Posts tagged: Immune Power

3 Foods to Eat to Prevent the Cold & Flu

Have you ever considered whether there is a relationship between the foods you eat, your immune system, and your ability to fight off seasonal bugs? Are you aware of nature’s miracle workers that help prevent the cold and flu? How about the foods you can eat to help you recover quickly from a cold or flu?

In this 3-minute clinic, we discuss the top 3 foods you can eat to help prevent the cold and flu. We also talk about natural remedies to consider to speed up your recovery time if you come down with the cold or flu.

“Welcome to the three minute clinic on how to prevent the common cold, and common flu. Now let me review with you the single most important thing I need you to know. The single most important thing you need to know is that it is your immune system, immune power, yes immune power is the key—your immune system, your ability to fight infection, your defense mechanism. In other words, it’s like a team. A team has an offense and a defense, your immune system is your defense. And everybody that studies sports and knows how championships are won knows that championships are won through defense. So when you build your defense against illness, when you build your defense against viruses, when you build your defense against germs, that’s how you protect yourself and prevent the flu. And to build your defense, that means building your immune system. So we’re going to talk about today the three foods to eat to prevent the cold and flu. And, again we go back to stress—remember that emotional stress and nutritional stress are typically present when you catch he flu. We call it the over-stressed, under-nurtured syndrome, too much stress, not enough good nutrition. That’s how people get in trouble. But particularly if you know what not to eat—meaning stay away from eggs, and dairy, and sweets and flour, you’re going to do well. Now what do you do to boost your immune system? Obviously exercise, positive, thinking, meditation are key—but nutritionally there are three things I want you to know about what to do to prevent the flu. Number one, you need vitamin-C rich foods. So typically, citrus fruits are the way to go. Fresh-squeezed orange juice, fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, pineapples, tangerines, mangoes, that’s what we’re looking for. As a matter of fact, a lot of time moms will call me when their kids are sick, I’ll say go to the store, get a bunch of tangerines, get a couple of pink grapefruits—pink instead of white because the pink have more vitamin A—you want to have some pineapples, you want to have some mangoes and you eat to your hearts delight of citrus fruits. That’s number one. Number two, green leafy vegetables. Particularly romaine lettuce—romaine lettuce, again going back to Caesar’s days, romaine, romaine, romaine! So romaine lettuce is very important, and other green leaf vegetables like broccoli and cucumber and celery are very important in the daily diet to help prevent the flu. And the third thing is what we call a “green drink”. We see these things, wheatgrass juice, spirulina, you go to the health food store they have a green drink, they have a green combination of smoothies—that’s what you can take every day. During this winter season I want you to have citrus fruits, I want you to have green leaf vegetables and I want you to have a daily green drink. Now the other thing is, what happens when you get the flu? Well, I want to go into what we call a cleansing diet—which is mostly fruits and vegetables. But there are two or three remedies I want you to know about. The first remedy for treating and overcoming the flu is what we call the red zinger recipe, the Meltzer red zinger recipe. What you do is you get red zinger herbal tea. Sometimes when you go to the store they may not have the red zinger, you might have to get a lemon zinger or acai zinger, or raspberry zinger…but zinger is the key! Because zinger is rich in vitamin A—which is the key, and vitamin C. So you take your red zinger tea—for every cup of tea you take one tea bag, and in that tea you squeeze the juice of half a lemon, you put a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar, Bragg’s apple cider vinegar. Now those of you that are congested with a sinus problems of the flu, inhale the apple cider vinegar like a smelling salt. You could probably get three or four inhalations before you feel that it is too strong. But, you take your herbal tea, your red zinger, put some lemon in it, your apple cider vinegar, you put a little bit of a pinch of cayenne and a teaspoon of honey. Now that remedy, taken every three hours or so will help you get through the flu, and help you clean out the flem and the mucus. In addition to that, there are a couple herbal antibiotics you might consider. One is Echinacea with golden seal, and that’s typically more effective against bacteria. And then there’s astragalus, a Chinese herb that comes in tincture form—so you can take 20-30 drops, three to four times a day-that has an anti-viral power. In addition to that, glutathione, 50 milligrams twice a day is anti-viral, and as we talked about earlier, vitamin C. So in summary, yes you are the most important factor in preventing the flu. Your immune system is the most important factor in preventing the flu. And the foods that I want you to eat during the flu season to boast your immune system and to build you up are vitamin C-rich citrus fruits, I want you to eat green leafy vegetables-particularly romaine lettuce and broccoli, and let me advocate that you have a green drink everyday. Make time for wellness, make time to eat the right foods, and make time to prevent the flu.”

How to Prevent the Cold & Flu

Looking to prevent the cold and flu? Have you ever wondered why some individuals come down with the cold or flu that is going around the office whereas others don’t? Or how some folks seem to recover quickly from an upper respiratory infection whereas with others it may linger on for days or weeks? Is it just a matter of washing your hands and trying to avoid contacting germs or are there other forces at work?

Check out our 3-minute clinic on preventing the cold and flu to learn how you can make sure you are prepared to get through the cold and flu season without getting sick.

“Welcome to the three-minute clinic at the Meltzer Wellness Institute, and today we are going to be talking about how to prevent the cold and the flu. You know the cold season is upon us, it’s that time of year, the beginning of November, middle of November, into the wintertime and into the winter season. So you are going to see it all over the place, you are going to see upper respiratory infections, you are going to see colds, you are going to see coughing, you are going to see ear infections, you are going to see tonsillitis, you are going to see bronchitis, so what’s up? Why is it that eight out of ten folks in the Western United States and most of the United States during this winter season will have some symptoms of an upper respiratory infection. Have you ever thought about that? How is it that some folks get bronchitis? How some folks get tonsillitis? How some folks get laryngitis, how some folks get the flu and how some folks don’t or how some folks get it and stay sick for a week or two. So there’s a wide variation here, so let’s go into it. How do you get the flu, how do you prevent the flu, that’s what I want you to know today. What you are going to find out is from this series on how to prevent the cold and flu, is what you need to know to stay well, and how to prevent the flu. So let’s look at it. You know, it’s interesting most folks think they catch the flu, that’s pretty much what goes on. In my clinic I’ll hear people say, ‘oh yea I came down with something when I was at my granddaughter’s birthday party, or I went to the movies and people in the front row were sneezing and coughing, I was at the restaurant the waiter coughed on me, I went to a play and the people in the aisle behind us had a bad cold.’ So the mindset is that people generally catch the flu. Now that’s kind of metaphorically accurate— sure you catch the flu from the point of view that you get exposed to bugs and you get exposed to viruses, there is a germ factor in catching the flu—but what people neglect to realize is that you, the individual is the most important factor in whether or not you catch the flu or not. In other words, the germ theory of disease, which alleges that germs cause disease, set medicine back, in my mind, hundreds of years. Now why is that? Because it’s not the germ, it’s how your body interacts with the germ. You see there’s an agent, a germ, and a host, the body. So the relationship between the germ and the host, in other words, the relationship between the virus and the bacteria and your immune system, will determine whether you get the flu or not. So for example, if your immune system is strong and you’re vital and you’re potent and your energy is good and your metabolism is balanced and your body chemistry is strong and balanced, when you get exposed to common viruses and bugs you don’t get the flu. But what happens when your immune system is thinned out? What happens if your self-repair mechanism is not at the highest level? Of course then when you get exposed to viruses and bugs you get the flu. So, it’s kind of like seeing policeman at the scene of the crime. You see, oh yea policeman at the scene of the crime-did they cause the crime? Well no, but they’re at the scene of the crime. Germs are present but the key thing is your immune system. So it’s interesting even if you go back in history back into the 18 and 1900’s when there were plagues that devastated Europe, not everybody got the plague. You have to understand that, not everybody gets sick. So the difference between those who stay well and those who get sick is the immune system. That’s what we’re talking about, so I want you to understand something very simply. The best way, and the most effective way to prevent the cold and prevent the flu is by establishing and developing immune power. The ability of your body to be strong, the ability of your body to defend itself against agents like viruses and bacteria. That’s the key. Now, let’s review. How do you catch the flu, how do you get the flu? Is it an accident, is it something that just happens, do you catch it? No. You get exposed to viruses and bacteria, and when your immune system is thinned out that’s how you catch a cold and you tilt, basically. So tune in and stay tuned in we’re going to have a series of little talks here, three minute clinics, of what you can do, what you need to know, what to eat, what not to eat, what measures you take, besides washing your hands, washing your hands is not enough to prevent the cold an flu. That’s a standard form of therapy, but it is not enough to prevent cold and flu. So stay tuned in to the three minute clinics, the Meltzer Wellness Institute, Make Time for Wellness and make time to prevent the cold and flu.”

The Secret to Preventing the Cold & Flu

Making it through the fall and winter season without coming down with the cold or flu can sometimes be a challenge — but it doesn’t have to be!  Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to protect yourself!  In this article we’re going to explore the most important steps you can take to prevent the flu and common cold.

But first, let’s test your knowledge.  Do you know what your primary defense mechanism is in protecting yourself from this season’s cold and flu?

  • Is it washing your hands frequently and trying not to come into contact with any germs?
  • Is it getting your flu shot or annual vaccine?
  • Or is it naturally boosting the cold-and-flu-fighting capacity of your immune system through nutrition, physical fitness, and stress reduction techniques?

While all of these factors play their own specific role, the idea behind this question is to get you thinking about the primary actions you can take to successfully prevent the cold and flu.  Let’s take a closer look at the different options.

Is Washing Your Hands Your Primary Defense Mechanism Against the Cold & Flu?

When it comes to seasonal viruses, conventional wisdom teaches us that we need to wash our hands and try not to “catch” the cold or flu from co-workers or family members that might be infected.  But is avoiding germs really our best defense mechanism against seasonal viruses?

What I find interesting is this approach to preventing the cold and flu originated and has been perpetuated by the “germ theory” of disease.  What exactly is the germ theory of disease?  The germ theory of disease states that the cause of an illness, such as the cold or the flu, is the direct result of being exposed to a germ or virus.  Based on this logic, the best thing you can do to avoid getting the flu is to try and avoid any contact with germs. Unfortunately, while this is the prevailing advice that makes its way through the media and most doctors’ offices, it’s a bit misguided.  It doesn’t tell the whole story.  It’s not our primary defense mechanism for fending off the cold and flu and does not necessarily protect us from getting sick.

So what’s missing from this approach?  The problem with the germ theory of disease is it ignores the most important factor that influences our risk for getting sick.  You see, when it comes to the cold and flu, there are two interacting factors that are always at work.  There is:

  • The Agent: A foreign germ or virus that’s attempting to invade your body, and
  • The Host: Your body, which is protected by your immune system — your body’s internal military that is constantly at work to identify, neutralize, and destroy any foreign invaders.

The reason the germ-theory of disease is misleading is it puts all of the emphasis on the agent (the germ) and minimizes the indispensable role that the host (your immune system) plays in the process of fending off outside intruders.

Think about it for a moment.  Have you ever noticed that some people come down with the flu that is going around in the office whereas others don’t?  Is it because only a few people came into contact with the germ or virus?  The truth is we come into contact with invisible germs and viruses all the time.  What ultimately determines whether or not we get sick — and how long we stay sick if we are indeed infected — is the strength of our immune system.  Sure, the agent (the germ or virus) has to be present for us to get sick, but more importantly, our immune response is typically the deciding factor in determining whether or not we come down with the cold or flu.

Building Your Internal Military

The good news is there’s a lot we can do to fortify our immune function and build our cold-and-flu-fighting capacity. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot we can do to compromise our body’s immune response.  For example, when we’re over-stressed and eating the wrong foods, it causes our body and our immune system to tilt, and increases our susceptibility to the cold and flu.  Alternatively, when we create a lifestyle of nutritional and emotional balance, it’s empowering to our immune system and increases our resistance to germs, viruses, and all kinds of disease.

Another way I like to explain this to my patients is it’s important to build up your body’s internal military when heading into the fall and winter seasons.  Why is that?  Because this is the time of year that the cold and flu are most likely to be on the attack.  No matter how vigilant you are about washing your hands and avoiding germs, odds are you are going to be exposed multiple times to various viruses.  With this in mind, the most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to build up your immune system and develop your Immune Power — your body’s ability to naturally fight off and destroy these outside intruders.  So how do you go about building Immune Power?  How do you develop the strength of your internal military to defend yourself from getting sick?  Let’s take a look at a few important strategies.

Eating Smart Foods, developing the habit of physical fitness, strengthening your cardio-respiratory health, and effectively managing stress all come into play in creating the Immune Power necessary to protect your body from the seasonal flu and cold.

From a nutritional standpoint, emphasizing whole, living, high fiber, low saturated fat, phytonutrient and antioxidant rich foods — such as fresh fruits, vegetables, lentils, beans, and whole grains — are a great way to build your immune system.  There are also very specific foods, such as citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables, that play a particularly important role in protecting your upper respiratory tract from seasonal bugs. (for more information, click here to learn the 5 Foods to Eat and the 5 Foods to Avoid to Prevent the Cold & Flu).

Meanwhile, it’s been well documented that regular exercise decreases your risk for upper respiratory infections.  With that in mind, make sure to stay consistent with your exercise routine and make a renewed commitment to your physical fitness and cardio-pulmonary health.  Finally, taking steps to manage stress and emotional tension is another way to protect against the cold, the flu, and stress-related illness.  How so?  It’s well documented that stress-related hormones can suppress immune function and make you more susceptible to getting sick.  Therefore, by incorporating stress reduction techniques into your morning and evening — whether it’s exercise, meditation, simple breathing drills, or mind-body disciplines such as yoga — you can take an active role in protecting your immune system from the emotional stress and mental strain of day-to-day living.

With all that said, is it still helpful to wash your hands and cover your mouth while sneezing to keep a virus from spreading?  Absolutely — but it’s not the primary step that you need to take to protect yourself and others.  First things first; you need to make sure you are prepared to fend off germs and viruses from the inside out.  It’s important to make sure that you are taking steps to build, fortify, and protect your Immune Power.

Is the Flu Shot an Effective Means for Fighting off the Flu?

What about getting a flu shot?  Is that an effective means for preventing the flu?  Unfortunately, getting a flu shot does not necessarily protect you from coming down with the flu.  It’s important to note that developing a flu shot is an imperfect science.  Every year they have to make an educated guess as to which influenza strain they believe will be most prevalent 9 months in the future.  Sometimes they predict well and sometimes they don’t.  Even when they do predict well, there are numerous other viruses that circulate in any given year that the flu shot does not protect against.

Interestingly enough, a large study that was just completed analyzing the efficacy of the flu shot showed that the flu vaccine only reduced the incidence of the flu in 1.5 people out of every 100 (The Lancet, Efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines: a systematic review and meta-analysis).

At the end of the day, the only way to put yourself at the lowest possible risk for all strains of flu viruses and seasonal colds is by strengthening your body’s natural defense mechanisms.  In other words, by building up your immune system and developing your Immune Power — through  nutrition, exercise, and stress management — you can tap into your body’s infinite wisdom and potential to protect itself against outside germs and viruses.  For those interested in learning more, make sure to check back for more specific immune-boosting strategies to prevent the cold and flu!

Are You at Risk? How to Identify Your Major Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

In this 3-minute clinic we discuss the two major risk factors that contribute to breast cancer, from a Preventive & Integrative Medicine perspective, and what you can do about it.

Be sure to check out 3 Foods to Eat to Prevent Breast Cancer and The Role of Emotional Stress & Breast Cancer for more breast cancer prevention tips.

You can also join us for a FREE WEBINAR and learn the top strategies for building your body’s natural breast-cancer fighting capacity and decreasing your risk for breast cancer.

“Welcome to the 3-minute clinic where we review tools and strategies to be well and stay well for the rest of your life. Today’s subject is breast cancer and breast cancer awareness. As a matter of fact, we just passed breast cancer awareness month, so my question is, what did you discover? What did you learn about breast cancer? Can you identify the risk factors that lead to breast cancer? Can you identify what your risk factors are that might lead to breast cancer? Do you know what causes breast cancer? Because here’s what you need to know. What causes it—what puts you at risk for breast cancer; how to prevent it; what early detection is all about; and how to treat it. That’s really what I need you to know. So let’s talk today about the cause of it, because breast lumps are very common and breast cancer is common. Approximately 1 in 8 women in our society today will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, nearly one third of all female cancers are breast cancers, and some 75-80% of women have a breast lump at one point or another in their life, which could eventually deteriorate or degenerate into breast cancer. This is a very common subject, so let’s review what could be causing it. Now what are the risk factors? What causes it? So let’s review four possible causes. Is it due to genetics or inheritance, number 1? Is it something you catch like the cold or the flu, you go to the nursery, and you catch it? Number 3, is it just a matter of being a victim or being at the wrong place at the wrong time—in other words, is it bad luck—or number four, is it due to your lifestyle choices? Well, in my experience, when I say lifestyle choices, I mean your thinking patterns, your nutritional patterns, your activity patterns, your exercise patterns, and your emotional patterns. Now I strongly believe that lifestyle factors are the key factors that contribute to breast cancer. And when we talk about risk factors, we’re really going to talk about the things that put you at risk. I don’t believe that genetics is that big of a risk factor. In my experience, 3-7% of breast cancers may be linked to genetic predispositions, but I don’t believe a person is born and they are programmed forty years later to have breast cancer–that they’re genetically programmed to have it. I think that people have a predisposition and depending on their environment and depending on their lifestyle it can either express itself or not express itself. What’s even more interesting to me is this: the majority of women that get diagnosed with invasive breast cancer have no family history of breast cancer. So I cannot put a big factor on inheritance. What I can put a big factor on is the immune system–your immune system–and your Immune Power. So what puts you at risk for breast cancer? What are the two greatest risks? Well, I put them into two categories. To me breast cancer is a hormonal imbalance–it is a disorder of a hormonal imbalance. And the things that put you at risk are in your metabolic area and in your stress area. So what do I mean by metabolic risk? What I mean by metabolic risk is this. Unless you have the right foods—that is, having nutritional stress or nutritional imbalances, put you at risk for breast cancer. In other words, a diet that is too high in fat and too low in fiber puts you at risk for breast cancer. Being overweight puts you at risk for breast cancer. Drinking alcohol or drinking too much alcohol, puts you at risk for breast cancer. And then there’s the emotional stress factors. The buried emotional stress, the buried anger, the suppressed emotions, high levels of emotional stress put you out of balance emotionally. You see, nutritional imbalances and emotional imbalances, in my experience, are your risk factors that you want to identify. But keep in mind, you have the power, you have the ability–by developing your immune system, by developing metabolic balance, by developing nutritional balance, by creating emotional balance–you have the power to prevent breast cancer.”

Apple: Cool, Confident, and Take-Charge

Notable Personality Factors:

The Fuji, the Granny Smith, the Macintosh, the Golden Delicious—there are more than twenty-five varieties of apples, and each has its own identity. But in general, apples are known for their take-charge personalities. They sharpen the mind, refresh the body, and strengthen resolve (just imagine the sort of determination Johnny Appleseed must have had to plant all those trees!). Apples revive confidence, cool down hot tempers, and generally encourage you to release tension and express feelings in order to regain emotional equilibrium.

Therapeutic and Healing Powers:***

We’ve all heard the expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Since the ancient civilization of Greece, apples have been regarded as the antidote to many ailments, including those of the liver, gall bladder, nervous system, and skin. As a doctor of Preventive & Integrative Medicine, I’ve found that the apple’s most potent therapeutic benefit is its cardio-protective effect. In other words, it guards the heart from disease! How exactly does it do that? Nutritionists credit this fantastic characteristic to the apple’s pectin content. Pectin, found in the skin of the apple, is a remarkable fiber that helps lower blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol (LDL), and increase good cholesterol (HDL).  In this way, it prevents arterial plaque from accumulating and protects your overall cardio-vascular health.

Since pectin is a gel-forming fiber, it also increases the tone of the intestinal tract and promotes the elimination of toxic waste in the bowels and the bile. For this reason, apples are excellent for both the liver and for bowel regularity.

In addition, fresh, whole apples and apple juice are high in chlorogenic, caffeic, and ellagic acid—cancer-fighting phytonutrients that have been shown to prevent tumors from forming. Interestingly, these phytonutrients are eliminated in canning or cooking processes–all the more reason to eat fruit fresh, alive, and raw!

Finally, apples also have antiviral properties and help to prevent colds and upper respiratory ailments such as bronchitis and laryngitis.

I’d also like to note that I’ve found the Fuji apple to be a particularly powerful apple variety when it comes to overall therapeutic value.

Nutrient Value:

Along with their power triad of phytonutrients and their fibrous pectin, apples are a good source of potassium, beta-carotene, and trace minerals.

Selection and Care:

Back in the early 1990s, farmers used to spray apples with Alar, a chemical which caused apples to ripen uniformly. However, the pesticide was also a neurotoxin, and after the media caught on to the story, the Department of Consumer Affairs pulled the treated produce off the market and prohibited the use of the chemical.

Today, conventionally grown apples test higher than a lot of other fruits in terms of levels of pesticides. With this in mind, it’s advisable to buy organic apples, free of commercial waxes and pesticides, whenever possible.
Fresh apples should be crisp, firm, and they should crunch when you bite them. Soft apples are not yet ripe, while spotted, brown, mushy ones are past their prime.

Optimal Use and Combining:

As we’ve discussed, it’s best to eat apples, fresh, whole, and raw to maximize the phytonutrient, antioxidant, and therapeutic value of the fruit.

Apples are an all-purpose fruit that enhance breakfast cereals, granola, nut butters (such as almond butter or peanut butter), and even desserts. They complement the flavors of pears, bananas, and papayas, but don’t mix quite as well with citrus or melon.

***This article is not intended to treat or diagnose any type of health condition or disease. Any nutritional considerations for any health complication should be discussed with your physician or healthcare provider.