Top Ways To Flu-Proof Your Body
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, cold and flu season is well and truly here. Of course you can catch a cold or flu at any time of the year, but these infections are much more common in fall and winter.
Have you ever wondered why?
The main reasons are:
- Less of the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays reach the earth, meaning you cannot make as much vitamin D in your skin when out in the sun. Low vitamin D levels make you more prone to infections.
- In fall and winter the air is usually drier. A lower level of humidity allows cold and flu viruses to survive longer outside the body. This means you can catch a virus more easily.
- During cold weather your white blood cells have more difficulty reaching the lining of your respiratory tract; therefore you are less able to fight off invading pathogens.
Getting a cold or flu is not inevitable though. It is possible to go for several years without an infection. It all depends on how healthy your immune system is. There are ways to naturally defend yourself against infections.
- Fill up on nutrient dense foods. What you eat each day is your most powerful ally in keeping your immune system strong. Many people do not eat enough vegetables, particularly raw vegetables. As the weather cools down, salads are often replaced with carbohydrate heavy meals based on potatoes and pasta. It is fine and beneficial to eat warming meals during cold weather, but it is also important to eat some raw vegetables and fruit. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is rapidly destroyed by cooking. If you know you don’t eat enough raw vegetables and fruit, you may want to take a vitamin C supplement. Many people do not get adequate selenium in their diet and this leaves them more vulnerable to viral infections. Brazil nuts, onions and seafood provide some selenium, but I see big improvements in my patients when I give them a selenium supplement.
- Along with eating plenty of raw foods, it is important to consume adequate protein and good fats. Protein is found in foods such as seafood, poultry, eggs, red meat (preferably pastured), nuts and seeds. Healthy sources of fat include avocados, olive oil, macadamia nut oil, pastured ghee and organic coconut oil. If you base your diet on vegetables, protein and healthy fats, you should be able to achieve a healthy weight, have healthy digestion and plenty of energy. It also reduces sugar cravings, which brings me to my next point.
- Avoid consuming high amounts of sugar and foods that rapidly get digested into sugar, such as grains, cereals and starches. Sugar weakens your immune system for several reasons, mainly because it disturbs the microorganisms in your intestines. Sugar acts as a fertilizer for all the wrong bugs in your gut. It promotes the growth of Candida and harmful bacteria, and can cause Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). This will weaken your immune system and compromise your ability to absorb nutrients from your food and supplements. If you are currently suffering with Candida or an excess of harmful gut microbes, BactoClear can help to clean up the environment in your gut.
- Ensure you have sufficient blood levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D insufficiency is a very common problem and will make you more susceptible to all sorts of infections, including colds and flu. During winter, most people’s blood level of vitamin D drops to rock bottom. You should ask your doctor for a blood test to check your vitamin D status. You are aiming for a level between 40 and 60 ng/mL (100 – 150 nmol/L). During winter it is difficult for most people to receive enough sun exposure to increase vitamin D, therefore a vitamin D supplement may be necessary. Cold Eze capsules are a convenient combination of Vitamin D, plus immune strengthening herbs including astragalus, garlic and echinacea.
- Try to get adequate sleep, and manage your stress. You can be doing all the right things with your diet and exercise, but if you are continually sleep deprived and stressed out, your immune system will suffer. Most people need 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep each night. If you regularly do not get enough sleep, it will be much more difficult for your immune system to ward off an infection, and it will take you much longer to recover. A cold that may have lasted 3 days can linger for two weeks if you don’t receive deep, restorative sleep. Many things can stand in the way of good sleep. If you’ve been struggling for some time, you may find solutions in my book Tired of Not Sleeping? Just about everyone finds that magnesium improves their sleep quality and helps them to feel less stressed and anxious during the day. I typically recommend a teaspoon of magnesium powder with the evening meal.
- Wash your hands regularly. Washing your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap is an extremely effective method of washing away bacteria and viruses that can cause disease. Please don’t use antibacterial soap or hand liquids; they promote the development of antibiotic resistant strains of super bugs, and can contain toxic chemicals known as endocrine disruptors, which may raise the risk of cancer.
- Don’t wait until you develop a cold or flu; act now to strengthen your immune system. It is possible to get through winter without even a sniffle if you take the right precautions.
- N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) can help to reduce mucus congestion in the sinuses and lungs. NAC is a molecule your body uses to produce the powerful antioxidant called glutathione. This helps to improve your liver’s detoxification capacities, but it also helps to clear excess mucus from your body. This can help you to recover from infections more quickly.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.