Autumn is just around the corner...and with kids going back to school and colder temperatures setting in, one inevitably starts thinking about flu prevention. The good news is that there are many natural things you can do to protect yourself from being one of the casualties. After all, prevention is the best cure! The basics apply here: cover your mouth and nose when coughing, wash hands regularly, avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose. But if your immune system is compromised, the avoidance strategy is most likely not enough. Now is when you need to begin boosting your immune system!
When it comes to boosting your immune system, healthy eating habits and daily activity are absolute musts. Your diet should include at least five vegetables and three fruits per day, healthy sources of omega-3 fats, and whole grains. You should be drinking at least 1.5 liters of water per day (add one glass of water for every caffeinated or alcoholic beverage). Freshly minced garlic is a powerful antimicrobial that can be sprinkled on almost any food. Limit your intake of saturated “bad” fats and sources of refined sugar. Refined sugar suppresses the immune system and feeds infections. Regular exercise should include at least 60 minutes of combined cardio and strength training. Exercise not only boosts the immune system but reduces overall stress.
Stress is another big factor in poor immunity. What are your sources of stress and how do you deal with them? Learning to deal with stress effectively will not only improve your mental emotional well-being, but will support healthy immune function and optimal health. As a general recommendation, we at Okanagan Naturopathic Healthcare suggest at least five minutes twice a day of belly breathing and positive affirmations.
Several vitamins, herbal medicines and homeopathics can prepare the body to fight off invading organisms. You can never go wrong with Vitamin C. Vitamin C is the body’s number one anti-oxidant and at high doses stimulates the reproduction of immune cells. Echinacea is probably the most well-known herbal remedy for supporting a healthy immune function and for good reason. Complex Homeopathics also have a powerful preventative and therapeutic efficacy. The key is to start taking these remedies prior to getting sick. The idea is to be proactive – not reactive.
For those who are high risk or do contract the flu, we recommend Intravenous Nutrient therapy. This is where various nutrients, some mentioned above, are introduced into the body directly into the blood at mega doses and in synergistic rations to optimize health and healing.
ONH Recipe of the Month: Smashed Yam and Black Bean Quesadillas
Serve these child-friendly quesadillas with a mild salsa for dipping and a small green salad on the side. Other fun things to serve with these are freshly made guacamole or plain organic yogurt for dipping. Use a pizza cutter to slice into wedges to make dipping easy for little hands.
1 large yam, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced small
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
2 to 3 cups cooked black beans, well drained
Sea salt, to taste
Brown rice or corn tortillas
Spinach or arugula leaves
Grated organic cheese, optional
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place yam chunks into a baking dish and add about ¼ inch of water. Cover and bake for about 35 minutes or until very tender.
- To make the beans, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil then onions; sauté for about 5 to 7 minutes or until onions are very tender.
- Add cumin, chili powder, black beans, and salt. Using a fork or the back of a spatula, smash the black beans as you heat them with the onions. Continue turning and smashing until the desired consistency has been reached. Set aside in a bowl.
- In a clean 10-inch skillet, add one tortilla then spread a layer of black beans, spinach leaves, and cheese if desired. Then add a few chunks of yams and smash them with the back of a fork. Top with another tortilla. Heat over medium heat for about 2 minutes then flip the quesadilla and heat the other side for another 2 minutes. The trick to making these is to make sure you don’t add too much filling!
- Transfer to a plate and cut into slices with a pizza cutter.
From The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook
(second edition): Whole Foods Recipes for Personal and Planetary Health, by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre, MS, CN. This fantastic cookbook is used by every staff member at ONH and is available for purchase at the clinic.
For more information on Okanagan Naturopathic Healthcare Inc, please visit www.naturopathichealthcare.ca