Flu season has started in many parts of the United States, and will last through the holidays. Unless you have countless hours of sick days you wish to cash in, preventative measures are the best rules of thumb when trying to out smart the flu or cold, which can both leave you feeling under the quickly changing weather. Below are my favorite natural and beneficial ways to prevent the flu, whether you are 2 years old or 90!
People who get a good dose of vitamin D from the sun (at least 15 min a day) and utilize Mother Nature’s fresh air will not only have their moods lifted, but also create more serotonin (the feel good hormones) released into the body. Vitamin D boosts immune system, just like eating mushrooms, (filled with vitamin D). People who feel better mentally and physically have stronger immune systems and will most likely avoid getting sick.
Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds(especially for children), avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, and/or using alcohol based anti-bacterial hand rub when water and soap are not available will decrease the chance of getting sick by 65-80 percent!
3. Staying away from populated places, especially enclosed areas
When flu season is at its peak (mid-October through January), try avoid going to extremely populated and enclosed areas where re-circulated air and germs can proliferate and infiltrate your body. Top places with germs: restaurants (especially the bathrooms, menus, condiment dispensers), airplane/airport bathrooms, grocery store and/or shopping carts,gymnasiums and workout rooms, malls, and doctor’s offices.
When your body is well rested, your immune system is up and all defenses are ready to keep your body well. A lack of quality sleep deletes the body’s ability to fight off foreign invaders. Even 20 minute cat naps in the middle of the day will help! Shut down all electronically devices 2 hours before going to bed so the brain and optic nerves prepare for melatonin release and a good night’s rest. Adults, try to aim for 7-9 hours, and children 12-14 hours! Make sure to limit caffeine and stimulating foods for before 2 pm, and sleep without electronics by your side (at least 5 feet away) and without lights.
Perhaps on of the precursors to a cold or the flu is a compromised immune system, and the fastest way to deplete those defenses is stress. The holidays can be very stressful with holiday shopping, family reunions, traveling, changing of the weather, deadlines for end of the year and all the festivity celebrations can leave us feeling overwhelmed. Without a routine stress release (through exercising, crafting, journaling, yoga, meditation or which ever else you call stress release), this hustle and bustle of the fall/winter season is not sustainable and will invite colds and flus to overtake the body. Exercising creates good endorphins and lifts up mood and boosts immune system as well. Find a way to channel your stress.
Boost your immune system from the inside out and build an armor of strength and good feeling with the foods you choose to eat and drink. I suggest a green drink or two a day (green apple, cucumber, spinach, kale, celery, ginger, parsley and lemon) and try eating 5-7 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables. These live foods are choc filled with phytochemicals and micronutrients to rid the body of foreign invaders that aim to weaken the body’s optimal wellness functioning. Also pay attention to what is local and in season. Eating those foods will ensure that the most amount of vitamins and minerals are present.
Don’t forget to utilize your oils! Good oils that you can consume from foods (coconut oils, omega 3 oils, hemp and flaxseed oils) as well as essential oils that can be diffused into the air, used on or in the body as anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial. For more information on essential oils, please visit: http://www.mydoterra.com/truthnhealth/.
Make sure you and your family take daily doses of probiotics. These are the good bacteria in the gut that helps to stave off colds and the flu, maintains the homeostasis in the gut and re-balances the bacteria we need in our bodies that are destroyed by antibiotics. Also eat regular (not too much) amounts of fermented foods with naturally occurring probiotics (Greek yogurt, miso, tempeh, kimchi, coconut kefir and sauerkraut.
These three are bonuses when boosting immune system. Elderberry syrup is packed with vitamins A, B and C, but it also stimulates the immune system, has been shown to prevent colds and the flu, and tastes delicious. It is available for children and adults. Colostrum is the “liquid gold” that comes from the pre-milk of a newly mothered cow. It is filled with live antibodies and is freezed and encapsulated or made into powdered form. Drinking water and staying hydrated is your best everyday habit to fight against possible flu and cold season. Also keep the humidifier handy in your sleeping room. When the weather changes to cold, it is often dry as well. Dry weather does not allow the body to produce mucus, which is a great first defense to protecting our bodies from foreign invaders. Infuse humidifiers with essential oils for a double dose of protection.
Sources: Health.com, CDC.com, WebMD.com, foxnews.com