John H. Keefe III, D.C.
IN THE NEWS: Peppers to Help Prevent Parkinson’s Parkinson’s disease, characterized by inflammation, stiff muscles, tremors and progressively more difficulty walking, ranks second among the most common neurodegenerative disease in older people. Recent studies show that some foods can help reduce Parkinson’s symptoms, while other foods may change the factors that cause neurodegeneration and disease progression. Eating Solanaceae, aka nightshade vegetables, such as tomatoes, eggplant and especially peppers, has protective potential; one of the phytochemicals such vegetables contain is nicotine, which appears to be the agent imparting the neuroprotective effects. The amount of dietary nicotine you’d get from eating healthy vegetables is significantly less than what you’d ingest from smoking one cigarette but may be enough to offset your Parkinson’s risk. Eating Solanaceae vegetables, particularly peppers, two to four times per week is recommended for increased neuroprotection.
WELLNESS: Ways to Boost Your Immune System Before it’s too Late Don’t mess with your immune system. There are certain things that actively work against our immune systems, such as: drinking alcohol, not sleeping enough, and stressing out too much. So, it’s especially important to do better during cold and flu season. Unfortunately, that may be easier said than done, given that these seasons also coincide with the holiday season, and the bad weather that comes with it. “The weather is crummy, there’s lots of rich foods, and parties, and stress, and alcohol is more abundant this time of year,” says Dr. Roach. Eat well. Eating well can be harder in the wintertime, though. Fresh fruits and veggies may be more expensive or less readily available. If you can’t get fresh fruits and vegetables, Dr. Roach suggests frozen. “Frozen is next best to fresh,” he says. “You don’t want canned because canned fruits and vegetables often have too much sugar or salt and have lost a lot of their nutrients.” But mixing in frozen veggies into soups and stews, or using frozen vitamin-packed berries for smoothies should really help. Exercise. Sure, it’s cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on your workout routine. Exercise is important for your immune system, Dr. Levine says, because it acts like a natural anti-inflammatory. She’s not saying you need to run a marathon every day, but getting regular exercise — 30 minutes of actual sweating, five times a week — will do wonders for your immune system. Drink enough water. Most Americans are constantly dehydrated, Dr. Levine says, and that directly harms our immune response. Ideally, people should drink about nine glasses of water a day, and even more if they’ve been sweating. Get enough sleep. Sleep is your body’s time to rest and rebuild, Dr. Levine says. So if you’re not getting enough, or your sleep isn’t restful, then you’re not giving your body the chance to take care of itself. “There’s no magic number for most people, but a minimum of eight hours feels good (I don’t like people getting any less than seven hours),” Dr. Levine says. Eat some probiotics.“There’s some data that probiotics can improve general immune health, and that may help decrease the likelihood of getting a cold or influenza,” Dr. Virk says. But again, she’d much rather you get your probiotics from healthy food sources, like yogurt or kefir, than from supplements.
CHIROPRACTIC: The Effects of Chiropractic on the Immune System: A Review of the Literature This paper outlines the many components of the mammalian immune system and the anatomical and physiological connections suggesting that the nervous system plays a role in the modulation of immune response. The few studies attempting to measure the effect of chiropractic or manipulative treatment on the immune system are reviewed. Their results suggest that chiropractic or manipulative treatment may influence T and B lymphocyte numbers, NK cell numbers, antibody levels, phagocytic activity
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