The TV bombards us with ads promising that vaccines and pharmaceutical products will “keep you and your family” healthy during the flu season. Are there alternatives?
I just gave a talk at a local school on “staying healthy.” Parents came armed with notepads, ready to hear my favorite natural solutions to sniffles and coughs. They went home with those. However, I started with a question: Does “healthy” necessarily mean, “not sick?”
Philip Incao, MD, a physician in Colorado, describes health as “a beautiful sunny day with a brilliant blue sky and no clouds in sight. At any time, if our Spirit is strong, then, like the sun we can dissolve the clouds that come our way. Sometimes too many clouds form at the same time, or a cloud becomes too large and obscures the sun’s light. If we don’t pay attention to these messages, the clouds can grow and merge into a huge thunderstorm. After the rain, the sky becomes clear again.”
I really love this description. I can visualize my spirit making those clouds go away. I am also well aware of times when I have not paid attention to the messages and I have endured some thunderstorms!
Here are some of the points from my talk.
Main ingredients for a strong immune system:
- Nutritious, unprocessed, organic food in season,
- Clean, filtered air and water
- Daily and ample sleep/ exercise/ sun / nature
Impediments to staying healthy:
- Toxins from foods, environment
- Lifestyle stressors in job, family, friends
- Issues of inconvenience and changing long standing habits
Here is a list of specific foods and supplements that boost the immune system. Thank you to Lisa Rudley for helping to compile it.
Foods “Warming” foods. Less raw; more well-cooked for winter. Soups and stews. Seasonal fruits – apples, pears, persimmons, vegetables – root veggies- onions, turnips, squash, parsnips, beets, radishes, greens, kale, collards, cilantro, parsley. Limit sugar! Read Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.
Vitamin A – Important for vision and mucous membrane integrity. RDA 1,000-2,000 IU for children,
Vitamin C – 2-4 grams per day or to “bowel tolerance.”
Vitamin D3 – Adults need 5,000 IU when midday sun exposure is not possible. Infants need 1,000 IU, and older children need 2,000 IU. – Need good oils for absorption.
Vitamin E - Anti-inflammatory effects and increases resistance to infection. Use only natural vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol), not the synthetic form (dl-alpha-tocopherol). A mixed tocopherol form of vitamin E is best because children need the gamma as well as the alpha forms. 100 mg for children under two and 200 mg for children aged 2-12.
Omega-3 fatty acids – As fresh, wild, cold-water small fish or their oils in capsules or liquid form. Salmon, cod, mackerel, sardines. Flax & Hemp seeds for vegans.
Zinc – 25 mg zinc per day, but if you continue zinc for an extended period of time also take copper to prevent a deficiency (10:1 ratio of copper to zinc).
Colostrum – Immunoglobulin IgA coats the intestinal lining preventing attack by pathogens. Lactoferrin locks onto iron releasing it to red blood cells and depriving bacteria of the iron they need for reproduction. Lysozyme destroys microorganisms on contact. Cytokines boost T-cell activity and stimulate production of a baby’s own protective immunoglobulins. Polysaccharides bind to bacteria and block their attachment to mucus membranes. Take two capsules twice a day through the winter months.
Mushrooms: Activate white blood cells and stimulate antibodies. Reishi (ganoderma), maitake (grifola), shiitake (lentinus), polyporus, and tremella. Use dried or in tablet, powder, or liquid extract form.
Influenzinum – One dose each week for 4 weeks (9C, 12C, or 30C) if you are exposed to the flu.
Osccillococcinum – 3 X a day for 2-3 days
In today’s fast-paced world we “need” our kids to be “not sick.” If they have to miss school, one of us has to miss work, or grandma, a friend, or other relative has to fill in. It’s inconvenient, and in using a pathology model, means that something has gone amiss.
If we trust our bodies, though, “sick” actually means our immune system is working well. By coughing we bring up mucous; fevers help clear out toxins; rashes mean detoxification. In fact, in the “olden days” getting sick was a bi-annual house-cleaning ritual!
Dr. Alan Scherr of the Northport Wellness Center on Long Island suggests that we give kids “well days” instead of “sick days!” I like the idea of putting health into the positive. Staying home is respectful of your body’s working to stay well.
Nature is the greatest healer. Take a walk through the leaves. Hike, sit under a tree by a stream. One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and our children is to “SLOW DOWN,” says Susan Johnson, MD, a California pediatrician. Remember, doing “nothing” is often the best!