edgemontnaturopathic
Immune system support

Immune system support

Cold and flu season is here!

Here are three foods to support your immune system with winter:

 

Tulsi tea

Tulsi, is also known as Holy basil or Ocimum sanctum. This tasty herb has gentle anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal potential through its ability to support the immune system. It also acts as an antioxidant and can help support the body in times of mental and physical stress. It helps to prevent cellular damage from environmental pollutants and prolonged physical exertion. This healing plant has a long history of use in the ayurvedic traditions of India.

Pumpkin seeds 

These seeds offer a dietary source of zinc as well as protein, magnesium and other trace minerals. Zinc is essential for proper immune system function as nearly all immune system cells depend on it. Zinc deficiency leads to inflammation and decreases in B, T17 and Treg cells.

Brassica family

The brassica family of plants includes many familiar faces: cabbage, broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, radishes, and cauliflower. What might surprise you is that in addition to containing various compounds that support liver function, they are also an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C rapidly decreases in the body during stress or infection. Adequate levels of vitamin C support many immune cells, such as natural killer cells and lymphocytes. 

 

References:

Beveridge S, Wintergerst E, Maggini S, Hornig D. Immune-enhancing role of vitamin C and zinc and effect on clinical conditions. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2008;67(OCE1):85-94. doi:10.1017/s0029665108006927

Cohen M. Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014;5(4):251. doi:10.4103/0975-9476.146554

Domínguez-Perles R, Mena P, García-Viguera C, Moreno D. Brassica foods as a dietary source of vitamin C: a review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(8):1076-91. doi:10.1080/10408398.2011.626873.

GLEW R, GLEW R, CHUANG L et al. Amino Acid, Mineral and Fatty Acid Content of Pumpkin Seeds (Cucurbita spp) and Cyperus esculentus Nuts in the Republic of Niger. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition. 2006;61(2):49-54. doi:10.1007/s11130-006-0010-z

Wessels I, Maywald M, Rink L. Zinc as a Gatekeeper of Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017;9(12):1286. doi:10.3390/nu9121286

Daily Habits to Lift Your Spirits This Winter

Daily Habits to Lift Your Spirits This Winter

Winter is here! Decreased daylight hours encourages us to take time to rest before spring returns. Many people also report a drop in spirits during this time of year. Below are some lifestyle tips to make this winter your best one yet.

Warming Foods

Traditional Chinese medicine encourages the consumption of cooked foods in the winter as they are easier to digest. In addition, eating warming spices such as ginger and cinnamon help to warm the body.

Mindfulness Practice

The research is in, meditation and other mindfulness practices improve mood and performance through improving self-awareness, attention and emotional control. Consider trying a class or using a free app.

Forest time

Spending time in nature promotes parasympathetic activity, reducing anxiety, fatigue, depression, blood pressure, and heart rate.

Exercise

Exercise improves anxiety, stress, and depression. These effects are from changes to neurotransmitters in the brain, hormonal regulation and an increase in endorphins. Exercise also reduces inflammation through numerous biochemical pathways.

Sunlight lamp

Morning exposure to light that contains short blue wavelengths decreases the brain’s production of melatonin, making us feel more alert. Exposure to light during the day and darkness at night helps to regulate our circadian rhythm, the natural fluctuations of hormones throughout the day. Furthermore, light exposure is linked to increased serotonin production, one of the hormones that tends to decrease in depression. Using a full spectrum light in the morning may help to improve your mood and sleep.

Time with loved ones

Make time to spend time with those you care about. Make dinner with your family, have tea with a friend, call an old friend, or write a letter to a family member you haven’t seen in a while.

Hygge

Hygge is a Danish word that does not have a direct English translation. It refers to the practice of creating a feeling of warmth, peace and happiness. The options are endless but here are some places to start.

      • Make your living space a little cozier with a favorite blanket, candle and photos of loved ones or favorite memories.
      • Make time to share a special treat with someone you love. Bonus points if you make it from scratch together.
      • Give yourself the night off to enjoy any way you choose.
Surviving Stress

Surviving Stress

Some phases of life are more challenging than others. This could be because of an intensive workload, final exam season, a family crisis, life transition or recovering from an injury. The increased mental, physical or emotional fatigue can leave your body feeling like it needs a little additional support.

What can you do?

Make time to relax. This could be extra sleep, reducing your day-to-day commitments, or even a Netflix binge. Try to set aside at least one hour a day to do whatever feels right for you.

Say no, or ask for support as needed. Do you need alone time? Or some help with groceries? Be honest with your friends and family on how they can best support you.

Meditation. The research is in! Meditation can increase resilience, decrease burnout, improve emotional regulation, and decrease stress.

Exercise.  Exercise has been shown to improve cognition, memory and mental health. This is partially due to its ability to increase dopamine.

Nature time.  Time spent in natural settings has been found to decrease anxiety, anger, depression, and decrease blood pressure.

Eat a healthy diet. Aim for a diet which is 80% whole, unprocessed foods.  Neurogenesis, the formation of new brain cells, is partially regulated by brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Early studies show BDNF is increased by eating carenoid-rich fruits and vegetables. Neurogenesis is decreased by diets high in fat and sugar.

 

How can a health professional offer support?

Acupuncture

  • A preliminary study found combining acupuncture with an anti-depressant, may result in better psychological health, compared to the anti-depressant alone.
  • Acupuncture may decrease perceived stress and improve energy.

Myers’ Cocktail IV

  • A blend of B vitamins, vitamin C and minerals such as magnesium, are administered intravenously and are tailored to an individuals specific needs.
  • Taking these nutrients as an IV, allows for a rapid increase in cellular levels. This can reduce fatigue, support immune function and decrease migraines.

Supplements

  • Supplements contain herbs, nutrients, homeopathic extracts or other natural substances.
  • Your naturopathic doctor can chose supplements specific to your health needs.
      • Periods of stress can disrupt digestive function, alter mood or cause hormonal imbalances. Specific nutraceuticals can be prescribed as a part of a treatment plan.

Tailored diet plans

  • Skin concerns? Digestive upset?
    • IgG or IgA food testing may be recommended to assess for foods that are causing inflammation.

Pharmaceuticals

  • Can be prescribed as needed as part of a well-rounded healthcare plan.

Counseling

  • Can provide a space to process and allow for self-reflection.
  • Can promote a healthy relationship with challenging emotions.

Massage therapy

  • Promotes relaxation and may decrease anxiety.