Why is this time of winter cold and flu season? It's not the cold
weather's fault. The real reason people catch a cold or flu this time
of year is because they've worn down their immune system with weeks of
overindulging in sugar and alcohol (another form of sugar!). The
assault on our defenses starts with Halloween candy in October and ends
with the Super Bowl and Valentine's Day in February.
Did you know that sugar impairs your white blood cell function,
preventing them from doing their job of scavenging harmful bacteria? Or
that after eating sugar, your immune system effectiveness can be cut by
50% for up to five hours!
When winter sets in we also see much less daylight in the upper
northern hemisphere. We're tempted to just curl up under a blanket and
stay indoors. Less sunshine can deplete our stores of vitamin D,
which can devastate our immune system.
That's why now is the time to give yourself an Immune System Tune-Up to
strengthen your resistance to viral infections like the cold and flu.
Ray Ilg, ND
Raynette Ilg, N.D., is the owner of
Branch Wellness Center in South Elgin, IL. A Naturopath who earned a
Bachelors of Science in Biological Medicine and then a Doctor of
Naturopathic Medicine from National University of Health Sciences, she
employs Nutritional Guidance, Herbal Medicine, Hydrotherapy, and
Homeopathy in her clinic. Dr. Ray can be contacted via her website,
Olive Branch Wellness Center
First, cut sugar
out of your diet completely (yes, this includes honey, maple syrup and
evaporated cane juice) and substitute healthy sweeteners like xylitol
Next, if you've never had your vitamin D levels checked, this is a
great time to come in for this simple blood test. Vitamin D deficiency
not only weakens the immune system, it's the hidden cause of a long
list of health problems. Many patients report that raising their
vitamin D to recommended levels was the single most important step they
took in improving their health. If your tests show your vitamin D is
low, we'll get you on the right dose of a high quality D3 supplement,
rule out other health factors that may affect how your body is using
vitamin D, then we'll test again in a few months to see if you're on
take a good quality whole food vitamin and krill oil supplement daily.
Krill oil is packed with bioavailable Omega 3, antioxidants, vitamins
A, E and D, which work together to both soothe and support the immune
system while decreasing inflammation. And don't forget your probiotic
supplement to reinforce the natural immune defenses in your gut.
Of course, conventional wisdom still stands: wash your hands, get moderate exercise, plenty of sleep and good old vitamin C.
If you're concerned about your immune defenses, or seem to get every
cold and flu floating around, make an appointment at Olive Branch
Wellness Center so that we can personalize your immune boosting
tune-up. Great health starts with strengthening your own body's natural
Olive Branch Wellness Center 630-370-7290
The Monthly "Vita - Mini"
B9, better known as folic acid or folate, is important in brain
function and in balancing emotional and mental health. It also plays a
role in regulating red blood cells and healthy homocysteine levels.
B9 is critical for making new cells, which is one reason why a lack of
folic acid during pregnancy can cause neural tube birth defects. This
deficiency is also suspect in newborn heart defects and cases of cleft
palate. This, plus evidence that folic acid can reduce the chance of
preeclampsia or premature birth, is why pregnant women are now urged to
take a folic acid supplement daily, starting one month before getting
Folic acid deficiency in adults is actually quite common. Symptoms of
deficiency can include loss of appetite, shortness of breath, diarrhea,
gingivitis, tongue inflammation, irritability and forgetfulness.
If you take birth control, diabetes or cholesterol lowering
medications, you may need a supplement, as these can reduce folic acid
levels in the blood. People with alcoholism, irritable bowel syndrome,
celiac disease, kidney or liver disease can also develop a folic acid
Good food sources of B9 include green leafy vegetables (think "foliage
= folic acid"), asparagus, broccoli, okra, beans, avocado, citrus
fruits, seeds and nuts.
Sweet Holiday Treat!
Reindeer Bombs (15 Bombs)
2.5 cups almond flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract + extra for cream cheese
cream cheese not softened
3 TBSP coconut sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon, mixed together, to roll cookies in
oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift
together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk
together the egg, coconut oil and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients
until combined. Mix some vanilla extract into cream cheese, depending
on how much cream cheese you use( ratio to taste).
Scoop out a couple tablespoons of the dough, roll into a ball, then
flatten enough to put a small amount of cream cheese in the
Roll the dough around the cream cheese, and then roll in the
cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place on baking sheet and bake for 10-11
minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before eating!