using techniques to reframe our thoughts is another valuable tool.
Get Enough Sleep
Without enough sleep we not only feel terrible, we actually lower our immune system. Sleeping for less than 6 hours a day is actually associated with low grade chronic inflammation, worsening insulin resistance, and an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Check here for helpful ideas on how to get a better night’s sleep.
Stay Adequately Hydrated
Getting plenty of water helps your body digest food (prevents constipation), flush out toxins, moisten tissues (eyes, throat, nose), circulate blood, transport nutrients, and maintain body temperature. All of these things are important for the body to have a healthy immune response. Check out "The Hydration Trick You've Never Heard Of" to learn an easy way to stay hydrated.
Move Your Body
As the weather gets cold, many people find that they are moving less. Doctors have found that exercise boosts the immune system in many ways. You don’t have to be a serious athlete to get these health benefits so start moving!
Boost your Immunity Through Supplements
Quality supplements can be a useful support for your immune system during the “Sugar and Stress” season. One study found that children that took 1200 IU’s of vitamin D3 were 42% less likely to come down with the flu than those taking a placebo.
Get Adjusted Regularly
Research has shown that chiropractic adjustments boost the body’s immune response. The nervous system, endocrine system, and the immune system are interconnected. When the nervous system is compromised the body is not able to function at an ideal level and its immune responses will be hindered. Chiropractic adjustments align the spine which allows the nervous system to function in a more effective manner.
I want you to enjoy the holiday season to the fullest! Please take some time to think about changes you can make to give yourself the best chance for health this flu "Sugar and Stress" season.
You do not need to make all the changes at once. Simply pick one or two things to focus on now. Once those changes become a habit then you can work on tweaking something else.
As always, we are here to assist you in your health journey! Give us a call to schedule an adjustment, order supplements, or sign up for Nutrition Bootcamp.