20 Dec Kicking the Flu
Whether in the store or the library, you hear the sounds of sniffles and coughs resonating in the background. When the flu shows its true colours it’s time to consider simple alternative ways to combat this bug and keep it at bay every season.
- Avoid Sugar – simple sugars and refined carbohydrates contain zero nutritional value and have been shown to depress immune function for up to 5 hours. Never consume sugar when you are fighting a cold or the flu.
- Healthy Bacteria – consuming bacteria that are indigenous and helpful to the intestinal tract will aid in infection. The indigenous bacteria compete with the pathogens for food and space, robbing them of sustenance. Sources: live culture yogurt, miso paste, unsalted and raw sauerkraut, supplemental Acidophilus/Bifidobacter strains.
- Eat more greens – chlorophyll promotes the growth of beneficial intestinal microflora, vital for healthy mucous membranes. Sources: collard greens, kale, watercress, Swiss chard, romaine, parsley, dandelion greens, wheat grass and barley grass.
- Orange and other coloured vegetables – like sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin and squash are a good source of vitamin A an important anti-oxidant that helps to regulate the immune system and help the body’s white blood cells fight infections.
- Kiwi fruit, blueberries, parsley, celery, red peppers are great sources of vitamin C. As an antioxidant, Vitamin C ensures that immune system components work efficiently.
- Whole grains and legumes –are filled with minerals and nutrients such as zinc and selenium which act in immune cell formation and as antioxidants respectively.
- Garlic and Ginger – antibacterial and antiviral actions, the more the better. Add fresh garlic to a tablespoon of manuka honey, add some lemon juice and enjoy.
- Shiitake and Miitake mushrooms – increase immune cell activity, add to soups or steam with veggies.
- Stay hydrated – water is the basis of the mucous your membranes use to trap microbes, it also supplies you with fluid needed to eliminate bacteria.
- Get adequate sleep – you know your body. If 9 hours is what you need then make room for that. You’ll be surprised how much more energy you have from good daily sleeping habits rather than always playing catch-up on weekends. Sleep is also one of the only times we’re not digesting so your body is able to invest more energy to other physiological systems like the immune system for repair and replenishment.
Don’t forget to move – aside from those great “feel good” endorphins it releases, regular moderate physical activity also enhances immune responses, reducing susceptibility to infective microbes.