he cold and flu season is looming upon us, and has already started for some. But you don’t have to feel like a sitting duck, there are some natural ways to boost immunity and prevent colds and flu (that don’t involve getting a shot)!
As the expression goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Here are some tips to help you stay a step ahead of colds and flu this year.
8 Natural Cold & Flu Prevention Tips
1. Call in the Troops!
Our bodies are teeming with bacteria, in fact, according to scientists, we have 10 times more bacterial cells than human cells! And it is important for us to remember that some of those bacteria are the “good guys,” which are important not only for our digestion, but also for our immune system, and even our mental health. Studies show that probiotics are a very powerful tool in the fight against infection. So if you want to boost your immune system, increase the good bacteria in your gut. According to this article, “a healthy lower intestine should contain at least 85% friendly bacteria to prevent the over-colonization of microorganisms like E. coli and salmonella. Replenishing the healthy bacteria in our gut is especially important after a course of antibiotics – critical really – because they wipe out ALL the bacteria – good and bad. So although antibiotics can help to get rid of an infection like strep throat, they can leave your immune system vulnerable to future infections. Read The Importance of Good Bacteria to learn more.
2. Wash Up!
Whenever you put a bunch of kids together in a room, you increase the chances that viruses and bacteria can spread. One of the best ways to prevent germs spreading around is to simply wash them off! Do your kids do the ‘quick rinse’ in the sink without soap? I know a lot of kids do – they are far too busy to wash with soap. But a quick rinse with water might not get all the germs off. So hands should be washed with soap and water after using the bathroom, before eating, and after handling things in public places (ie: playground, museums, grocery stores, health clubs). But just say no to the antibacterial soaps! Studies show that use of the anti-bacterial agent Tricolsan (found in many antibacterial soaps, gels, and wipes) could be creating resistant strains of bacteria. So don’t forget to wash hands, but stick with regular soap.
3. Get Your Sunshine Vitamin
Vitamin D is not really a vitamin, but a pre-hormone produced in the skin after exposure to the sun’s UVB rays. So vitamin D levels typically drop in the Fall/Winter months when we get less sun exposure. A study published in 2009 in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that 70% – 97% of Americans have insufficient blood levels of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is known for it’s role in building strong bones, but it also plays a significant role in our immunity. Some research shows that vitamin D is more effective in preventing the flu than a flu shot. So the Fall is a good time to supplement with vitamin D3. To learn more, read: Immune System Superstar-Vitamin D, and Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?
4. Get Some Natural Vitamin C
Ever since Nobel prize-winning scientist Linus Pauling wrote the book Vitamin C and the Common Cold in 1970, the debate about whether or not it can help prevent the common cold has raged on with billions of active strains.
2. Take some natural antibacterials – load up on the garlic and oregano. Oregano oil is a powerful antiviral and antibacterial – if you catch it early enough, it can really nip a cold in the bud! I also like to take Immune Shield from Sun Warrior. Immune Shield contains ionic liquid silver and gold in a fulvic acid base. Silver is also a very effective natural anti-bacterial. If you catch it at the early stage – taking natural anti-bacterials can help to prevent a virus from taking hold, or progressing into a more serious infection.
3. Take a homeopathic cold remedy. These will help to manage the pain and inflammation, and help to drain the mucous membranes. Some can be found over the counter at your local health food store (such as UMCKA Cold+Flu, or Boiron ColdCalm), or look for a practitioner that offers homeopathic remedies. Start these at the first sign for best results.
4. Boost the Vitamin D, zinc, and natural Vitamin C. To get my vitamin C, I like to stir some camu camu powder into water or my smoothie, it is the best food source of vitamin C!
5. Make a big batch of chicken soup, or buy some organic chicken bone broth!!
6. Take some olive leaf extract. Great for prevention of colds and flu this time of year, Olive leaf is a powerful antioxidant immune support with an ORAC score of 7608. The use of olive leaf extract to support health dates back to ancient Egypt. You can buy liquid, capsules, and even a throat spray – which is great at the first signs of a sore throat, often the early stage of a cold or flu.
Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, whose book The Perfect Metabolism Plan (Red Wheel/Conari Press) will be hitting book shelves Spring of 2015. You can download her Cooking with Superfoods eBooklet now for free. A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, Sara used to be a sugar junkie too. She offers consultations, corporate nutrition, monthly cooking classes, and affordable online programs.
©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.
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