Cold and Flu – More Help

Cold and Flu – More Help

In my last blog, I talked about the real cause of colds and flu – and my #1 preventative, taking vitamin D.  The bottom line is that you need to strengthen your immunity during this time of increased incidence of cold and flu. Knowing both the contributors of a weakened immune system and ways to build a stronger immune system is your first step.

Limit your intake of sugar, grains and processed foods

Cold and flu prevention does start with what you eat.  Sugar, grains and processed foods are pro-inflammatory substances that stresses rather than nourish your body.  If you want to indulge in sweets, try small doses of dark chocolate, which is actually anti-inflammatory.  Dark chocolate with almonds is an even better choice, as the protein and good fat in the almonds will help minimize any blood sugar spike.

Organic-fruits-and-vegetablesEat food that encourage immune functioning

Boost your immune functioning by including plenty of the following in your diet:  organic fruits and vegetables, fermented foods (such as kimchee or sauerkraut), coconut oil, fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids and grass fed meat.  Consider adding immune-boosting spices to your cooking or take them as a supplement.  Garlic, turmeric, oregano, clove and cinnamon are good options.

Consider supplementing with vitamins

I like C, D, a multivitamin, magnesium, omega 3s and probiotics.  Remember that a huge part of your immunes system resides in the gut.  Support the healthy bacteria in the gut with probiotics, as well as fermented food.

Drink plenty of water

Many people don’t even realize the value of drinking enough water during cold and flu season.  A quick way to estimate how much water you need is to divide your weight in half.  That number is AT LEAST what your body needs in ounces of water daily.  Technically, you should drink 2/3 of your body weight in ounces of water.

Allow your body to rest

Take time to restore and recover daily.  Be sure to get enough sleep and simply have enough downtime in your daily routine to allow your body to rebound from its busy schedule.

Keep up with exercise

Dr. Sharman getting her exercise - even during a cold and flu season...and a lot of snow!
Dr. Sharman getting her exercise – even during a cold and flu season…and a lot of snow!

Exercise can boost the immune system…and of course makes you simply feel good about yourself!  Just make sure you aren’t overdoing it to the point where you are stressing the body, which of course would suppress the immune system.

Manage your mental and emotional stress

Through giving yourself downtime, not overcommitting, being grateful, thinking positively and taking quiet time, you can keep stress minimized.   If you have the time to have some fun, then by all means, have some fun too!  “Fun” activities are a great counterbalance to daily stress – and give you something to look forward to.

Hand washing

It’s obvious but don’t forget to do it…and often.  Practice proper hand washing regularly, but know that even with hand washing, there is no doubt that you will still be exposed to the cold and flu.

If all else fails and you do get sick, remember to be kind to yourself and rest.  You may find that if you take action as soon as you get an inkling of coming down with something, you may actually prevent yourself from fully expressing the emerging illness.  In some cases where people are immune-compromised or in poor health, they may need to seek medical attention if the cold or flu progresses into bronchitis or pneumonia.

Practice good health – and hopefully this year’s cold and flu season won’t slow you down!

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