Stay Healthy and Avoid The Flu With These Tips
Hard to believe today's the start of fall.
The weather doesn’t really seem autumnal (that’s a fun word to use) but calendars don’t lie.
As fall approaches and the weather turns colder, the occurrences of colds and various flu viruses will start to climb.
Every single year when this happens I get patients asking me what they should do to stay healthy.
Our body has over 1 trillion cells in it, many of which have the singular purpose of keeping harmful pathogens like the flu virus from ever harming us.
Typically, those who actually get sick from the flu are those with compromised immune systems. So anything you can do to improve immune health moves gets you in a better position to fight the flu.
In this article, I’ll show you some of the most effective ways to keep your immune system healthy and block the flu virus in the process.
5 Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System And Fight the Flu
1 - Take vitamin D-3: Vitamin D is absolutely essential for immune function. Part of the reason people get sick with the flu is because vitamin D-3 is created in the skin by direct exposure to sunlight.
As fall and winter set in, the amount of time we spend in the sun decreases. The result is less than desirable levels of vitamin D-3, which as you might guess, leads to a weakened immune system.
For this reason, supplementing with vitamin D-3 is an absolute must. Specifically, vitamin D-3 helps your body to produce a certain kind of virus-killing cell called CD8 T. This is the same virus-killing cell some of the newer vaccines attempt to stimulate.
But you don’t need a vaccine to produce more CD8 T cells. And that’s just one thing vitamin D-3 does. In addition to stimulating CD8 T production, vitamin D-3 creates a staggering 200-300 virus-killing peptides that keep your immune system firing on all cylinders.
Here's the vitamin D-3 I recommend.
2 - Fix your gut: The link between a healthy gut and a strong immune system is undeniable.
And when it comes to giving your body the upper hand over things like the flu virus, the more you do to change gut health the better.
Here are 3 of the most powerful ways to create a stronger gut.
--- Take probiotics: Probiotics (healthy bacteria) are essential for digesting food. They’re also essential for helping remove bad gut bacteria known to cause inflammation and wreak havoc on your immune system.
Here's the custom probiotic blend I helped create and recommend.
--- Get rid of inflammatory foods: This is a hard one to do but pays massive dividends when it comes to gut health. Foods like gluten, dairy, soy, legumes, sugars all lead to inflammation. In the long term, inflammation may to an over-excited immune response. Yet in the short term it suppresses immune function which may make you sick.
--- Eat high-fiber foods: People think fiber’s only good for helping you poop. Definitely true, but fiber’s also essential for a healthy immune system. Animal studies have shown ingesting healthy fiber makes for a healthier immune system.
3 - Sleep more / stress less: When winter comes around, you should be sleeping longer. Not only does your body demand it...the natural fluctuation in seasonally available light supports it.
Sleeping 7+ hours is a great way to maintain a healthy immune system.
Also important are creating processes to reduce stress. Extended exposure to internal and external stress creates an imbalance in hormone levels which may lead to a suppressed immune response.
As Dr. Mercola writes:
“When researchers from Carnegie Mellon University infected study participants with a common cold virus, those who had reported being under stress were twice as likely to get sick
Chronic stress also exerts a powerful negative influence on your epigenetic health, turning on and off the expression of genes that directly influence your likelihood of getting sick. Using techniques like energy psychology, you can correct the emotional short-circuiting that contributes to your chronic stress, which helps to optimize your genetic expression. My favorite technique for this is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), but there are many others, such as yoga, journaling and prayer.”
4 - Work out: Another unfortunate side effect associated with the shorter and colder days in the fall and winter is that people work out less.
Exercise has been proven over and over again to be vital to helping maintain a healthy immune system. In the winter months, it’s even more important to exercise since the chances you’ll be exposed to the flu and other pathogens increases significantly.
The reason exercise helps out so much is because it helps to activate the production of a certain kind of virus-killing white blood cell.
Studies show your decision to continue exercising (working out 3-4 times a week for 1 hr+) will reduce your chances of developing a cold or flu by 50%. And if you do get a flu or cold, exercise will also help you recover faster and suffer less.
The same study said the severity of colds and flus was cut by 31% for people who exercised. The researchers theorize exercise helps boost the body’s ability to naturally circulate antibodies around the body.
5 - Use Natural Immune-Boosters: There are a number of natural substances you can include in your diet and use around the home that’ll help keep viruses at bay while also improving your immune health.
Herbs and spices like ginger, oregano, turmeric, garlic and others have naturally occurring substances in them which have been shown to help improve immune health.
Plus, some of these can be used to decontaminate your home. For instance, essential oils like oregano and thyme contain compounds like carvacrol and thymol which will kill viruses on contact (not for internal use).
Used around the home, they’re great for keeping germs and viruses from ever infecting you.