As we move into the fall and winter seasons it’s more important than ever to make sure that we are maintaining and supporting strong, healthy immune systems. A strong immune system is our best protection against germs and makes it harder for them to gain a foothold. In today’s environment it’s more important than ever to have a healthy immune system, and just good common sense!
There are a few things I feel that are indispensable as we move into the fall and winter seasons…. I refer to them as “winter wellness must’s… as in “MUST HAVES!” or in some cases “MUST DO’s!” Some are common knowledge like being sure to cover our mouth when we sneeze or cough, and simply washing our hands with plain old soap and water more frequently while also avoiding touching our mouth, nose and eyes with our hands, as that is an easy way for germs to enter into our bodies. Others are not so obvious at first glance.
Many people believe using hand sanitizers are an effective way to purify and cleanse your hands. They are popular and one can find them at the entrance to most stores nowadays I avoid them like the plague. Why? TRICLOSAN!!!
Hand sanitizers and many liquid soaps are full of triclosan which has been making headlines of late because of the negative impact it’s having on our health. In an attempt to reduce bacteria levels
You’ll also find triclosan in clothing, furniture, cookware, and yes, even toys. If the label says “germ-killing” or “antibacterial” chances are it contains triclosan. There are other reasons I avoid alcohol based antibacterial hand sanitizers and many liquid soaps too… because of some of the other chemicals found in them. Triclocarban, which is triclosan’s cousin, should also be avoided. Many solid bar soaps contain triclocarban. Researches believe it too is a hormone disruptor. Here are a few of the reasons I try to avoid them:
- Triclosan is suspected of being a hormone disruptor and altering how the thyroid works.
- It can make many our allergies and asthma more severe.
- Research shows that bacteria have developed increased resistance to triclosan just as they have to many antibiotics.
- Many contain dyes and other hazardous ingredients that can be absorbed through the skin causing allergic reactions and sensitivities that lead to behavioral reactions in children.
- Hormonal changes can lead to reduced fertility in men and women, early puberty in girls, and increased testosterone that has been associated with heightened aggressive behavior in boys.
- Harm to our environment and future generations. Triclosan is now being found in breast milk and in waterways, and is affecting the ability of fish to swim in a normal manner.
- Alcohol based hand sanitizers can cause dryness, which can lead to broken skin. Breaks in skin give easy access to contagions which the users of hand sanitizers are attempting to prevent.
In December of 2013, the FDA announced that antibacterial soaps with ingredients such as triclosan and triclocarban might not be safe after all, nor any more effective than plain old soap and water. Even though the FDA has admitted that there are valid concerns about adverse health effects posed to humans from these ingredients they continue to allow them to be added to makeup soaps, toothpastes, deodorant, and other personal care products, and even in facial tissues and garbage bags. I say ditch any products that contain these and other harmful chemicals such as parabens, phthalates and chemically synthesized artificial fragrances, and switch to using safe, natural, toxic-free products instead.
Instead of hand sanitizers containing triclosan, or other harmful ingredients, I prefer to carry the POWERFUL Thieves Hand Sanitizer and Thieves Spray with me in my purse. I use them when going grocery shopping, or for that matter anytime I’m out in public. They are safe, natural, and non-toxic AND of course, have the added benefit of containing the Thieves blend of essential oils. My favorite use? Liberally applying one of them to my hands before grabbing the shopping cart handle, and resting in the knowledge that I’m do it with a safe, all natural product, without the use of triclosan!
A HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEM
The single most important thing that we can do as we head into the fall and winter months is to make sure our immune system is strong and healthy, and there are various ways to do that. Eating right, getting enough vitamins and minerals along with improving digestion and assimilation, and last but not least… getting enough moderate exercise 3 to 4 times a week are at the top of the list.
Eating Right Is A No-Brainer!
We’ve all heard the saying “You are what you eat” right? Well, it basically means junk in, junk out! Food is fuel for the body and if we’re loading our body down with dead, over-heated, over-processed, prepackaged, preservative laden food or eating at fast food joints then you body isn’t going to have what it needs to operate at optimum levels. Eating right means eating an assortment of nutrient-dense foods and part of that equation means eating more complex carbohydrates and lots of FRESH low glycemic fruits and vegetables. This means eliminating junk food, prepared foods and sugar from our diets as much as possible. Severely limiting simple carbohydrates as well, as they turn to sugar very quickly after eating and are called high glycemic foods. Complex carbohydrates tend to have more fiber and are usually considered low glycemic foods. According to the Glycemic Index Foundation, eating a diet rich in low-glycemic foods helps keep blood glucose and insulin levels healthy, reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease and can also help people sustain a healthy body weight. Complex carbohydrate sources, such as whole-grain breads, starchy vegetables and beans, deliver fiber, as well as valuable amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Vitamins and Minerals Support the Immune System
One of the best ways to make SURE that you’re getting enough immune-boosting nutrients is to eat an assortment of nutrient-dense foods, supplement your diet with high-quality supplements, including enzymes and probiotics. These steps will provide the biggest immune boost because no single nutrient can cure or prevent illness. Many people find that adding probiotics help to maintain healthy levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut and adding enzymes assures proper digestion and assimilation of food.
Benefits of Moderate, Regular Exercise
Recent studies also suggest that there are benefits to regular, moderate exercise other than helping to keep you in shape. There’s a good chance that regular, moderate exercise helps build your immune system by oxygenating your cells, which in turn helps you to fight off diseases including the common cold. Your heart gets stronger, your lungs are better equipped at handling oxygen and in oxygenating the body, and this in turn gives a boost to the cells responsible for attacking bacteria. These cells appear to work less efficiently in those who don’t exercise as opposed to those who do.
VITAMINS & MINERALS
Supplementing our diet with vitamins and minerals is no longer an option. Prior to 2002 most doctors and mainstream health officials scoffed at the notion that dietary supplementation was necessary. But in 2002, a report in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) began to signal support of their use. Alternative health proponents have known that the food being grown and produced in our country has been lacking in nutrition for decades now, and they have been promoting vitamin and mineral supplementation for many years now. They knew that we were not getting enough vitamins and minerals in our diet and that supplementation was no longer an option. Vitamins and minerals are essential constituents of a healthy diet and have long been known to influence the immune system, and are a crucial component to our health and well-being. Vitamins A and D have received particular attention in recent years as these vitamins have been shown to have an unexpected and crucial effect on the immune response. My recent research into ways to boost the immune system found the following:
- Raising your vitamin A, B, C and D levels can help keep your immune system is in top notch shape.
- Vitamin A: A fat-soluble vitamin, retinol is crucial for immune defense and is the key to the gut making the right decisions. Getting enough vitamin A is crucial if you want to stop germs and bacteria from getting into your system in the first place. Many believe the gut is where health begins.
- B vitamins: In addition to providing your body the energy it needs, B vitamins have been shown to improve the immune system, particularly in women. Supplying your body with plenty of B vitamins can actually increase the number of white blood cells that you have in your body. White blood cells are responsible for getting rid of germs and bacteria.
- Vitamin C: Championed by Linus Pauling, it’s an immune system booster par excellence. Recent studies show that tissue levels of Vitamin C top out at around two to three grams per day of oral intake, but nutritionally oriented physicians sometimes overcome this limitation by administering high intravenous doses of C to patients with compromised immune systems.
- Vitamin D3: The Endocrine Society Practice Guidelines recommend a 2- to 3-fold increase in vitamin D3 intake, with a tolerable upper intake level of 10,000 IU/d. If you want to take vitamin D, it is unlikely to cause you any harm, as long as you take LESS than 10,000 IU per day.
- Omega-3’s: Though there is no established recommended daily intake for omega-3s, a healthy diet containing significant amounts of foods rich in this essential fatty acid is clearly a wise choice as research shows that it enhances the immune system. By increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, you will naturally bring the ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids back into a healthier, 2-1 or (optimally) 1-1 balance.
- and Probiotics– Adding these will assure that you’re actually able to assimilate and use the nutrients that you’re ingesting.
- Selenium: A clue to selenium’s crucial role in immune system support is the fact that serum levels of this mineral are the single most important nutrient factor accounting for survival in patients with AIDS. Researchers now suspect that selenium deficiency may allow viruses to mutate into more dangerous pathogens. Selenium’s role as a partner for the key antioxidant glutathione also helps explain its protective effects. Brazil nuts, tuna and halibut are all good sources of selenium.
BENEFITS OF ESSENTIAL OILS
Modern scientific research has proven, time and time again, that pure, unadulterated, therapeutic-grade essential oils are potent, very complex in their molecular structure, and are powerful, some having remarkable properties. They are the concentrated essences of various plants and when properly distilled and stored still contain their life force and energy. Research indicates that essential oils have many, many health benefits and help build, strengthen and support the various body systems and their physical processes… Immune, Digestive, Respiratory, Cardiovascular, Elimination, Integumentary, Skeletal Muscular, and Reproductive. They can play a dramatic role in supporting healthy body systems including our emotions, learning, and attitude, too. Because essential oils are so, so concentrated they pack a lot of power into just a drop or two of oil.