As we get deeper into the flu season this year, I wanted to share some things you can do to boost your immune system so you can minimize or avoid getting the crud altogether. I talked with a couple of my doctor friends, and here are some of their suggestions that will help us stay healthy.
Most of us think about eating citrus fruits such as oranges to get a boost, but there are lots of other choices out there as well. The next time you go to the market, fill your cart with kiwis, guavas, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, papayas, cantaloupes, and strawberries. Eating more plants and less processed foods will make your body happy.
My doc suggests taking approximately 2,000 mg of Vitamin C a day. You'll know you've taken too much when your stool becomes loose. Packaged sources are products like Emergen-C and Airborne which can give you an additional boost.
Vitamin D aids in calcium absorption and helps out the immune, digestive, nervous, and circulatory systems. There are several ways you can get Vitamin D into your body:
*Soak up the sun (without sunscreen) for 10-15 minutes a day, putting your arms, legs, torso, and back in the golden rays.
*Eat fatty fish like salmon.
*Chow down on mushrooms (fun fact: did you know that you can put mushrooms in the sun and they'll absorb the Vitamin D as well? How cool is that?!)
*Take a supplement. Before you begin taking a large dosage, it's best to get your blood levels checked to see how much Vitamin D you already have in your system. When I first had mine checked, I was severely low. I take big doses now (because it's appropriate and I'm under a doctor's care), and it's changed my life. When buying a D3/K2 combo, find one that has at least 1,000 IU's of D Vitamin in it. My doc recommends at least 5,000 IU's a day during flu season, but, again, get your levels checked first. And be sure to get the D3/K2 combo, because Vitamin K helps the body absorb the Vitamin D.
Having a healthy gut, with lots of good bacteria, is crucial for germ destruction. It also helps with improved digestion, healthier skin, and weight loss.
Probiotics are a type of friendly bacteria that aid in good gut health, and there are many ways you can introduce those little soldiers into your system:
*Yogurt and kefir, especially plain, without sugar. The sugar does more harm than good when you're trying to boost your immune system.
*Saurkraut, kimchi, kombucha, pickles, and other fermented foods (of which yogurt and kefir also are).
*Store-bought probiotics (the good ones are usually the kind you need to keep refrigerated). There are few types that will help here: saccharomyces boulardii, which is essentially a probiotic yeast, and then a bacterial probiotic, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus.
This is a specific supplement from a company called Metagenics (of which I am a huge fan). It's an herbal blend that is derived from a traditional Chinese medicine formulation. In high flu times like these, you can take it daily -- or for sure begin taking it on the very first sign of being sick.
If you're interested in getting this supplement, you can use this link to get a discount: JRockenmacher.metagenics.com. I got this link from my chiropractor so we can all get the discount. Metagenics also sells other supplements, and you'll get the discount on those as well if you want to order through the site using this link.
Drink. More. Water. Lots more. So much that you feel like a fish.
That's it, the end.
If only it were that easy, right? But what if I told you that it *can* be?
Here are some ways to do that:
*Yoga -- Are you surprised by this suggestion? Think about how relaxed you feel after class, how you connect to your breath, how you chill out. This is so good for you. Come and take class (at the appropriate level for you, please!), and then drink water afterwards.
*Meditation -- Just sit down, set your timer on your phone for 10 minutes, and breathe. If you can focus on your breath, great. If you can think of your happy place during that time, fantastic. But just hit the pause button of life daily so you can stay healthy.
*Get some movement every day -- Walking, dancing, gardening, jogging, hula hooping. Whatever your pleasure, whatever is actually fun, go do it. Bonus points if your heart pounds a little faster as you're doing it, and double extra points if you do it for at least 30 minutes.
Elderberries to the rescue!
AKA Sambucus Nigra, this little berry will set you on the path to wellness in no time. You'll find it in the stores listed as Sambucol, Black Elberberry, and a few other options, but they're all basically the same. Taken in gummy form, as a syrup, or tea, I can't emphasize how incredible this berry is. And oftentimes pricey, too, if you buy the syrup at the store. If you can find them in stock, order the dried berries online (organic is always best), then make your own teas and syrups (there are lots of recipes available on the web). If you can't find any berries in stock, then just grab an elderberry product from your local health food store. Keep in mind that elderberries may not be appropriate if you're pregnant, nursing, or on blood thinners, so check with your medical provider first.
I am not a doctor. I've talked with two of my friends who are, and these suggestions are based on my discussions with them. But, that being said, you definitely need to consult with your own doc to see if these options are appropriate for your body's specific needs (especially when it comes to adding supplements and herbs into your wellness routine). As with a yoga practice, healthcare is not a one-size-fits-all system, so do your research, listen to your body, and stay well!