Do you dread the cold and flu season? Catching a cold is an inconvenient and uncomfortable experience – one that we’d all rather live without! Thankfully, there is a lot that you can do to help your body’s immune defence work at it’s best, which means you can prevent colds or significantly reduce their severity. This means less snot up your nose and less time off work – a win-win really.
So why do some people catch everything going around while others don’t? It comes down to the function of your immune system – your very own line of defense against cold and flu viruses. If your immune system is working well you won’t catch nearly as many colds and when you do, your body will be all over it – helping you to recover much faster.
Stress, a poor diet and bad sleep all deplete your immune system, as does smoking and alcohol intake. On the other hand, eating a diet rich in nutrients, managing your stress well and getting a great nights sleep can help your immune system to do what it needs to do.
For a healthy immune system, eat:
- A whole food diet based on vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, organic meat, fish, nuts and seeds.
- Fresh fruit and raw vegetables that are high in Vitamin C and bioflavonoids – kiwifruit, berries, citrus in season, pawpaw, pineapple, capsicum, parsley and radishes.
- High zinc foods – oysters, pepitas, sunflower seeds, ginger and organic red meat.
- Immune enhancing and antiviral foods such as garlic, onion and bee pollen (great in smoothies).
There are also many herbal medicines and nutrients that can help to replete your immune system and prevent colds and flus. Studies show that Echinacea root, when taken preventatively can reduce your risk of catching a cold significantly. Beware of over the counter Echinacea products though – they are often made from the cheaper aerial parts of the plant and even those made from the root may not have enough of the active alklyamides to have a beneficial effect.
Seeing a naturopath is the best way to ensure you’re getting good quality products that are going to work how they are meant to. As well as Echinacea our naturopaths commonly prescribe other immune and antiviral herbs along with Vitamin C and bioflavonoid complexes, zinc and other more complex immune enhancing nutrients. Our naturopaths also help to improve both stress and sleep quality, which further enhances your natural immunity (as well as making you feel great!).
Look after your body so it can look after you. Eat well, get some rest and see one of our naturopaths to help you avoid getting sick.
To make an appointment with one of our naturopathic experts, call us on 07 3367 0337 or book online here.
In two out of three cases, there is likely to be a male-related subfertility cause, either alone or in combination with a female factor.
In many cases, conventional reproductive medicine practice tends to ignore the issue of male fertility and it is the female partner who seeks treatment. Most men have semen analysis, although in many cases if the semen is found to be suboptimal, these couples are automatically referred for IVF, rather than the man undergoing further investigations and treatment. Furthermore, men are usually presumed to be fertile if their semen parameters are normal. However, male infertility may be present even when the semen analysis is normal.
Other functional factors which contribute to male infertility include:
- Lowered or non-existent sperm production
- Sperm blocked from or imperfectly being released
- Sperm not functioning properly
Studies report that acupuncture treatment can improve ejaculatory dysfunction, erectile dysfunction, sperm motility, concentration, sperm vitality and total motile count. This is possibly due to the effect that acupuncture has in increasing testosterone levels.
Sperm take about 72 days to clear the production line, so an acupuncture treatment schedule of at least 3-4 months is preferable to ensure benefits are realized.
Semen parameters are not the only measure of male fertility. Delayed parenthood may contribute to low sperm count and higher rates of DNA damage. However, the ensuing lifestyle factors on both the male and female parts could also contribute to these findings, of which, acupuncture can be incorporated with positive results.
Weight and BMI
Paternal weight is also important in male fertility. A 2012 systematic review and meta-analysis of 21 studies concluded that being overweight or obese significantly increased the risk of azoospermia (no sperm) or oligozoospermia (low sperm concentration). The recommended BMI for optimum baby making is currently set between 19 – 24 kg/² for both males and females trying for pregnancy.
Although there are mixed results regarding exercise and sperm count, one study showed that men who exercised for at least 15 hours per week had a 73% higher sperm concentration compared with men who exercised under 5 hours per week. The study also showed that men who spend more than 20 hours per wek week watching TV had 44% lower sperm counts compared with men who did not. In any case your general health will be better by being more active and maintaining a healthy weight. Creating offspring should not be the only motivation for exercise!
Consuming alcohol has been shown to affect sperm morphology and sperm production. This is exacerbated with increased intake. Binge drinking on the male part (more than 20 units/week) has shown to significantly increase the couple’s time to conception. There has also been a link with alcohol intake on both the male and female part with miscarriage and reduced IVF success.
Smoking in males reduces fertilisation rates and success rates of IVF and ICSI, as studies have shown a link to poor semen parameters.
Recreational drug use is strongly associated with infertility in both males and females, and can contribute to as much as a 70% increase of risk factors.
Prescription and over the counter medication can also contribute to male infertility, so it is important to make a note of anything that you and your partner are taking and to be aware of which medications could potentially harm reproductive function.
Environmental factors such as air pollution and exposure to contaminants can affect male fertility. Increased temperatures can also alter sperm production and can include: sitting for long periods, hot baths, using a laptop placed on the lap and sauna use.
Mention any potential environmental predisposition which might be involved to your practitioner.
Occupational factors have also been linked to reduced fertility so therefore it is important to disclose this information. Male occupations most strongly associated with subfertility include, welders, bakers, drivers (or others involving high scrotal temperature), radiotherapists, engine drivers, agricultural workers, chemists, laboratory workers and painters (due to solvent exposure).
Macronutrient intake and diet play a huge role in reproductive health. As an acupuncturist, it is important to work with a naturopath or dietician who can rule out any nutrient deficiencies leading to subfertility. Generally speaking, to ensure healthy sperm quality, men should:
- Eat a diet rich in vegies, fruits, grains, poultry and seafood
- Reduce intake of foods that have high amounts of carbohydrates and high sugar content, and also reduce intake of processed meats
- Replace full-fat fairy with low-fat dairy
Generally speaking, conventional medicine perceptions are most often guilty of relinquishing the task of conception and pregnancy to our female counterpart and quick to assume a dysfunction in the female rather than the male. There is much more at play for the paternal role in the synergistic bond of creation. Men so easily forget, as the woman bares the child and experiences the birth, that she is not just a vessel for breeding.
As we say goodbye to another year and another festive period of overindulgence, it is now time to look at how we can cleanse our bodies and help our cells to function as effectively as they can. Most people have some goal that they aim to achieve in the year to come, with health and wellness high up on the agenda. January is traditionally detox month at Brisbane Natural Health as we try to help people get back on track and give them a great start to the New Year.
Cleansing is something that we all need. We should be cleansing our bodies on a day-to-day basis, as well as having periods where we intensify the process to rid our bodies of unwanted toxins, excess weight and anything else that can make us sluggish. As well as cleansing your physical body, it is important to consider cleansing yourself of any unwanted emotions that no longer serve you. Perhaps you’ve had a hard year, with lots of challenges. Or you’ve been feeling frustrated and negative about your situation. Part of cleansing involves identifying and detoxifying these emotions so that you can get back on track.
You body detoxifies in every single cell, every single minute of the day. To assist the process, it helps to avoid processed foods, sugar, trans fats, factory farmed meat, excessive coffee and alcohol. On the other side, eating loads of fresh vegetables, green leafy veggies, fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds and gluten free whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, will help your body to detoxify. You also want to think about any environmental toxins that can place an extra strain on your body. Avoiding phthalates (cosmetics and plastic), BPA (plastic and canned food), artificial food additives, preservatives and non-organic produce can help aid your body’s ability to detoxify.
To address the emotional side of cleansing, you can do simple things like journaling, daily gratitude rituals, meditation or other relaxation tools. To go a little deeper, you could consider a session with a hypnotherapist or energetic healer to release any harmful emotions from the subconscious so that you can embrace the New Year with added vigour.
There are many ways to cleanse your body and mind; try several to find out what works best for you. A good indication of success is that you should end a detoxification program with renewed energy, glowing skin and a happy more positive frame of mind.
Our team can help you with detoxification in several ways. Our naturopaths can design you a tailor made program based on your individual needs. You can book a session with our hypnotherapist or energetic healer to work on the emotional side of cleansing. We also offer a range of natural beauty services and products so you can look your best without the use of harsh chemicals while detoxifying.
Call our team on 07 3367 0337 – we’d love to help.