Tips to Boost Immunity and Ward Off Colds and Flus
You’ve likely heard the news: this year’s flu season is bad. In fact, it’s one of the worst on record. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently noted that for the first time there is widespread flu activity across the entire continental U.S Part of the problem? The flu shot doesn’t include the strain that affecting people in 90% of cases. So aside from a flu shot that may or not work, how else can you arm yourself? Here are some tips and products to help keep your immunity on track.
Here are some tips and products to keep on track.
- Eat your fruits and veggies. When we don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, we miss essential vitamins and minerals, which in turn compromises our immune system. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 76% of us don’t eat enough fruit and 87% of adults don’t eat enough veggies.
Try: Eating more salads, slice up pineapple, kiwi or an apple with nut butter, and keep oranges on hand to munch on for snacks.
2. Cut back on sugar. We know you’ve heard about the downsides of sugar. Notably, sugar can suppress the body’s immune response. In fact, it can hinder the effectiveness of your white blood cells to fight bacteria for up to 4–6 hours. This is because sugar cells actually resemble the cell structure of Vitamin C. White blood cells rely on Vitamin C to help fight bacteria. But when sugar is present, white blood cells can mistake sugar molecules for Vitamin C cells. When this happens, the cold fighting capabilities of white blood cells are diminished. So definitely avoid sugar if you’re starting to feel run down.
Try: Eat more salads, legumes and vegetables. Keep your eye on the ingredient panel for sugar content
3. Antioxidants. Think of antioxidants as your cold and flu fighting super heroes. They help to fight off free radicals, which are pesky molecules that like to wreak havoc on the immune system. Left to their own devices free radicals can create a pathway to disease, including colds and flu. Beyond fruits and veggies some plant-derived herbs, spices and essential oils are high in antioxidant compounds, too.
Try: Berries, citrus, leafy greens, olives, gogi berries, kidney beans, pecans or Wedderspoon Manuka Honey K12, Host Defense Mycoshield Cinnamon, Gaia Herbs Turmeric Immune ASAP, Lucky’s Market Oregano Oil Veggie Caps.
4. Vitamin C. Yes, your mom told you to take Vitamin C and, she was right. Vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system because of its antioxidant properties. And white blood cells actually rely on Vitamin C molecules to help fight bacteria. Even if you get a cold, don’t stop taking Vitamin C. It’s a good ally in helping to reduce the length and intensity of symptoms should you catch a cold.
Try: Mandarin and sumo oranges are easy to peel and easy to eat on the go and full of Vitamin C.
5. Sleep and mind your stress. Sleep is one of the pillars of health if we don’t get enough it compromises our immune system and accelerates our stress. Likewise, stress left unchecked can hinder our immune system and lead to larger health challenges. So make sure you get your recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, and fit in some exercise or meditation to keep calm and healthy.
Try: Adaptogens are plants that help you adapt to physical and mental stress, these include ginseng, maca, ashwagandha and mushrooms. Gaia Herbs Mushroom Immune or Lucky’s Market Ginger Zinger Immune Syrup.
6. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: When our cells are well hydrated they are better able to absorb water-soluble nutrients such as vitamins C and B. These nutrients help cells function while also boosting our immune system. To figure out how much fluid you need on a daily basis, divide your weight in pounds in half. This number will be your daily ounces requirement. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, then you need to drink 80 ounces of water a day or 10 cups. If you plan on being active, then you need to up this amount.
Try: When water gets boring try making flavored water with citrus and mint or coconut water with a splash of orange juice.