By...Maureen Dunn, ND
In our most recent guest blogger post, naturopathic physician Dr. Maureen Dunn shares her top five tops for staying healthy and resilient during the colder months of the year. Here at the NC Center for Resiliency, we believe in addressing all aspects of your health, knowing that mental health is achieved best when addressing lifestyle and diet as well! As such, we work closely with like-minded providers in the area, like Dr. Dunn to provide you with a comprehensive path to wellness.
Are you finding that you are fighting colds more often than you have in the past? Or are you having difficulty recovering from an upper respiratory infection or the flu? There are proactive actions you can take when you first start to notice symptoms such as a sore throat, congestion, runny nose, fever, and/or a cough. These actions can help to reduce the severity and duration of the illness and they are especially helpful if you do them early on - as early as possible. It goes without saying that in order to stay healthy, particularly during times of increased stress and when everyone is sick around us, we need to stay well-hydrated, get plenty of rest, wash our hands frequently, exercise and minimize stress. Call your practitioner if your symptoms do not improve or worsen. Here are some basic naturopathic steps you can take to boost your immune health:
1. Nutrient rich diet: Eating an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial rich diet can help to fight and prevent infections. Foods such as garlic, ginger, turmeric, oregano, thyme, and parsley have antimicrobial properties that can be useful to prevent and fight infections. Foods rich in vitamin A such as yellow, orange and green vegetables provide antioxidant support and also help the immune system function properly. Eating a “rainbow of color” with your meals daily will help ensure you have plenty of nutrients.
2. Bone broth: People around the world have been drinking bone broth for hundreds of years for its medicinal qualities. It has recently garnered substantial attention nationally due to the density of nutrients it contains, including electrolytes, collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluranic acid and others. These benefit the gastrointestinal tract, immune system, bone health, joints, skin, neurological and metabolic health. While it can be used for a wide variety of conditions it can also be used to help symptoms of colds and flus because it helps reduce inflammation and increases good bacteria in your gut. It is easy but time-consuming to make properly. You can find it sold locally, at Left Bank Butcher in Saxapahaw, NC.
3. Optimize your gut health: 80% percent of your immune systemis located in your gastrointestinal (GI) system, thus by supporting and enhancing your GI health you can help prevent and fight infections. Include probiotics such as yogurt and fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, miso, soy, Kombucha, kimchi in your diet. I would recommend consulting your physician or Naturopathic Doctor for recommendations for a high quality probiotic as supplements are not regulated for quality.
4. Optimize vitamin D: with your doctor about taking Vitamin D. They may want to test your vitamin D as low levels are associated with decreased immune function and bone health.
5. Make an appointment with your local Naturopathic Doctor: Naturopathic Doctors are skilled at supporting and improving chronic and acute illnesses including immune, gastrointestinal, neurological, reproductive, and rheumatic complaints. To find your local
Naturopathic Doctor, one that is trained at an accredited school, check out the following website: www.ncanp.com.
Dr. Maureen Dunn, Naturopathic Doctor, is a graduate of Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington – a four-year medical school and the world’s leading accredited university in the natural health sciences. To learn more about her practice or make an online appointment you can visit her website at www.carolinawholehealth.com. She has two practices, one at Chapel Hill Doctors and one in downtown Carrboro at The Wellness Alliance. She can be contacted at The Wellness Alliance at 919-525-1577.