Last week’s blog post was about lifestyle tips to help boost your immune system. This week we are talking about supplements to consider that help build a strong and healthy immune system.
Vitamin D3: I am listing this one first for a reason! Vitamin D3 is huge when it comes to immunity. It is an immune modulator that activates our immune system. A deficiency of Vit. D3 means that our immune system will not work properly. We get our main source of Vitamin D3 from direct sun exposure which is non-existent in the winter, so make sure you are supplementing. I like the guidelines put out by The Vitamin D Council, so checkout https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/
Probiotics: A healthy gut creates a healthy immune system. Probiotics are friendly bacteria that help to seed your digestive system with beneficial bacteria to help keep our microbiome in balance.
Fish Oil (Omega 3): Fish Oil helps to boost the immune system by enhancing the function of our white blood cells (B cells). Another benefit is that it helps to reduce inflammation was can cause immune suppression.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps to boost multiple aspects of the immune system, including increasing natural killer cells to fight infection, improving neutrophil function, improving lymphocyte function, and increasing antibody immunoglobulins.
Zinc: Zinc is a mineral that helps to boost the immune system by increasing neutrophils and natural killer cells.
Echinacea: Echinacea is an herb that helps to boost white blood cells and can shorten the duration of a cold. For it to work best, it needs to be started at the first sign of a sniffle or scratchy throat. It is not designed for long-term use so it should not be taken every day.
Oscillococcinum (homeopathic): Oscillococcinum is not really a supplement but rather a remedy and I am including it here due to the positive role it can play in decreasing the symptoms of the flu. It is a homeopathic remedy that when taken at the first sign of the flu, can decrease the severity and duration of the virus.
Elderberry syrup: Elderberry syrup is another remedy known to decrease the severity of cold and flu. It can be taken at the first sign of illness to decrease the severity and duration of the illness. Some people also take this as a preventative measure through the winter. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like the recipe that I use to make my own elderberry syrup!
I hope you find this information helpful in keeping your family healthy this cold and flu season. As always with ANY supplements please only use quality products from reputable companies. I have a list of many good companies that I know and trust. Please don’t ever purchase your supplements on Amazon. I love Amazon as much as the next person, but their quality control is really lacking in the supplement category. There are a lot of fake/knock-off products that they are selling as the real item. I use Emerson Ecologics to order my supplements. They offer a huge variety of name brand supplement at competitive prices with free shipping. It is easy to set up an account and you can rest easy knowing you will always be getting the real item. Go to https://wellevate.me/catherine-boufford to get started!.
Fall is here! Along with the beauty of the colorful leaves and the anticipation of the holidays comes the realization that cold and flu season is coming too. I talk to so many moms and we all share similar concerns when it comes to keeping our families healthy and avoiding these illnesses if at all possible. I have some tips to share that I use to keep my family well. I will be a series of posts this month on this topic. This week’s post is on lifestyle changes to boost your immune system. I hope you find it helpful.
Wash Your Hands: This is the most basic of the basics but hand washing is so important. It is the single most effective way to prevent spreading infections. Removing the germs from our hands helps to prevent us from taking them in to our body.
Stay Hydrated: There are so many benefits to drinking water, but when it comes to the immune system water helps to take oxygen to our cells and flush toxins out of our body. Two very important things for a properly functioning immune system.
Eat Fresh Veggies, Fruits and Whole Foods: Whole foods are the fuel your body needs to function optimally. To have a healthy immune system your body needs the proper nutrients and those come from whole foods including fresh vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts whole grains.
Drink Bone Broth: Bone Broth has many health benefits as well. When it comes to immune function it helps in white blood cell production (the cells that fight infection in our body), and it helps to provide many of the amino acids necessary for immune function. It also helps to reduce inflammation which helps our immune system to function better.
Eat Fermented Foods: Fermented Foods provide healthy bacteria for our gut. Similar to the way that probiotics work, however this is a more natural way to get them. Much of our immune response is housed in the gut, so a healthy gut means a healthier immune response! Fermented foods include: yogurt/kefir (no sugar), sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha. You can find many recipes online to make your own at home!
Eat More Garlic, Lemons and Ginger: Garlic is antiviral and antifungal and it is an immune booster because it increases the production of our natural killer cells which help to kill off infection. It is an immune superstar! Lemons are loaded with Vitamin C which is a known immune booster. It also helps to balance the pH and decrease inflammation. Try starting your day with warm water and a squeeze of lemon. Add some honey if you want it a little sweeter (bonus points if it is raw, local honey). Ginger is antibacterial and antiviral. It helps to blood circulation which will help get rid of toxins and viruses.
Limit Sugar and Processed Foods: Sugar and Processed Foods have a negative effect on the immune system. Eating them makes the immune system weaker which can result in more illnesses and illnesses that last longer.
Get More Sleep: Sleep deprivation can also cause a weaker immune system. During sleep our body has a chance to rest and repair. Cytokines are released when we sleep and these help us to fight off infection. Shoot for 8 hours of quality sleep per night. Children and teenagers need more than 8 hours- more like 10-12!
Decrease/Manage Stress: Stress causes a weaker immune response. Our ability to fight off infection is compromised and also the stress hormone Cortisol (released when we are under stress) lowers our immune response by decreasing the amount white blood cells. Reducing stress from our life and creating a healthy stress management routine can go a long way. Sometimes that means saying no, doing less and adding more self care opportunities. This is not selfish- it is for your health :)
Nasal Irrigation: Using a clear saline rinse or spray in the nose regularly can flush out germs and toxins before they make their way deeper into the body.
Exercise: Physical activity helps to flush toxins out of the lungs and airways. Exercise also causes an increase in white blood cells to help us fight off infection. The brief increase in body temperature can also help to kill off bacteria. In addition, exercise reduces the stress hormone cortisol which can also help to boost the immune system. Moderate activity is all that is needed for these amazing benefits!
Fresh Air and Sunshine: Direct sunlight is our main source of Vitamin D which is a known immune booster. Even just a few minutes of sun exposure can help boost our Vitamin D levels. Fresh air helps to boost our oxygen levels which can help destroy bacteria and viruses and create healthier white blood cells.
Bodywork: Bodywork boosts your immune system! Chiropractic adjustments can help to remove nervous system interference which allows the body to function optimally and help to boost your immune system. Regular Massage Therapy has been shown to increase natural killer cells and T Lymphocytes (white blood cells) which results in a healthier immune response. Acupuncture can help to regulate immune function and reduce symptoms, speed up the healing of infection and normalize the body’s immune response.
There are a lot of things that we can do to help keep our families well during cold and flu season. This week my focus was on lifestyle changes and next week I will be posting about supplements to consider to boost your immune system. I hope you find these tips helpful!
The topic of time came up in a moms group that I am in and I really felt in my heart that it was a topic worth writing about. As moms we all need more time! We all feel it. The struggle. The pull. How can we do it all? If only we had more time in our day.
I have struggled with this (A LOT) over the years of being a mom- 15 years to be exact! I think I felt it some before becoming a mother, but it shifted into overdrive the minute I became a mom. I have found some things to be helpful and I will discuss those, but lately I have been thinking a little deeper about the whole concept of time and shifting my perspective a bit.
What are you telling yourself about time? Are you telling yourself that you never have enough? Or that you have all the time that you need? I am sure you have heard of the concept of scarcity vs abundance. If not, please take some time to explore these concepts. Basically it is the law of attraction in action. What you think about you bring about. Like attracts like. So, if you are always thinking, or worse yet saying, “I never have enough time”, guess what? You probably won’t! This one hit home hard for me. I have a terrible habit of saying that very thing. I am working on reframing it. I am coming up with a new dialogue. “I have all the time that I need” or “Time is abundant’. Just saying those sentences puts a calming over my heart. This will take some practice and might feel awkward at first, but try it and let me know how it is working!
As moms, we have a habit of trying to do it all. I feel as though that is not very realistic and perhaps is just setting us all up to feel like a failure. In Shonda Rhimes book “Year of Yes” she describes it pretty well. She talks about how people always assume she has it all together and would always ask her “how do you do it all”? Her honest answer was that she doesn’t! When she is really killing it in her career her home life is suffering; and when she chooses to focus on family and be present with her kids, there is writing not getting done. Deadlines not being met. There is beauty in finding our balance. There is peace in keeping things simple. It starts with adjusting our expectations. How can you simplify? I have read a couple books that might help. Check out “The One Thing” by Gary Keller and “The Best Yes” by Lysa TerKeurst.
Ok, the practical things. These are a few things that I think will help to make a difference in having more time, or at least the sense that you do! First, always start your day out intentionally with a solid morning routine. There are lots of books and podcasts on this topic, but if you are just starting out check out Sara Dean’s 15-Minute Manifest from The Shameless Mom Academy. If you sign up for her list she will send it to you for free. I have found this to be extremely helpful!
Create your day! Prioritize the must-dos and write it down. There is great satisfaction in checking things off the list also :) Make sure to include self-care items. I know how easy it is to fall to the bottom of the priority list. As moms, we almost ALL do it! But, if you don’t take care of you, who will? And worse, if you deplete yourself, who will take care of your family? I am a true believer in the “You can not pour from an empty cup” metaphor. I know how easy it is to put yourself off, but that needs to change. Making time for yourself is one of the best things that you can do for your family now. Truly.
Believe it or not, electrolytes are a common conversation in my office, especially in the summer! While we all know the importance of staying properly hydrated, sometimes we need a little more to boost our electrolytes to have proper muscle and nerve function. When our electrolyte balance gets out of sync we can experience muscle cramps, dizziness, or even irregular heartbeat. The solution, however is NOT those sugary, chemical-laden sports drinks! I have a few tips below to get you on the right track.
1. Salt: Adding a pinch of salt to your water can help balance out your sodium levels. You will get more bang for your buck if you use Pink Himalayan Sea Salt. It has many trace minerals for added health benefits.
2. Lemon: Adding a squeeze of fresh lemon to your water helps to add potassium, magnesium and even calcium. It will help to aid your digestion, detoxify your liver and boost your immune system too! Need a bigger boost? Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into a cup of warm water.
3. Coconut Water: Coconut water is loaded with healthy nutrients and a big source of potassium. Make sure you are choosing one with minimal ingredients and no added sugar.
These 3 things are an easy start to balancing your electrolytes and staying properly hydrated in the process!
In Health, Dr. Cathy
This week, April 22nd through April 28th, is National Infertility Awareness Week. It is dedicated to bringing awareness, starting conversations and reducing stigmas about infertility. Infertility can be a lonely journey yet it affects 7.3 million people. The goal is to offer hope to those suffering from infertility and bring awareness about the options that those struggling individuals have.
Infertility is a medical diagnosis given after a couple has actively pursued conception for at least one year. This condition can be caused by deficiencies in both men and women. There are medical options available to those wanting to conceive. The most common infertility treatments include medication (to help women ovulate more regularly), intrauterine insemination, and in vitro fertilization. While these options may result in conception, they do not fix the root cause of the infertility and they don’t guarantee a healthy pregnancy.
Research Shows Chiropractic Can Be a Solution to Many Infertility Struggles
While there are no guarantees with any method, chiropractic care has proven to be incredibly effective at helping couples previously diagnosed with infertility to conceive naturally and carry healthy babies to full-term. Spinal misalignments, which are the focus of chiropractic, cause nerve interference in the body, which disrupts communication between the brain and the other systems within the body. This means that spinal misalignments may be contributing to your improper body function! Your brain may not be effectively getting messages to your organs.
Your lumbar spine houses the nerves that control your reproductive organs. If there is a spinal misalignment in that area and you are struggling with infertility, there could be a correlation. A chiropractor can perform an evaluation to determine your level of spine health, and he or she may be able to pinpoint one of the contributors to your infertility problem.
In one study published by Alcantara, Stone, and Oman, in 2009, three women who were previously unable to conceive began chiropractic care along with making nutritional changes. After receiving chiropractic care, all three women were able to conceive. Another study from 2003 in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research saw two women, diagnosed as medically infertile, who were able to conceive naturally while under chiropractic care.
Nutrition Is More Connected to Fertility Than People Realize
In addition to being under chiropractic care, individuals struggling with fertility should pay close attention to their nutrition. Foods containing chemicals and preservatives can negatively affect your overall health and they can also greatly impact fertility. To optimize fertility focus on foods that are rich in nutrients, specifically those that help regulate hormone function, as well as support fetal development, blood health, egg and sperm health, and more. Start with a whole food diet full of vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, healthy fats and grass fed meats. Choose organic whenever possible. Avoid packaged foods, foods high in sugar and alcohol. The primary cause of infertility is often a lack of ovulation, but studies have shown that this issue can be improved significantly simply by making dietary changes.
New Beginnings Chiropractic Optimal Health Program For Infertility
At New Beginnings Chiropractic located in Grand Haven, Michigan, Dr. Cathy Boufford offers a Optimal Health Program which helps people who are not happy with their current level of health through natural options, such as chiropractic, nutritional supplementation and lifestyle changes. While Dr. Cathy works with individuals with many different concerns, one of the most common conditions that she sees in her program is infertility. Dr. Cathy works to correct the root causes of infertility, and she does this by addressing toxicities and deficiencies in the body, along with offering chiropractic care, nutritional support and encouragement as stepping stones to optimal health and fertility.
To learn more about Dr. Cathy’s Optimal Health Program, or chiropractic care in Grand Haven please reach out to New Beginnings Chiropractic.
I have BIG news to share!!! New Beginnings Chiropractic will be moving to a new office space this April! The new office is located at 300 N Ferry Street Suite D in Grand Haven. I am very excited about the new space! I will still be located inside Engage Wellness Collective (we are all moving)! The new space will allow us to offer classes, workshops, host events and house even more amazing practitioners to care for you <3 Stay tuned for an exact date. I hope you are as excited as I am :)
Pregnant mamas spend a lot of timing preparing. They prepare their home, create a room for baby, buy car seats and strollers and clothes. They prepare their own bodies by eating healthy food, taking prenatal vitamins and getting extra sleep. They take hospital tours and child birth classes. One of the most valuable things that they can do to prepare is to train their mind for a natural birth using positive affirmations!
Positive affirmations are statements that when said out loud can help to change the brain for the better. You can replace negative brain pathways with positive ones and retrain your brain! Your thoughts can become your reality. If you want a peaceful natural birth, spend some time visualizing what this would look like and create some positive statements to prepare your brain for this reality.
A few tips: 1. You need to believe what you are saying 2. You must say the statements out loud 3. You must say them frequently 4. Try engaging other senses- write them down, record them to listen to, and consider using aromatherapy during your affirmations and at the birth 5. Your partner can join the fun too!
Some examples include: " My body was designed to do this", "I can do hard things", "Birth is normal and natural", "My baby will fit", " I have grown this baby and I will push her out", "Breathe in strength, breathe out tension". Affirmation statements are unlimited! Spend some time thinking about what speaks to you. You can create your own affirmation cards or you can purchase sets online. There are also audio downloads and apps that have daily affirmations as well.
You can do it mama! Your body was made for this <3 Dr. Cathy
I am excited to announce that I am now offering preconception health plans! I have been studying the work of Dr. Marcia Schaefer who is a chiropractor in Lodi, WI. Dr. Marcia is an expert in holistic nutrition and a speaker for the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. She has developed a protocol to help couples conceive a radiantly healthy baby naturally. To date she has just over 100 babies in her office that have been conceived using this protocol over the last couple of years. I have been amazed by her work and very motivated to learn from her.
If you would like to hear what Dr. Marcia has to say about what you can do to help conceive a healthy baby naturally, you can sign up here to get a FREE podcast to learn more.
If you love what you hear contact me to get started. I offer the protocol that she has developed at New Beginnings Chiropractic in Grand Haven. I will be continuing to work with her directly as well. I am very excited to be able to offer her work to my local community.
Good fats are vital for a healthy pregnancy!
Healthy fats are required by our body. They are the building blocks for hormone production which play a major role in preconception health, carrying a healthy pregnancy, through postpartum and beyond. Good fats are crucial for the baby's brain development. They can help decrease the risk of preterm labor and help to achieve healthier birth weights. Many of the important vitamins that we need are fat soluble and require proper fat intake in order to be absorbed. Some of these include: Vitamin D, A, K and E. These healthy fats help in establishing a good milk supply for nursing and can help decrease the incidence of postpartum depression.
Your nervous system is the master control system of your entire body. It is made up of the brain, the spinal cord and the nerve pathways throughout the body. This system is responsible for controlling everything that your body does both consciously and subconsciously. The spinal column is the bony protective housing for the spinal cord. Your brain sends information to your body via the spinal cord and the nerve pathways. This is actually a two-way street because the nerves will also carry information back to the to the brain as well. This includes information for things like muscle movement and pain responses, but also more vital functions like breathing, heart rate and the immune system.
Juicing is a great way to add massive amount of nutrition to your day! It is not a replacement for eating fresh fruits and vegetables but rather a way to supercharge what you are already getting. Just 1 cup of carrot juice is equal to the amount of nutrients in 4 cups of diced carrots! Juicing allows an extra 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables in just 1 glass of juice.
Benefits of Juicing
There are many known benefits to juicing. Juicing reduces inflammation, increases gel water in the body, decreases water retention, improves immune function, improves digestion, increases energy, improves sleep quality, promotes healing and it is great for the eyes and skin! Another major benefit to juicing is that the nutrients are rapidly absorbed and your digestive system gets to rest because it doesn't need to work to break down the food to absorb the nutrients. This is great for healing.
The Fiber Myth
There have been claims made that juicing is not good in that it removes the fiber from the fruits and vegetables. While it is true that it removes most of the insoluble fiber, there is another type of fiber that remains in the juice and is very beneficial. This type of fiber is called soluble fiber and it absorbs water like a sponge! It helps to regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol and functions as a prebiotic to aid in digestion. It allows for easier assimilation of nutrients and helps to deliver them quickly throughout the body!
Choosing a Juicer
There are many types of juicers on the market. There are two main categories of juicers: centrifuge and masticating. Centrifuge juicers spin the juice very fast which can heat the juice and cause oxidation which breaks down the enzymes much quicker. The juice needs to be consumed immediately for maximum nutrition. Masticating juicers are much slower and there is less oxidation. They work better for the leafy greens and also the juice will keep up to 7 hours before losing the digestive enzymes. Consideration should be given to: prep time, clean up time, budget, space and whether you plan to juice leafy greens and wheat grass. In the end the key is choosing one that you will use!
Tips to Get Started
Start with mild fruits and vegetables that you enjoy! Carrots, cucumbers, celery and apples are a great place to start! As you get more confident start adding in more types of vegetables such as leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower and tomatoes. One great trick to help your juice taste better is to add some lemon to it. It will reduce the flavor of the greens and add even more nutrition! Try to use an 80/20 rule when it comes to vegetables and fruit. It will keep the juice more alkaline. Choose local, in-season produce when possible and organic is best! If you have kids, include them in the process! They will likely drink more juice if they can create their own recipe.
In Health, Dr. Cathy
There is so much focus on having a healthy pregnancy and delivery, that we often neglect the importance of taking care of moms after birth. Specific postpartum care is essential for all women who have given birth.
During pregnancy the mother’s body goes through many physical changes preparing for birth. Hormones play a major role in this. Relaxin is produced and helps to relax the pelvic ligaments which allows the pelvis to prepare for birth and open during delivery. During labor, a special hormone called oxytocin helps to move things along and results in contractions that helps the mother’s body push the baby out. Giving birth is an athletic event and even the most gentle births can leave a mama needing some tender loving care.
After delivery, a mother’s body goes through major changes again. The pelvic muscles and ligaments have to heal to their normal length and tension and the pelvis also needs to re-align to its normal position. It can take months for this healing to occur and birth professionals are now considering the postpartum healing phase to last up to a year. Postpartum chiropractic care helps to normalize pelvic alignment after birth which can greatly shorten healing time!
Caring for newborn babies is also stressful to a new mamas body. Sleepless nights, awkward nursing positions, carrying your baby (let’s not even mention those heavy car seat carriers) and even just looking down at your sweet baby can cause discomfort to the neck and upper back. I often refer to this as “new mommy neck”.
Benefits of Postpartum Chiropractic Care
When performed by a chiropractor experienced in postpartum care, chiropractic adjustments can help to shorten the healing time and decrease the physical stress of being a new mom. This is an essential part of postpartum healing. New moms will experience more comfort, better sleep and most importantly and increased ability to heal.
Postpartum visits are best scheduled within the first week or two after birth. The sooner we restore pelvic alignment, the faster your healing will begin! I also recommend an evaluation of the newborn during the postpartum visit. The birth process is not only hard on the mother’s body, it can be a strenuous event for the baby as well. A newborn spinal evaluation helps to make sure that the delicate structures are in optimal position after delivery. I offer a complimentary newborn evaluation during the mother’s first postpartum appointment.
In addition to chiropractic care, I also provide education on many aspects of motherhood including: nursing, proper posture, carrying techniques, proper diapering, nutrition, and family wellness. I also have developed a large network of local resources to help ease the transition to motherhood.
Please reach out if you would like to learn more about postpartum chiropractic care! I would love to connect with you. Email me at email@example.com or call 231-375-2024 for more information.
In Health, Dr. Cathy
Dr. Cathy is a Women's Health Chiropractor. She is a 2003 graduate of Life University. Dr. Cathy holds the distinguished F.I.C.P.A certification from the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association and has extensive experience caring for children and their families. She has a special interest in family wellness and has taken many post doctoral courses in nutrition, therapeutic exercise, and women's health. Dr. Cathy has owned a family practice in the Lansing area for the past 13 years where she has gained a lot of experience working with women during pregnancy, postpartum and caring for their children as well. She is now offering chiropractic care in the Grand Haven area.
Welcome to my blog! I will be sharing valuable health and wellness information. Be sure to check back often!
In Health, Dr. Cathy