We are bombarded with pathogens (bacteria, viruses and fungus) all year around, but are more susceptible to catching the flu during the months of November to April, and some of us seem to pick up every bug that crosses our path.
So why is it that some people are constantly fighting a flu while others seem to breeze through the season?
The integrity of the immune system is the main determinant of an individual’s susceptibility to the cold and flu. There is nothing more powerful than strengthening your body’s immune system as a way to protect yourself from the cold and flu season.
7 ACTION STEPS TO BUILD YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
If you want to avoid getting the flu this winter, follow these seven proven techniques for boosting your immune system, fighting off germs, and keeping your body healthy!
Get enough sleep. Your immune system functions much better when you get enough sleep. Most people really need about eight hours per night for optimal health. If your body is fatigued, it simply won't be able to fight off the flu virus (or any other infection) very well.
Exercise regularly. Exercise helps keep your immune system strong.
Avoid sugar. Even small amounts of sugar can significantly impair your immune function, making you more susceptible to a flu infection. A large amount of sugar, such as the amount found in a normal can of soda, hurts your immune function for hours.
Drink lots of pure water/herbal tea. Keeping your mucous membranes well-hydrated is a key to helping them fight off viruses. Shoot for about eight-ounce glasses per day.
Reduce stress with daily meditation or deep breathing. Too much stress has a highly negative impact on your overall health and, over time, it will make you much more susceptible to a flu infection. Studies show that prolonged stress is at least partially responsible for 90% of all illness and disease. Regular exercise and sufficient sleep both help reduce stress levels. Meditation and deep breathing is a proven stress-buster that is easy, enjoyable and can be used on a daily basis.
Wash your hands often. Also, carry a bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you and use it frequently, especially after you touch anything that others have touched recently (like doorknobs).
Get fresh air every day. During the winter the dry heat from indoor heating systems dries out your mucous membranes and makes you more susceptible to viruses. Bundle up and get outside for a walk or crack open a window or two to give your body some relief.
INCORPORATE IMMUNE BOOSTING FOODS IN YOUR DIET
Eat immune-boosting foods on a daily basis. A healthy diet, including a few proven immune-boosting foods, is one of the best ways to avoid catching the flu. The best flu-fighting foods are:
Fresh, organically grown fruits and vegetables - Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are packed with healthy phytonutrients that can strengthen your immune system, lowering your susceptibility to the flu virus.
Fresh raw or lightly-cooked garlic - Garlic has strong natural antiviral properties that can help to fight off a flu virus. Also, garlic provides a strong boost to your immune system, especially when eaten on a regular basis.
Green Tea - Like garlic, green tea has shown the ability to both kill viruses and to stimulate the immune system to fight off flu infections, especially when used daily. Try to drink three (3) to six (6) cups of strong green tea per day during the flu season.
Cayenne Pepper - Cayenne has a long list of health benefits and is believed to be a mild immune-booster. Also, cayenne contains large amounts of natural vitamin A, considered to be an important "anti- infection" nutrient.
SUPPLEMENTS TO SUPPORT THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Here are the basic supplements to support your immune system. These are recommended for all:
Probiotics 10 billion or more bacteria per day. Take with meals. (The acidity in the stomach will kill the good bacteria if not taken with food). Always keep refrigerated. Use a professional brand as Genestra or SISU.
Vitamin D 8000 IU daily (3000 IU for children). Try to find a liquid form for better absorption. You can also get your Vitamin D levels checked to see if you are deficient.
Pascoleucym, the natural flu shot – homeopathic preparation. Use as directed. This is my all-time favourite acute remedy. I always have this stocked in my medicine cabinet and I never leave for vacation without it, even if it’s just a weekend away!
You may want to consider a little extra support if you’re the person that seems to be catching multiple colds and flu each season.
Immu Core (Multi for cold and flue season) This is another great supplement we can’t keep on our shelves over the cold and flu season. It contains antioxidants such as zinc and selenium, and medicinal herbal mushrooms to support the immune system.
Multi-B Vitamin complex 50 mg – 100 mg/day or use as directed.
Vitamin C 500 mg- 1000 mg
Remember getting sick once in a while (one to two times per year, with healing in a reasonable time frame) is actually a necessary part of building and strengthening the immune system.
When the immune system gets activated during a cold or flu it’s able to build up antibodies (immune army) for future pathogenic invaders!