4 Natural Ways to Prevent the Flu
I decided this some time in the fall of the late ’70’s after yet another bout with the flu; she wouldn’t take me to the doctor like my friends’ mothers did for them. As I lay writhing with my fever, she rambled on about this “building my immune system naturally” nonsense…..
Fast forward a bit; flu season in full swing, and I have a tough time driving more than a couple of miles without passing a billboard promoting flu shots.
Two of the ways we’ll focus on avoiding the flu, deal with our body’s incredibly powerful immune system. In order to fully understand the tips, you must know this: YOU ARE SURROUNDED BY GERMS. The breath you just took a few seconds ago–lots of germs. The food you ate this morning–lots of germs. Going to be in the same room as someone else today for more than a minute? You’ll exchange some germs. No matter what you do, there’s no getting around it, germs are EVERYWHERE. They’ve been there every day of your life, and will be there after you’re gone. So why are some people chronically sick, while others quite healthy?
*ENTER THE IMMUNE SYSTEM*
Our immune system is an incredibly powerful defense against the various pathogens (germs) that attack our bodies. When working properly, it’s capable of overwhelming the flu prior to any noticeable symptoms. However, when our immune system’s working poorly, it’s much less capable of protecting us. Of the tips below, three of them have a DRAMATIC effect on strengthening our immune system.
I want to interject that I sometimes read various tips from other websites, and I sort of don’t believe them…. However, about what’s listed below, is that this stuff works. Do it, and you’ll DRASTICALLY cut down your chance of getting the flu.
So, what are the four tips, then?
#1. Avoid Sugar/Sugary foods.
This includes Soda, Chocolate, Frappucinos, a Jolly Rancher candy from your friend, and yes, even a teaspoon of honey in your tea. ANYTHING with sugar suppresses your immune system. Sugar promotes inflammation in our bodies, and although more research is still being conducted regarding sugar’s impact, there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence suggesting sugar be avoided.
#2. Supplement with Vitamin D3.
In their study, Aloila, Li-ng (2007), found an epidemic of vitamin D insufficiency in the U.S. They also concluded that the lack of Vitamin D in the winter may be a reason for the increased rates of influenza. According to Cannell, Azsloff, Garland, Scragg, and Giovannucci (2008), vitamin D has been shown to have a profound effect on our innate immunity.
If you think about it this way, in the summer, many of us bake in the sun, and our bodies make tons of vitamin D. Fall comes, we get fully clothed, the sun goes down earlier in the day, we stop making vitamin D, our immune systems go down, and we get the flu. Although 600 IU’s has been considered to be the recommended adult daily allowance for a long time, there are increasing amounts of evidence that suggest closer to 2000 IU’s per day for optimum immune function.
#3. Wash your hands frequently around sick people.
Yes, I realize a few paragraphs back, the statements about how germs are all around us. That’s still very true. However, one consideration is the concept of “load”. It is easier for our immune systems to fight the amount of germs that we normally contact versus a great deal more that we encounter when approaching someone who is sick. If you’re not by a sink, hand sanitizers can work well, too.
#4. Supplement with Vitamin C.
There are many studies that support the how drastically vitamin C strengthens the immune system, and it’s a relatively inexpensive to get. The current RDA is considered to be 75-90mg per day for adults, but many sources recommend at least 500 mg per day as a good baseline for optimum immune function.
*Please note that if you’re already noticing flu-like symptoms, these tips will do little to prevent it from happening. If they are to work, they must be done ahead of time, as it takes time to build up your body’s defense mechanism. However, they do work, and they work great.
Until next time, wishing you abundant health, and awesome fitness :)
PS: Since the 70’s, I’ve had the flu only a small amount of times, and it’s usually resolved very quickly….. I’m eternally grateful to my mother :)
Oh yea, for how to permanently lose weight, click here.
Epidemiology and Infection, October 2007, Vol. 135, No. 7, Pages 1095-1098.
Virology Journal, February 25, 2008, Volume 5.