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Improve your immune system
Bloating, blues, blood pressure, and bad digestion. As a naturopathic doctor, I hear this in my office daily. Patients come in explaining how they are suffering from all or some of the following: chronically tired, in pain, plagued by poor digestion, weight that won’t budge, poor memory, riding emotional roller coasters, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, no energy, chronic allergies, and skin rashes.
The answers to these ailments can often be found by improving one’s immune system.
Your body is a marvel. The more I practice naturopathic medicine the more amazed I am at our bodies ability to heal itself, if given the chance.
However, often we don’t allow it to heal, because of our diet, sleeping habits, and inactivity.
Here are some simple changes you can try for four weeks to improve your immune system and improve your health.
Improve your fuel
• Avoid white foods, especially wheat and white sugar.
• Eat five colours of vegetables per day.
• Eat at least one to two pieces of fruit per day, but no dried fruit.
• Eat lean protein with your meals, especially cold water fish.
• Eat a small handful of a variety of nuts per day, especially Brazil nuts.
• Use good quality extra virgin olive oil. Never use margarine.
• Chew your food. Most people chew there to six times before swallowing, yet ideally we should chew at least 20 times.
Quench your thirst
It amazes me how little water people actually drink. Good amounts of water daily can be of great benefit. Drinking one to two litres, of Vancouver tap water can help with reducing headaches, pain, constipation, mental fogginess, fatigue, and much more.
Move your body
Walk, run, swim or cycle. Use weights, or even those walking poles gathering dust in your closet. Talk it over with your doctor and come up with a plan to move. The benefits of exercise are very clear. Studies show exercise can improve your mood, heart and brain function, and help your bones. Do we want to be a stagnant pond gathering all the bad things or a clear running stream?
Healthy sleep habits
Good sleep is absolutely required to function at our best and repair our bodies. Good sleep habits are important for weight loss, improved mood, reducing inflammation, and improving immune function. So avoid stimulants like coffee, tea, colas after 2 p.m. Late night news right before bed is also not ideal for getting a restful sleep. Sleep in complete darkness and invest in a good pillow.
Focus on mental health
Stress plays a role our lives and our health pays the price. It is as important to take care of our physical selves as it is to care for ourselves mentally. Write in a journal, talk to a counsellor, practice meditation, and don’t forget to play. Gather with family and friends. Taking care of our mental and emotional well-being is key to living healthy, happy lives.
January is a great time to start again. I suggest a change to celebrate the beginning of the new year. Renew healthy goals and start taking care of how you feel, think and act. Health is about so much more than simply the absence of symptoms.
And with a few simple changes you can feel healthier and happier.
• Dr. Heli McPhie is a naturopathic physician at the Village Clinic in Tsawwassen, 778-434-3072