Archive for October, 2015

Antibody Building Beats the Flu

October 30, 2015

Whether we have chosen to have a Flu Shot or not, it’s time to fortify our immune systems for whatever comes down the pike. If you have already had a flu shot, know that it takes a couple of weeks to build the antibodies needed for the three strains included in your flu shot. If strain number 4 hits, your body may be too busy to build the antibodies needed against strain 4. Here are some general precautions we all can take to develop needed immune support for whatever comes down the pike.

Drink plenty of tap water.

Eat bright fruits and vegetables, powerful antibody builders: fresh oranges, kiwi, frozen berries, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, peppers, and the whole rainbow out there. Probiotic food builds friendly bacteria in our digestive tracts: plain yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, pickles. Whatever your cultural background, there’s a probiotic you have probably enjoyed on special occasions.

Zinc helps to maintain a healthy immune system. Turkey, crab, mushrooms and legumes are all high in zinc. Plenty of garlic helps white blood cells to reproduce and strengthens antibodies. Wild Salmon and flax seed oil are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. They bump up antibody protection by multiplying phagocytes and white blood cells, our body’s main line of protection that engulfs unwelcome invaders.

Beware the routes Flu Viruses use to enter our bodies. Watch the number of times you touch your hands to your face each minute, maybe 20+; check it out. Combine that observation with a card game in which cards are shuffled and dealt for a few hours, or a soccer ball, basket ball, or tennis ball, handled and passed through many hands, or a handshake. Suddenly, regular handwashing makes sense.

Choose some form of exercise: walking, stairs, morning bicycle pumps in bed, swimming, birdwalks, anything you can dream up that stimulates your heart to pump those antibodies freely throughout your body. Get out in the sun as often as possible and soak up free Vitamin D. Socialize, keep engaging the people you meet or work with, friends you can laugh or sing with, all essential to building a strong immune system. And get enough sleep to keep antibodies strong and prolific.

This is kitchen table talk, time to figure out what combinations work best for you, time to enjoy the magical coming winter snow season, the spellbinding mornings, and, as we move full circle, time to claim another year in robust health.


Keeping Well is a Community Project

October 30, 2015

A recent misprint of my column passively titled, “Keeping well with each other”, triggered my need to emphasize why I chose the more active title, KEEPING EACH OTHER WELL, as my springboard for the last five years.

Whether we tick off Abraham Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs, or Aldo Leopold’s, “Thinking Like a Mountain,” both approaches recognize that Keeping Well is a community project, not something we can do on our own. Everything we do impacts everything else alive in connections we may only begin to recognize.

Maslow’s list has to do mainly with human needs: physiological, safety, love and belonging, self esteem and self actualization (some form of enlightenment). Leopold adds a much deeper need or recognition that we are connected to every living thing, including animals we kill. I’d add birds, chipmunks, frogs, cabbage worms, trees, and the infinite more that are out there breathing along with us.

Today, Thoreau’s dictum, “In wildness is the salvation of the world,” continues to gain in relevance. Whether we stand on the Sugarloaf Mts. in full view of the Presidentials atop a huge valley of fall foliage brilliant among the evergreens, or the nearest maple in our neighborhood, we can see the tree’s transition from live leaves that drop, yet leave spring buds behind to wait out the winter.

Something softens like a healing balm when a natural panorama presents itself, whether it is a valley, a couple of fawns crossing the road or a cub rambling back into the woods, a surprise waterfall, or the sight of a few rainbow trout in a stream, all possible because we or people before us saved the wilderness. What kind of legacy are we actively pursuing that will keep our people healthy in the future?

Bill McKibben says we need to learn how to fit in rather than dominate the planet. Will we figure out how to fit in?

How keen an eye are we keeping on our water supply, our soil, our air, the safety of our power lines? Do our laws reflect how much we value available health care and education for everyone, and a living wage for work done? Are we committed to Keeping Each Other Well?