02 Oct Four Elements That Will Enhance Your Health
October marks the beginning of the “flu season” in the northern hemisphere. As the temperature changes and we move indoors, the nanobugs get passed around and we become vulnerable to colds and flu. If you want to maintain peak performance of your body throughout the winter months, consider consistently indulging in these four elements to enhance your immune system.
#1 Water – preferably filtered at room or body temperature.
Why? The human body is composed of 75% water and the human brain is 85% water. So, even minor fluctuations in hydration can affect how a person looks and feels. Especially in the winter when the air is dry, there is a significant insensible water loss with breathing and subtle perspiring. The mucous membranes and cilia (the tiny hairs in the nose) need adequate hydration to function properly. Their job is to wave and push dirt, debris and microbes toward the outside of the body so they do us no harm. All body processes are carried out in a fluid medium and the production of antibodies and white blood cells requires water and protein.
How? When you first awaken in the morning, drink 8-12 ounces of water. Leave a glass or bottle next to your bed at night and drink it before you even get out of the bed. It is amazing how much more energy you will have in the morning. A netty pot is a great way to flush your sinuses. Include it in your morning routine, too. The recipe is simple: one cup of fresh boiled water with 1/8 tsp. of salt dissolved in it and cooled to body temperature.
During the day keep water available and drink 4 ounces an hour – that is in addition to coffee, tea or other clear beverages. Don’t wait to drink until you are thirsty and don’t try to quench your thirst with milk or juice or beer. Drink water first, wait 10 minutes and then enjoy other beverages. No sense in loading the liquid with mega-calories. You won’t enjoy those precious calories until your initial thirst is quenched, anyway.
#2 Sleep – at least 7 hours (adults) and children and teens need 10 hours.
Why? Your immune system works hard when you are sleeping. Give it a chance to protect you by sleeping well and long.
How? Keep your bedroom cool, quiet and dark. No TV, video games or social networking in the hour or two before bedtime. Studies have shown that besides keeping the human mind engaged, close range exposure to lighted screens can impede internal secretion of melatonin – the body’s master sleep hormone. Also, avoid juice, sweetened sodas and caffeinated drinks before bedtime. The sugar can mess with your blood sugar levels and end up stimulating your brain and awakening you. Some research has shown that adequate sleep at night can curb appetite and cravings during the waking hours – ultimately saving you calories and grocery money.
#3 Probiotics – the good bacteria naturally found in yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and also in nutritional supplements.
Why? After taking antibiotics or with poor nutritional intake, the intestines are depleted of healthy bacteria (like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium) that compete with the pathogens (like Salmonella enteritidis and Clostridium difficile) to keep the bacterial population of the “gut” in balance and under control. Probiotics will enhance the body’s immune system and improve your digestion and your complexion.
How? Get lots of probiotics through foods like yogurt, kefir, Swiss cheese and fermented foods like sauerkraut and pickles. Stay away from yogurt with added sugar or other chemical sweeteners. Try Greek or plain yogurt as salad dressing or combine it with granola for a snack. The best probiotic supplements are enteric coated so the bacteria make it to the destination (your intestines) and are not killed by the stomach acid. Visit www.brendawatson.com for lots more information on probiotics and digestive health.
#4 Laughter – like a big old belly laugh!
Why? Belly laughing will stimulate “feel-good” chemicals within the body and also enhance the immune system.
How? Pets and children are good laughter stimulants – just watch them for a while and even start the laughter with fake laughing. It will turn into joyful laughing very quickly. Do it in the privacy of your own home. Better yet, share it in public – get a wave of laughter going and spread the benefits to others. And first thing in the morning when you become conscious – smile! Even a fake smile will affect your internal chemistry and can change your day. Try it!