How can you keep your immune system as strong as possible, especially during the flu season? Right now we are four weeks into the flu season and it has been very mild. Experts are suggesting that the COVID-19 / coronavirus precautions that we’re all taking is making a difference in the number of flu cases.
Still, flu season can last well into May and you don’t want to burden your system with the flu or any other viruses.
If you’ve been building healthy habits, keep them up.
Here is a list of the five most important things you can do to protect yourself during flu season:
- Eat real food
- Reduce processed sugar consumption
- Get enough sleep
- Be wary of alcohol
- Take immune-supporting supplements
Eat Real Food
We should be eating multiple servings of vegetables and fruits every day because they have micronutrients locked inside them. Guess what is needed to counteract the potential cell damage of the free radicals that the body produces to kill off viruses?
Yup! Micronutrients. The very things found in the fruits and veggies. At least seven servings of veggies and two servings of fruit per day is recommended. It’s not as much as you think. One cup raw or ½ cup cooked vegetables equals one serving.
Back Off of Processed Sugar
Natural sugar from whole fruit is good, but avoid just drinking juice or reduce as much sugar as possible if you are battling a yeast overgrowth. Processed sugars in the form of sugar laden cereal, cookies, cake, or candy should absolutely be avoided – basically all of the foods that are so prevalent during the flu and holiday seasons.
Processed sugar actually binds to the fighting white blood cells (part of the immune system) and renders the poor things inactive and unable to fight the good fight for you.
Do Not Cheat on Your Sleep
Sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture, so why would you do that to yourself?! Besides feeling sad, grumpy and just plain tired, you also short change your body’s ability to fight infection, burn fat, and detoxify when you reduce your body’s repair and maintenance time.
Beware of Alcohol
Yes, many enjoy the taste, but too much will cause dehydration in the body. Even a small shift in hydration makes the brain work harder. It also puts an increased burden on the detoxification system. It makes more work for the body.
Think of how badly a car runs when there is no more water in the radiator. Your body is much more complicated than your car, so make sure you rehydrate yourself. Be especially careful if the fruity sweet alcoholic drinks are your preference, as those calories add up fast.
Supplements With Immunity Boosting Benefits
Take your supplements, especially if you are already skipping meals or eating food from a box, bag, can, or fast food joint. You can never make up lost opportunities to get in those micronutrients.
Supplements could be a critical secret weapon to fuel your immune system and make it battle ready when the time arises. If you are taking a daily (i.e., intended to be taken once a day) multivitamin, replace it with a multivitamin which is designed to be taken multiple times a day in addition to adding in some additional supplements (see below).
There is no way to get all of the nutrients you need in a tiny synthetic pill you ingest once a day.
Recommended Supplements for Flu Season
There are several supplements which should be taken on a daily basis to add to the immune system arsenal.
An antioxidant blend which contains Vitamin C, Vitamin E, zinc, bioflavanoids, and probiotics may be beneficial especially if you have taken antibiotics in the past.
Berberine is a chemical found in several plants such as Goldenseal and Oregon grape, which is considered to be a natural antibiotic. It has been found effective for the flu and stomach bugs and colds. It also enhances the natural immune system.
Another popular herbal remedy is Echinacea. It is best used when you are just beginning to feel sick. A popular belief is that it will help prevent or ward off illness so many take it as a preventative measure when they do not feel sick however this practice could actually do more harm than good.
Echinacea helps to fight infection by stimulating the immune system to increase a very potent free radical. You do not want to produce high amounts of free radicals all of the time, so this amazing herb should be used only when beginning to feel sick.
Another favorite combination is what I refer to as the “magic mushrooms:” Maitake, Reishi and Shiitake mushrooms are all wonderful immune boosters.
Last but not least is what I consider to be my personal secret weapon:
This becomes even more critical when you are fighting off a sore throat, ear infection or problems with your sinuses. A simple adjustment will have profound effects on your body so you will expedite the healing process and feel better sooner.
We all have an immune system. How well it works is often based upon how well we treat it. Treat it badly, and it will not protect you, especially during the flu season.
If you feed yourself real food, get the proper rest, manage stress and supplement your diet, you have a much higher likelihood of sailing through the cold and flu season feeling amazing.
Medical Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and has been compiled from years of practice, study and experience by Mikell Suzanne Parsons, DC. This information is NOT intended to be used as a substitute for the advice from your physician or any other health care provider, or any information contained in or on any product label or packaging. Do not use information in this article for diagnosing or treating any health problem or disease. Always speak to your health care provider before taking any nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement. If you have or suspect that you have a health problem including COVID-19, contact your health care provider immediately. Do not ignore seeking health care advice or delay seeking care because of something that you have read in this article. Information provided in this article or on this website DOES NOT create a doctor-patient relationship between you and Mikell Suzanne Parsons, DC. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.