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Archive for the ‘immune’ Category

Fall Immune Boosting Strategies 

Posted on: October 18th, 2014 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

Written by: Dr. Melanie Reidl, ND

How can you prevent contracting your co-worker’s nasty cold this fall?  In order to resist infection by bacteria and viruses during cold & flu season, it is important that we strengthen the body’s innate immunity. I’ve seen many patients with a history of repeated colds & flus stay significantly healthier throughout the fall & winter months when they adhere to the following general immune boosting strategies:

1)    Eat an Alkaline-forming diet with lots of brightly coloured vegetables + garlic daily

Increasing your daily vegetable intake, and specifically emphasizing dark green and brightly coloured vegetables provides your body with lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support a healthy immune system. Garlic is a powerful natural antimicrobial, so I suggest adding a clove to one of your meals every day if possible!

2)    Avoid sugar, refined carbohydrates, excess alcohol and caffeine

Sugar and refined carbohydrates depress the immune system within hours of consumption, by reducing white blood cell count and activity. Excess alcohol and caffeine have similar effects, while caffeine additionally depletes adrenal function, an important system in maintaining a healthy immune system.

3)    Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night & practice stress reduction techniques daily

Obtaining restful and adequate sleep is one of the most important ways to keep your immune system strong. Stress reduction practices such as meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing, and yoga are also essential in helping regulate cortisol levels (your body’s long term stress hormone), which keeps the immune system working effectively. 

4)    Keep your gut healthy with probiotics and prebiotic foods

Taking probiotics and consuming prebiotic foods will establish a healthier microbial balance in your gastrointestinal tract. Since approximately 80% of your immune system is localized to the gut, maintaining a healthy gut bacterial balance enhances immune function in the body. Please discuss probiotic dosing further with your ND.

5)    Start taking Vitamin D3 

Vitamin D3, also known as the sunshine vitamin since humans can synthesize it from sun exposure, is an essential vitamin for a healthy immune system. Since we don’t obtain adequate sun exposure during the fall and winter months in this part of the world, supplementation is required. Please discuss appropriate Vitamin D3 dosing with your ND.

There are many other naturopathic immune-enhancing treatments and supplements that may be of benefit to you. Please bring questions or concerns about your immune system to the attention of your ND, who can create and individualize a treatment plan to best support your immune system this fall & winter.

Life Lessons from a Cold Sore

Posted on: May 19th, 2012 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

Life lessons can come in a variety of forms.  Sometimes it’s presented by way of a difficult relationship, a tedious task or surprise situations.  This past week I had a life lesson presented to me in the form of a cold sore.

As a Naturopathic Doctor, there is an assumption that I eat perfectly, carry no stress and meditate emphatically.  Although these are all aspects of my life, I cannot embody them fully nor would my expectation be that anyone else can.

A week ago, I developed a little cold sore that I treated with tea tree oil topically and an anti-viral immune support internally.  Everything was going beautifully and the cold sore was diminishing.  But one sunny day later with 11 hours of being in my garden, the little cold sore that could…did.  It was triple the size and in its glory for everyone to see.

Whether it’s having a cold sore on your lip, acne on your face, eczema on your skin or loss of hair on your head, it can be a humbling experience to show the world that something is going on internally with your health. Comments are generally given to people about what they should do about such conditions.  The reasons for these concerns are multi-factoral and often of a personal nature.

My cold sore this week reminded me that is ok to show vulnerability and once again enhanced my appreciation for those with conditions that are literally shown to the world.  It also reminded me that more rest time is needed amongst the busyness that my life holds at present.

Even a cold sore can a teacher to promote compassion to others and a reminder to relax.  I think I’ll do so today, but this time with a hat.

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Cold and Flu Season Approaches…What YOU Can do to Help

Posted on: September 30th, 2011 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

The Autumn Season has begun and so with it, sneezes, tickles in the throat and the need to begin to bundle up.  Prevention is key for those who want to ward off illness, so I will share some simple ways to support your immunity with the changing of the seasons.

Hygiene: This goes without saying, but can easily be forgotten.  Wash hands frequently and wash them well with hot water and soap, especially before touching your face or eating food.   And if you sneeze, use your elbow, stopping the spread of germs in the air.

Eating with the Season: salads, raw veggies and cold drinks are no longer as beneficial for the body with the colder weather.  Increase warm foods and drinks, such as soups, broths, stir-frys, teas, etc.  The warm food will be easier to break down and keep necessary energy available for the immune system to fight off colds/infections.

Hydrotherapy: Warming Socks are a fantastic way to help decrease head congestion before it becomes a cold and Contrast Showers help to increase circulation and lymphatic clearing. Simple and easy, these therapies can be done at home when needed.

Vitamins: Vitamins C and D are most popular for their immune support.  Increase levels as the seasons change, but remember about the other minerals and vitamins found in your vegetables and fruits.

Herbal Medicine: Herbs are an effective and efficient way of preventing and treating infection.  They are specific to the symptoms you are having, so talk to a Naturopath to help find the right treatment for you.

If you would like more information on how to prevent infection this season or if you’d like to schedule an appointment, please contact Dr. Amanda Cressman at 1-888-454-4667 or


Building Up Immunity

Posted on: October 28th, 2010 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

Immunity is a huge area of discussion these days as we transfer from warm temperatures to cooler ones. Sniffles start, colds happen and we all fear the thought of someone sneezing or coughing near us.Health is not determined by your exposure to viruses or bacteria, but your ability to handle that exposure.Having a strong and effective immune system is your best defense this time of year to ensure you can fight off infection and stay strong and full of vitality.

Here are some tips to help strengthen your immune system.


·Eat LOTS of vegetables and fruits…ramping up your plate to have at least half full during flu season to keep that immune system strengthened

·WATER is needed for a strong healthy body…aim for 8 glasses

·Drink and eat warm foods that easy to digest to help preserve energy for keeping your immune system strong

·Avoid fatty foods and anything with high sugar that lowers your ability to fight off infection


·Learn to breathe slowly and deeply, ensuring you exhale for prolonged periods to help the body remove toxins.

·Air your house and work space out by opening windows or doors once a day to circulate fresh air

Decrease Acidity

·Avoid foods and drinks that increase acid levels because an acid environment is more favorable for fungi, bacteria and viruses.These foods include: caffeine, nicotine, sugar, alcohol and drugs.


·Long term stress decreases your immune system

·Practice activities that promote relaxation and good energy


·Move your body, increasing circulation and relieving stress.

General Precautions

·Wash hands often and keep away from your face

·Avoid close contact with those who have symptoms

·Give your body the chance to fight off infections, strengthening it for future exposures to infections

·Don’t allow infections to persist.If you aren’t better within a couple of days visit your Naturopathic Doctor to address any underlying health conditions and support the natural healing process of the body.

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