In the latest issue of Real Style Magazine, Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor National Spokesperson for Renew Life Canada, Dr. Sara Celik answered some of your burning health and wellness questions. Read an excerpt below.
1. It’s not uncommon in the winter for people to feel tired, sluggish and unmotivated. What would you recommend for people who feel like this?
Feeling unmotivated and sluggish during the dark, short days of winter is a common occurrence. You are not alone. To beat the winter blues, you have to stay physically active. Be sure to take your vitamins (vitamin D, probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids are great choices) and have a warm winter wardrobe. I encourage my patients to add workouts or yoga classes to their calendar, treating them like appointments.
If you enjoy working out in the evenings, try to pack your gear before you leave the house in the morning. Coming home at the end of a long day can make it difficult to honour your workouts. A workout buddy for 2018 may be a good idea as they can motivate you, keep you accountable and encourage you to beat the cold to get your workouts in.
2. Any tips for families dealing with a household of sniffles, coughs and fevers?
Many people are surprised to learn that 70-80% of the immune system lies in the gut. A rise in cold and flu can occur due to poor gut health and a lack of “friendly” gut bacteria. Although vitamin C, vitamin D, oregano oil, and garlic are popular immune-boosting remedies, live beneficial bacteria – known as probiotics — play a key role in strengthening the immune system.
One study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2015 showed that the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium bifidum provided benefits related to cold/flu during acute stress. These positive results on immunity were observed in as little as 2 weeks. Probiotics work quickly and play a vital role in immune health. Like strong guardians, beneficial bacteria protects you and your family against harmful invaders.
3. How can we boost our immune system naturally?
Simple — Eat well, sleep well and minimize stress.
A healthy diet is vital to boosting our immune systems. One can of soda can cause more than a 50% decrease in immunity for 5-7 hours following consumption. I encourage my patients to limit sugar and opt for a diet rich in dark green leafy vegetables, ancient grains, and lean protein.
Getting adequate quality sleep is another easy way to maintain a healthy immune system. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. The body follows a circadian rhythm, also known as “the body’s clock”. The circadian rhythm stabilizes with consistent bedtime routines and people typically experience better sleep. If you feel anxious before bed or have trouble falling asleep, practice deep breathing or mindful meditation to de-stress, reduce anxiety and calm the nervous system.
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