Boost your immune system with these tips

I had a great time at a race this past weekend in B.C. and got to hang out with some amazing friends.

The subject got around to nutrition, as it often does with me in the room, and some rousing debates occurred which I quite enjoy.

We debated back in forth over many different diets, philosophies and trends; it was all quite fun and the conversation ironically occurred while we ate a huge tray of homemade cinnamon buns.

Sort of odd to be talking about healthy eating while consuming mass quantities of a sugary sinful pleasure.

It brought me back to a lecture I attended in San Diego California, given by Dr. Jesse A. Stoff, MD, HMD, FAAFP who is an internationally-renowned physician, with extensive credentials in immunology, naturopathy, homeopathy, acupuncture and holistic medicine.

He is a licensed medical doctor, a certified naturopathic physician, a certified acupuncturist and a licensed homeopathic physician.

The lecture was geared towards medical doctors and I am willing to admit that much of it went way over my head; I was able to gather several things, one if which is that sugar is really bad for you.

It absolutely impairs your immune system and leaves you vulnerable to all sorts of issues like colds, flu, viruses and nasty stuff like allergies and even worse: cancer.

I first learned of such research back in the early 90s when I was just getting started as a trainer. It really led me to back off my sugar to once or twice a week and my healthy has really benefitted from it for the past 15 years.

I remember clearly having supper after the conference, and I knew someone who got me in to the supper with Dr. Stoff and I got to ask him a few questions.

The one burning on my mind (again, as we ate desert) was about sugar, and that if it was so bad, and so hard on our immune system, then what should we do about it? Never eat it at all?

Dr. Stoff laughed and said to me, “The trick with refined sugar is to only eat it once in a while and to do so among friends and while laughing a great deal. Laughter is very good for the immune system and if done sparingly, can counter the negative effects of sugar.”

I have held on to that advice for a very long time, and so yes we did eat three or four cinnamon buns each last weekend, but laughed a LOT too!

What else can you do to help your immune system as winter approaches?

Quite a few things:

1.) Get some sunlight while it lasts. Never get a sunburn of course, but we need the sun for our body to produce Vitamin D. Sun tan beds can help keep it up in winter, but of course, in moderation if your skin type is appropriate for that. There are also Vitamin D supplements you can take. Low Vitamin D is a huge problem for us Canadians in winter and can lead to poor immune function and cold, flu, etc.

2.) If you feel a cold coming on, ginseng (found in products like Cold FX) can help your body fight a cold.

3.) Oil of Oregano is a very powerful cold fighter too. I prefer the capsules, as the drops are pretty strong!

4.) Laugh! Laugh fully and loudly at least once a day! Watch the comedy channel or hang out with a two-year-old. A few well placed tickles and you won’t be able to stop from laughing out loud.

5.) Fruits and vegetables, water and exercise. You simply cannot beat those four things for optimal health,

Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.