When it comes to cold and flu season, prevention really is the first line of defense.
To keep your body’s defense system–the immune system–in peak condition, follow these immunity-boosting tips to help your body fight off the bugs looking for a host. And, for times when you are feeling ill, the second set of tips can help ease your symptoms and support a quick recovery.
Your immune system is at work 24/7! The best approach to supporting immune function is a healthy lifestyle that includes stress management, exercise, whole foods, nutritional supplementation, and the use of plant-based medicines. On a daily basis, you can take the following steps to help your immune system keep you healthy:
- Wash your hands regularly to help prevent transfer of bacteria. But avoid “anti-bacterial” soaps! They contain harmful chemicals. I like Clean Well products that are chemical free and work like a charm.
- Stay clear of people sneezing or coughing. Avoid shaking hands or other close contact with anyone whom you know to be sick.
- Make sure your home and work space are well-ventilated. Even on a cold day, open a window for a few minutes to clear out stale air.
- Follow a consistent sleep/wake schedule so the immune system can repair and recover.
- Drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits and veggies, which contain antioxidants that help the body neutralize cellular damage.
- Rest. Sometimes the body’s only way of getting your attention is to force you to slow down by getting sick. Don’t push through fatigue. Honor your body and sleep/rest as needed to promote healing. Reduce activity at home and at work as much as possible.
- Increase fluid intake to include water, diluted vegetable juices, soups, and herbal and green teas. If you’re saying “Ugh, I hate water” then try adding flavor to it with Sweet Leaf Water Drops.
- Eat light meals and eat more soup. Whether you choose a vegetarian broth or a heartier bone-broth, soups for healing should be loaded with a variety of herbs and veggies.
- Manage stress. Even just 10 minutes of meditation a day has positive effects on the immune system and promotes a positive mindset.
- Laugh–it truly is good medicine. Patch Adams was onto something when he brought humor to his patients’ bedsides. Read a funny book. Watch stand-up comedy. Share jokes with a friend or your kids. Laughter lowers the stress hormones and elevates your mood–both are good for healing.
Vitamin, Mineral & Botanical Support for the Immune System
There’s no panacea, but a growing body of research has shown that certain vitamins, minerals, and plant-based supplements can help prevent/curtail the symptoms of colds and flu. Some that you may want to include are listed below.
Multivitamin and mineral formula
Bioflavonoids, 1000 mg/day
Vitamin D, 5000 IU/day
Zinc, 30 mg/day
Echinacea, elderberry, and astragalus (tea, capsule, or liquid extract) help prevent common cold and viral infections. Physician-scientists continue to study the immune-enhancing effects of these and other botanical remedies.
Visit my Cold & Flu section of my store. And for a 20% Discount use coupon code cold. Good through October 15, 2015
- Balaji, P. A., S. R. Varne, and S. S. Ali. “Physiological Effects of Yogic Practices and Transcendental Meditation in Health and Disease.” North American Journal of Medical Sciences 4, no. 10 (October 2012): 442–448. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3482773/
- Besedovsky, L., T. Lange, and J. Born. “Sleep and Immune Function.” Pflügers Archiv European Journal of Physiology 463, no. 1 (January 2012):121-137. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00424-011-1044-0
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “What You Should Know for the 2015-2016 Influenza Season.” Accessed July 2015. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2015-2016.htm
- Kachko, R. “A Pillar of Optimal Health: The Immune System.” American Association of Naturopathic Physicians website. April 14, 2015. http://www.naturopathic.org/article_content.asp?article=1010
- MacDonald, C.M. “A Chuckle a Day Keeps the Doctor Away: Therapeutic Humor and Laughter.” Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services 42, no. 3 (March 2004):18-25.
- Gaby, A. (2011). Nutritional medicine. Concord, N.H: Fritz Perlberg Publishing.
- MedlinePlus. “Chicken Soup and Sickness.” Accessed July 2015. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002067.htm
- Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. “Natural Medicines in the Clinical Management of Colds and Flu.” Accessed July 2015.http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/ce/ceCourse.aspx?s=ND&cs=&pc=12%2D108&cec=1&pm=5
- Pizzorno, J. E. and M.T. Murray, eds. Textbook of Natural Medicine. 4th ed. St. Louis: Elsevier Science, 2013. 516-524 http://www.rhc.ac.ir/Files/Download/pdf/nursingbooks/Textbook%20of%20Natural%20Medicine-2013-cd.pdf