The flu is reaching epidemic proportions here in the US, and I’ve been priding myself on my strong immune system and the fact that I’m not exposed to too many germs since I work from home. But my cockiness has caught up to me and as I write this I’m feeling the beginnings of something hitting my system. I won’t give in though – I will fight the flu!
- Stay Hydrated. Yes, I know this is an old cliché, but sometimes clichés exist for a reason. You should be drinking lots of water anyway, but especially in cold and flu season. Tea is helpful too, and I’m a big fan of Yogi Tea’s cold weather teas such as Throat Coat and Breath Deep.
- Rest. Yes, this another cliché. (This list is going to be full of them!) The body works on repairing and rebuilding itself while we’re sleeping. If there isn’t enough adequate sleep, the immune system can be compromised. Aim for about 8 hours of sleep a night and work on slowing down and managing stress too, as stress wreak havoc on the body in many ways.
- Wast Your Hands. This may sound like a no-brainer, but most germs are transmitted through contact like sneezing, coughing or touching surfaces that have been sneezed or coughed on and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose. Be diligent with the soap, especially during flu season.
- Eat Whole Foods. Whole foods are loaded with nutrients the body needs to stay healthy while most processed foods are just empty calories that end up putting extra strain on the body as it tries to process them. Most of the immune system resides in the gut, and whole foods will help keep everything in perfect working order. Things like processed packaged foods, sugar and gluten tend to junk up the system.
- Have Some Garlic. Garlic will not only keep vampires away, it also contains antibacterial properties that helps fight off germs. It works best when it’s raw, so add some minced garlic to your meal after it’s been cooked or add it to dressings and dips.
- Try Ginger. Ginger contains both anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties and it helps reduce mucus in the body. It’s also wonderful for the digestive system. Add fresh grated ginger along with some lemon to tea for a warming and immune boosting drink.
- Boost Your Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and helps boost the immune system. It works best when found in whole foods, as supplementing too much C can cause digestive problems. Make sure your meals contain foods that are high in Vitamin C such as kale, collard greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, lemons and oranges.
- Zinc. Research has shown that taking zinc can help reduce the duration of a cold as well as reduce the number of colds caught in a year. It may also stop the cold virus from lodging in the mucous membranes of the throat and nose. I recommend taking a high quality zinc supplement – not the cheap over the counter drugstore cold remedy.
- Make Miso Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms. Miso has been a staple in Chinese and Japanese diets for thousands of years. It helps with detoxification and digestion and it boosts the immune system do to it’s live enzymes. Shiitake mushrooms also contain immune boosting properties and have been shown to help the body fight off disease and infection. Combine the two and fight the flu with a delicious soup.
- Essential Oils. I’m a big fan of Young Living essential oils, and their Thieves blend was created based on research about four thieves in France who covered themselves with cloves and rosemary to stay healthy while robbing plague victims. It is formulated to support the immune system and is available as an oil, cleaner, hand sanitizer and soap. I also like oregano, which has antibiotic, anti-infectious, anti-viral and antiseptic properties, and R.C. and Breath Again which both contain eucalyptus which helps open the sinuses and bronchial passages.
If you do find yourself with the flu and your symptoms worsen, please see your doctor!