Fighting the flu comes naturally
As the weather begins to change and winter is fast approaching, there is one word that begins to cross the minds of many … the “flu.”
We see signs, from drug stores and health clinics to grocery stores, offering flu shots. According to the Centers for Disease Control, those who are at greatest risk for developing the flu are the elderly, young children and those who suffer from chronic conditions. While the vaccine is highly available and, in my opinion, not very effective, there are natural methods that can help prevent you from catching this infection. Also, there are natural methods to help your body get over it quickly.
Whether or not to get the flu vaccine is a sensitive subject. Passions tend to run high on both sides. I’m not saying you should get the flu shot and I’m not saying you shouldn’t. I’m encouraging everyone to educate themselves on this topic. In the meantime, let’s discuss what you can do to decrease your chances of getting the flu.
Here are some helpful suggestions you might want to try:
Eat mushrooms Forget the apple a day, enjoy a mushroom instead. Both shiitake and maitake are the best choices when it comes to boosting your immune system. These mushrooms increase your white blood cells, the cells that strengthen your immunity against infection.
Increase your sleep Think of your immune system as a battery; it needs to be charged each night to work at its maximum capacity. Eight hours is what’s recommended to fully charge it, giving it the strength to fight off infections.
Eat more fruits and vegetables These are important for good health under normal circumstances, but when trying to prevent influenza, they are even more so. Eating a wide variety of these super foods ensures you will receive the vitamins and minerals that are vital for strengthening your immune system. These include vitamins A, B6, C and E and minerals such as zinc, selenium, iron and copper.
Exercise more often The benefits of exercise are two-fold; it helps strengthen your immune system while reducing your stress levels simultaneously. Walking for 30 to 60 minutes a day can reduce the number of colds and sore throats you develop by half; this is due to a strengthened immune system. Exercise is also a terrific stress reducer.
Wash your hands Hand washing is the single most important step anyone can take in preventing the spread of any disease or infection. Use warm soap and water, taking care to scrub under your nails.
Sing the Happy Birthday song while washing; this ensures you are washing long enough. When finished, use a clean paper towel to turn off the faucets, and always avoid touching your mouth and nose; these are the easiest methods of transportation for germs.
If you have had the flu (or any other potentially communicable condition like a fever or sore throat), you should replace your toothbrush with a new one.
If you find yourself with a cold or the flu, you can boost your immune system by using the following:
Honey It fights infections and actively kills bacterial cells.
Vitamin C It has antiviral properties and is a powerful healing tool.
Lemon Lemon has both antibacterial and antiviral properties. It also reduces mucus.
Apple Cider Vinegar It helps prevent the flu, eases digestion, kills fungus, and reduces inflammation.
Ginger It boosts immunity and reduces inflammation.
Zinc Zinc has been shown to reduce the severity and length of illness.
Garlic Garlic is an antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal. It reduces inflammation and boosts immune function.
Vitamin D3 It enhances your immune system.
Chili Peppers These are a natural remedy for sore throat and they ease congestion.
Turmeric It has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Elderberry Elderberry inhibits viruses from spreading and bacteria growth.
Baking Soda This prevents the contraction of colds and the flu.
Cinnamon This is a potent antioxidant.
Hopefully, you find this information a useful ally in the seasonal fight with colds and the flu. Remember what I emphasize with all my patients: Let’s all be mindful of what we put in our bodies, and take care of what God gave us the natural way.
Written by Camille Holstein, Ph.D.