Flu Season Natural Remedies
The flu season is upon us and one way to avoid it, is by having a stronger immune system. By following these steps you can build a stronger immune system and also maintain it through out the year!
How to Strengthen & Boost the Immune System Naturally
- Vitamin D3- This natural vitamin is made in our skin though the sun’s UVB rays. Most people don't get enough vitamin D3 as they wear SPF at all times when outdoors. Studies show that 50-75% of population are now deficient in this important vitamin. Vitamin D3 plays an important role in strengthening the immune system and also very important for bone density. Fatty fish such as wild salmon provide some D3, but the best way to get D3 is through the sun rays. Supplementing with D3 during the winter, darker months, when the sun rays are not as strong is best, especially if you always wear SPF and don't get outside much. The safe way of taking vitamin D3 is by getting a lab test on your D3 levels and receiving the right daily dosage for it.
- Hydration- Our body is 75% water and the brain is 80% water. We need to drink about half of our body's weight in ounces water daily. One simple way to keep track with water consumption is to have a reusable water bottle handy and refill it as many times needed to reach your daily water intake.
- Exercise- Physical activity helps to keep the body in shape, lowers blood pressure, moves the lymphatic system, helps release the hormone serotonin, and also strengthens the immune system. Focus on getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity, 5 times per week. Exercises such as running, yoga, dancing speed up the heart rate, boost the immune system and also promote reducing the bad cholesterol (LDL) and increasing the good (HDL).
- Vitamin C- Its easy to get this vitamin from eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Citrus fruits and most colorful vegetables provide the daily recommendation for vitamin C. Vitamin C can help shorten the duration of colds and flus and its also an important antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body. Fruits such as lemons, oranges, strawberries, mango, kiwi, apricots, grapefruits and vegetables such as red bell peppers, brussels sprouts, okra, broccoli, kale and tomatoes are full of vitamin C. Focus on getting these fruits and veggies daily for breakfast in smoothies and at lunch and dinner as a side dish or in salads.
- Probiotics- These good bacteria live inside our gut. Sometimes they decrease due to intake of medications, poor diet, stress and other health issues. Having a low count of good bacteria in the gut will promote an unhealthy gut environment, which is conducive for getting colds and the flu. Take probiotics after taking medication such as antibiotics and also try fermented foods and beverages that naturally have probiotics, such as kombucha tea, tempeh, miso, pickled veggies and sauerkraut. I don't recommend taking dairy (yogurt, milk or keifr) during colds/flus as it cause more mucus build up and can increase symptoms.
- Greens- Dark, leafy greens are full of nutrients and minerals that support the immune system. Try dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, swiss chard and dandelion in smoothies, juices, salads and side dishes for an extra boost. Also nutrient dense foods such as spirulina, chlorella, and wheat grass are great remedies to take during flu season and easy to add into smoothies daily.
- Sleep- Make sure to get your beauty sleep as nothing boosts the immune system better than catching up on the Zzz. It's recommended to get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. During sleep our body rests and repairs itself from the day prior.
- B Complex- When looking for an energy boost, ditch the caffeine and instead supplement with a high quality B complex (B1-B12) such as Premier Research Labs or Natural Standard. The body uses b vitamins for cellular metabolism, which are vital for all of our life functions. These vitamins are water soluble and will be excreted if taken in excess. Its best to take the correct dosage as taking excess B vitamins can aggravate any pre-existing liver/kidney conditions.