The Flu Vaccine–Yes or No?

It’s that time of year to decide whether or not you will get a flu vaccination. My advice as a health coach is to always make an informed decision about anything that affects the health of you and your family.

Information comes from everywhere–the internet, television ads, magazines, billboards, doctors, pharmacies, people you know, etc. Consider the sources–are they trying to sell you something or were they educated for marketing purposes (e.g. pharmacy companies educating doctors and clinics)?

Are you being made aware of any adverse effects? Are you reading the labels? Is what’s right for someone else right for you?

I believe in self-education, because no one knows your body like you do. Learn more about the flu vaccine at National Vaccine Information Center (www.nvic.org).

Personally, I do not get the flu vaccination. Instead, I strengthen my immune system to help fight viruses. My biggest concern with vaccines is the many toxic additives (like aluminum) that may contribute to chronic disease.

Here are a few things that I do at the first sign of illness:

Drink a cup of water with the juice of half a lemon and a dash of cayenne pepper. Sometimes, I add a little raw honey.

Take elderberry, which has been studied and shown to reduce the “shelf life” of viruses. It comes in syrup, tea, capsules, tinctures, and chewables.

Take vitamin D3 to help support my immune system. Have your levels checked every six months or so to see if you fall within the optimum range of 50-60 ng/ml. In the absence of adequate sunlight, especially during winter, levels can drop, providing less protection against the flu and other viruses.

Eat seasonal foods rich in vitamin C: citrus, organic peppers, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, organic potatoes.

Eat seasonal foods rich in sulfur: onions, garlic, cruciferous vegetables, eggs, sardines (eggs and sardines also contain vitamin D3).

Make sure that my digestive system is working well to eliminate toxins by eating plenty of fiber-rich plant foods and taking a probiotic, since 70 to 80% of the immune system is in the gut.

Hydrate with lots of water and nourishing soups to help flush toxins and keep mucous thin so secondary respiratory infections don’t easily take hold.

Take very warm detox baths with a few drops of lavender essential oil, which has anti-viral and calming properties. Diffusing eucalyptus essential oil is wonderful for a stuffy nose and congestion.

Stop eating refined sugar. Instead of reaching for carbonated soft drinks, popsicles, ice cream, etc., try bone broth, fruit and veggie smoothies, homemade soups, green tea, and herbal teas (God’s pharmacy). I like peppermint, ginger, chamomile, raspberry leaf, elderberry, and holy basil (tulsi). Try stirring a little ground cinnamon into a cup of warm water with some raw honey.

Have some natural cough syrups on hand. Two I like are Olba’s Cough Syrupand Zarbee’s Naturals Kid’s Cough Syrup + Mucous.

Rest, pray, and nourish my spirit with the Word of God–“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10a

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory.”

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Register now for the free online Autoimmune Revolution from November 5-11.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

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The Brain/Body Connection: Stress

How are your New Year health resolutions going?  Are you staying focused?  A healthy body requires a healthy brain.  Chronic stress can interfere with both.

Chronic stress constricts blood flow to the brain, which can lower brain function.  A Canadian study showed that stress hormones decreased activity in the brain that controls cognitive function and emotional balance.  This makes it harder to stay focused and make healthy decisions.

Stress increases cortisol levels.  One study showed that older adults with chronically high levels of cortisol performed worse on memory tests than those with low to moderate cortisol levels.

Chronic stress and high cortisol levels are linked to an increase in appetite and cravings for carbohydrates and sweets.

Stress can interfere with sleep, and a lack of sleep (less than seven hours per night) can trigger an increase in cortisol and interfere with hormones that control appetite.

Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, digestive disorders, and weaken the immune system.

Stress can make you feel tired and less inclined to exercise.  A lack of exercise can decrease blood flow to the brain.  On the flip side, too much exercise can promote physical stress.

Some ideas for managing chronic stress:

  1.  Prayer has been shown to calm stress and improve brain function.  Studies point out that prayer reduces depression and anxiety, improves focus, and protects the brain from cognitive decline due to aging.  Prayer seems to increase activity in the prefrontal cortex part of the brain, the area involved in planning, making decisions, and self-control.  “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.”  Isaiah 26:3.  “Give all your worries to God, for He cares about you.”  1 Peter 5:7
  2. Uplifting music can calm the mind and body.
  3. Lavender has been researched and shown to reduce cortisol levels and promote relaxation.  Add it to a bath or diffuser.  I like to buy small glass bottles with roller tops to make lavender oil to rub onto wrists or temples to help calm stress.  It may even help to lower blood pressure.
  4. Laughter really is the best medicine!  “A cheerful heart is good medicine.”  Proverbs 17:22.  Laughter releases feel-good hormones and helps reduce dangerous stress hormones.
  5. Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that helps increase serotonin and/or dopamine, which act as natural anti-depressants.  L-theanine can also be found in supplement form but should not be taken by pregnant women or nursing mothers.
  6. Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts.  Negative thoughts produce stress!  “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.”  Philippians 4:8.
  7. Eat foods high in B-vitamins to help with mood and stress.  They also help metabolize fats, which are needed for brain health.  Whole grains, nuts, seeds, brown rice, and nutritional yeast are some good sources of B-vitamins.  A healthy balance of good intestinal bacteria helps the body make B-vitamins.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.