Archives for category: Health Tips

IMG_8997I love the holiday season – spending time with family and friends and feeling all of that holiday love.

But sometimes enjoying all of this holiday love has us burning the candle at both ends- leaving us susceptible to viruses, colds and flu.

How do we show our immune system love, amid all of the holiday cheer?

  1. Sleep. Get your zzzs.
  2. Breathe. Stretch. Relax. Paint! Snowshoe! Anything that reduces stress for you.
  3. Keep up those good eating habits! Be sure to include a rainbow assortment of veggies (think Vitamin C and Beta Carotene!), fresh herbs, nuts and seeds, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, homemade bone broth(!) – and remember to include a protein source with each meal.
  4. Check your Vitamin D level and consider supplementation through the winter if indicated.
  5. Do include a probiotic supplement or probiotic containing foods – Sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir and miso all fit this bill!
  6. Do include immune boosting foods such as onions and garlic, ginger, turmeric, raw honey (only if not pregnant) and mushrooms.
  7. Did I mention rest?
  8. And enjoy!

Wishing you all the very best for this holiday season and beyond!




Top 3 Nutrients Every Man Needs

Short version?

Tomatoes from the garden
+  Oysters for Happy Hour
+  Salmon grilled on the bbq
= One happy (healthy) man.tomato, fish oil, pumpkin seed


Maximize health and minimize the work? Sounds like a plan! While tips and tricks for exercise, nutrition and stress reduction are all over the web, let’s boil it down something you (or your male friend) can easily grab onto.


An anti-oxidant that gives fruits and vegetables a red colouring. Tomatoes are one great source that most of us Canadians have in our gardens.  Anti-oxidants reduce oxidative damage that naturally occurs in all our cells as we age.  To super charge your overall diet, men and women should increase the colour and brightness of their foods – choose fresh local fruits and veggies of all colours.

Although research on the positive effects of lycopene and prostate cancer are mixed, most studies agree that for men with a family history of prostate cancer, having lycopene in foods regularly will reduce the risk of developing this men’s cancer.


Practically a wonder drug, zinc does it alloyster-on-ice – supports hair growth, improves testosterone levels, boosts immune system health, supercharges sperm and refines taste buds.  An essential element at the cellular level, zinc-based receptors allow your cells to grab testosterone and transmit the hormone message, including producing more testosterone. This ‘manly’ hormone allows both men and women to more readily build and maintain muscle mass. Looking for easy to eat zinc sources? Raw pumpkin seeds, oysters, lean beef – enjoy!

Often used in fertility treatment, zinc is required for sperm production and semen formation.  You can easily have your functional zinc levels tested with your naturopathic doctor with a simple in-office test.


Omega-3 essential fatty acids… (aka fish oils)
The Standard North American Diet, firmly rooted in animal meats, processed foods and few fresh vegetables  (this is not a good thing), leads to a low omega-3 fatty acid level and a high omega-6 level.  Corn is the primary source of omega-6 fats and most of our animals that we eat for dinner have themselves been fed of corn products. Remember the adage ‘You are what you eat’, well that includes what your dinner ate.  Indeed over the last 40 years, omega-6 consumption has sky-rocketed 250% while omega-3 levels have fallen 40%. This imbalance is problematic to good cardiovascular health, cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

Where enjoying fish at least once per week in your diet along with nuts, seeds and avocados is a great basis for increasing omega-3s, most adult men need to look into a quality omega-3 supplement.  Supplementation with these healthful fats has been shown to reduce triglycerides and increase HDL-cholesterol (the good kind) therefore improving your cholesterol profile leading to a reduction in risk of cardiovascular incidents.

The frustrating thing is that not all supplements are made the same and this is especially true of fish oils. As a general rule consult with your naturopathic doctor to get the right dose for you and shop where professional brands are sold such as your NDs office or health food store. In Ottawa?  Ask your ND or visit reputable places such as NutriChem Pharmacy, Watson’s Pharmacy, Mother Hubbards or the Natural Food Pantry.
Want to really get more out of your body? Visit your naturopathic doctor to maximize your health, energy and stamina. Life is short, so take advantage now – and tomorrow!

6831216930_54b6acd3a7While I do believe strongly in the importance of an annual or bi-annual whole body detoxification program in order to maintain optimal health and prevent disease, there are few simple things you can do daily all year round to support your liver and keep your colon healthy.

1) Squeeze 1/4 lemon into 250 ml warm water, add a pinch of cayenne pepper and 1/4 tsp maple syrup.  Drink 15 minutes before breakfast to jump start your metabolism, support the liver detoxification pathways and decrease inflammation.

2) Add 2 tbsp of ground flax seed to your morning breakfast.  Ground flax seeds act as bulking agent and assist in removing toxins through your bowel movements.

3) Include 5 tbsp of kefir (a fermented milk source) to your daily diet.  Kefir yields an extremely high amount of probiotic, up to 5 billion per tbsp.  Probiotics are an essential component in maintaining healthy gut flora and are required for effective elimination, immune health and detoxification.

4) Start each day with a nutrient rich smoothie with ingredients like frozen blueberries, banana, almond milk, rice or hemp based protein powders.  For additional benefits include greens like spinach and kale.  This is a great way for you to get powerful antioxidants, fibre as well as assist in the balancing of your blood sugar levels.

5) Finally, practice contrast showering.  This involves cycling through hot and cold temperature changes during your shower, always ending with a cold.  This will stimulate metabolism and promote healthy circulation and lymphatic drainage.

To learn more about daily detoxification practices or to discuss a more extensive and advanced program contact a Naturopathic doctor at Naturally Well who will offer effective and supportive information that is individualized to your needs.

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wool socksThis amazing at home treatment acts by increasing the circulation and decrease congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head, and throat. It has a relaxing action and many patients report that they sleep much better during the treatment.  Warming socks is effective for pain relief and has been shown to speed the healing response during acute infections.

Sore throat or any inflammation or infection of the throat, neck pain, ear infections, headaches, migraines, nasal congestion, upper respiratory infections, coughs, bronchitis, and sinus infections.


1 pair of thin white cotton socks
1 pair of thick wool socks
warm bath or warm foot bath

1. Warms your feet first – this is very important as the treatment will not be as effective and could be harmful if your feet are not warmed first. Warming can be accomplished by soaking your feet in warm water for at least 5-10 minutes or taking a warm bath for 5-10 minutes.
2. Dry off fee and body with a dry towel
3. Take a pair of cotton socks and soak them in cold running water. Wring the socks well so they do not drip.
4. Put the cotton socks on your feet while sitting on your bed. Cover with the wool socks and go directly to bed so as to avoid getting chilled.
5. Keep the socks on overnight. You will find that the wet cotton socks will be dry in the morning.

For best results repeat this for three nights in a row, or as instructed by your Naturopathic Doctor.

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We are moving into the time of year that is typically known as the cold and flu season.  Spending more time indoors, holiday eating and drinking indulgences as well as a decrease in sunlight are some of the reasons for the increase in illness.

The importance of a having a healthy immune system is often neglected in the role of cold and flu prevention.  The conventional medical approach of “find the bug and kill the bug” with vaccines and seasonal flu shots is missing the important element of maintaining a healthy and robust immune system.  The Naturopathic medical model recognizes that the best strategy in the prevention and treatment of seasonal illness is to balance the immune defences to ensure that your body is able to effectively deal with any bugs that you may come across.

Cold and flu prevention begins with a foundation of basic healthy diet and lifestyle choices.  This includes consuming a whole food diet rich in proteins, whole grains, good fats and an abundance of fruits and vegetables.  Avoidance of processed and refined foods especially ones that are high in sugars will support the goal of optimal immune health.  Lifestyle choices like daily exercise that increase body temperature and induce sweating, sleep hygiene that promotes quality rest and stress management activities like deep breathing and yoga will all play a key role in immune system balance.

In addition there are many different vitamin, mineral, herbal and homeopathic formulas that have been shown to prevent and treat colds and flu.   To receive your individualized treatment plan visit one of the doctors at  Naturally Well clinic.

There is consistent evidence that our environment is increasingly becoming polluted.  These pollutants are in our food, water and air.  It is very important to regularly clean these toxins from your body before they accumulate to levels where they can cause symptoms like  weight gain, depression, constipation, fatigue etc… The fall is an ideal time to implement a detoxification program as it will help to prevent colds and flu, keep your immune system healthy, and prepare your organs for the colder months ahead.

A safe and effective detox while work to support the body’s natural cleansing organs such as the liver, intestines, kidneys, lungs and skin. The optimal functioning of these systems can be supported through proper dietary and lifestyle choices as well as through natural health products.

Important dietary choices include becoming aware of what you are eating and drinking and minimizing your daily exposure to potential toxins by choosing organic, local and/or seasonal foods.  Avoiding common food sensitivities like wheat, dairy, corn, sugar, soy, eggs and peanuts and choosing a whole food clean diet of lean protein, whole grains, good fats and an abundance of fruits and vegetables will further support the detoxification process.

Lifestyle choices that help with detoxification include regular mild to moderate exercise, avoidance of plastics, use of natural skin care and house hold products and surrounding yourself with supportive like-minded individuals.

For more information and an individualized detoxification program get in touch with your Naturopathic doctor.

The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends that pregnant and lactating women take 2000IU of Vitamin D daily, especially during winter, to protect their babies from a litany of illnesses later in life.

An even greater amount of Vitamin D3 supplementation may be required if blood work reveals Vitamin D deficiency.  Vitamin D supplements for breastfed infants have been recommended for decades to prevent rickets, but the pediatric society says the emphasis now goes far beyond the debilitating bone disease. Vitamin D deficiencies in early life have been linked with an increased risk of asthma, Type 1 diabetes, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, MS and inflammatory bowel disease, dental malformations and the development of certain cancers. Vitamin D is important for brain development and to build tolerance against autoimmune diseases. Talk to your naturopathic doctor about what Vitamin D3 supplement is best for you and your family.

In health,

Dr. Erin O’Farrell, N.D.