By Dr. Sara Hart, ND, MSOM, CO registered Naturopathic Doctor & Licensed Acupuncturist
Part 1 of 3
This season our community has been hit especially hard with the flu and other mysterious acute illnesses. While it is typical that wintertime is known as “flu season,” it is not typical to have changes in our climate to such an extent that winter feels more like a perpetual fall/spring combination here in Colorado.
Global warming poses a myriad of challenges to everyone on this planet and viruses and other pathogens are affected as well. Here in Lyons we have seen an
increasing trend of otherwise healthy people becoming severely ill with acute viral infections. It is important to evaluate all the contributors to our changing climate and shift the factors that we are responsible for, both for our outer ecosystem as well as our internal system.
Factors that diminish the immune systems response are often the easiest to address. What we put into our bodies on a daily basis will have a profound effect on how strong our bodies are to respond to an illness. Here are some of the most important things to be aware of:
• Sugar: Cane sugar in all its crystalline, taste bud activating forms has a negative impact on the immune system. White blood cell activity (our protective force in the body) comes to a screeching halt for five to six hours after a single dose. That means if sugar is an ingredient in many foods that a person consumes throughout the day, any virus they are exposed to will have a powerful head start on attacking the body. If you routinely eat foods like bread, crackers, cereals, processed meats, chips and other snack items, you are likely eating sugar all through the day. Then if you are like most American’s who reach for sweet treats to boost your mood, energy or as rewards your immune system suffers even further.
• Pesticides and herbicides: When we consume foods that are produced with added chemicals, these substances commonly activate the immune system because they are not the standard food molecules that our bodies are designed to work with. This immune activation serves as a distraction from the more important role of bacteria and virus prevention. Whenever our bodies are inundated with substances that it doesn’t recognize, the energy required to handle these is going to be a deterrent from optimal health.
• Polluted water: Today waterways are especially affected by toxic chemicals. Many of the wells in our area contain high levels or radioactive compounds and the city water often has measurable amounts of contaminants from individual and industrial use. Environmental toxins will also create an obstacle to the immune systems availability for it’s more important role of protecting our bodies against infection.
In support of your optimal health, you can boost your immune system not by taking more substances into the body, but simply by creating a more clean lifestyle and avoiding substances that impair it. Reducing and eliminating processed sugars in one’s diet is a great place to start. Committing to organic food consumption benefits not only the individual but also the landscape and reduces factors that affect climate change in many ways. Filtering water and ensuring your water source is doing an adequate job of providing clean water is incredibly important. Keep in mind, we only can find the substances we look for; so examining the routine testing of food and waterways to ensure they are thorough in their evaluation is important.
For the treatment of acute illness symptoms, natural medicine offers a wide array of tools to support your health. Come visit us at Stillwater Clinic & Apothecary at 418 High Street for your optimal health support.