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mail-2By Karen Carleton (Our fabulous new ND!!)

As we head into the last part of winter we are reminded of the possibility of coughs, runny noses and influenza. For many of us the question is not if we will get sick, but when, how often and how severe it will be. This brings up an important point about health. Getting sick is not necessarily a bad thing. In coming into contact with a virus we will often develop those symptoms associated with that particular virus. This is our immune system reacting as it should. Where the problem may lie is that instead of being in bed for a few days you are in bed for 3 weeks. The difference between these two scenarios is the efficiency of your immune system. It is the health of your immune system that will determine if you get sick – or how sick you actually get – should you pick up a virus.

How do we establish and maintain a healthy immune system? There are many “tools” in the naturopathic doctor’s medicine bag that can be used to meet this goal.  The following are some tips that you can incorporate on your own into your daily routine:

Eat a warm, delicious & protein-packed breakfast every morning.

  • Soft-boiled eggs on a bed of spinach with a side of turkey bacon
  • Quinoa with cinnamon, toasted almonds, ground flax seeds & coconut milk
  • Avocado and black beans over brown rice

Eat balanced, nutritious meals- and follow the rainbow.

  • Red: berries, beets, radishes, red chard, purple cabbage
  • Orange/Yellow: cauliflower, onions, garlic, squash, carrots, ginger
  • Green: broccoli, kale, green cabbage, leeks, brussel sprouts, mustard greens

Make healthy choices day in and day out!

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule. Sleep is powerful medicine as it is the time when much of our healing takes place and our immune system works at top speed.
  • Drink water! Make it your main beverage. Staying hydrated keeps all of our bodily systems working at their best.
  • Avoid sugar when sick or to avoid getting sick. Said simply – sugar depresses our immune system!
  • Movement (walking, jogging, dancing, working out, etc.) increases the circulation of blood and immune components which boosts immunity. Practices such as hydrotherapy and dry skin brushing also increase circulation.
  • Get outside for some vitamin D! Even in our winter months there is sunshine making its way through the clouds. (Make sure to keep taking your D though, it’s hard to get enough here in the Pacific NW even in the summer!)

When you incorporate these practices into your daily routine you will not only increase your wellness for the winter months you will be preparing for the springtime.  A balanced immune system will not overreact to the pollens that come with spring leading to sinus congestion, itchy eyes, scratchy throat and the other symptoms associated with seasonal allergies.

Today is the day to start feeling your best!

In Health,

Dr. Karen

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