As cold and flu season approaches many people are standing in line for their flu shots. Besides containing mercury which is a known toxin, flu shots are proven to be highly ineffective. There are many things you can do to help protect yourself against the flu naturally. Our immune system can be very effective at fighting off infection, when fully supported.
1. Get enough sleep- Sleep is important in many of your bodily functions but it particularly important for your immune system. This is the time when your body, including your immune system rests and repairs itself. Sleep deprivation can also lead to increase stress, anxiety, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. There is a wide variety of sleep time that is considered “normal”. Everyone is different, however the average amount of sleep one needs per night is approximately 7.5 hours.
2. Chiropractic Care– In a study done by Ronald Pero, Ph.D., chief of cancer prevention research at New York’s Preventive Medicine Institute and professor of medicine at New York University, chiropractic care was shown to increase a person’s immune system by 200%! Chiropractic adjustments make sure the body is functioning optimally and that includes the immune system
3. Exercise– Regular physical activity not only strengthens your heart, bones and lungs but also strengthens your immune system. Regular, moderately intense exercise increases your body’s oxygen levels, which help to enhance your disease fighting capabilities. All you need is 30 minutes per day of brisk walking, swimming or an activity with similar intensity.
4. Proper nutrition– It is important to eat a wide variety of food and nutrients. Anti-oxidants, which are found in fruits and vegetables, are involved in the prevention of cell damage, which can lead to aging, cancer and other diseases. Omega- 3’s are important because they reduce inflammation and have cardiovascular and immune enhancing properties. Omega 3’s can be found in cold water fish, walnuts, ground flax seed and cruciferous vegetables. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts and beans are the most beneficial in consuming a healthy diet.
5. Wash your hands– I am sure you have heard this time and time again, but washing your hands is one of the best and most effective ways to prevent colds and other illnesses no matter what time of year.
6. Cover your mouth– cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow instead of into your hand. This reduces the likelihood of transmitting your germs to surfaces you may touch.
7. Avoid pro-inflammatory substances– things like sugar, alcohol and tobacco can all promote inflammation in the body. This inflammatory process decreases the immune system’s ability to fight off infection.
8. Limit Stress or find ways to de-stress– Stress is a necessary part of life and impossible to completely avoid but it is important that everyone has ways of dealing with stress so it doesn’t overwhelm you. Stress is another factor that can limit the immune system’s ability to respond.
9. Optimize your vitamin D levels– Vitamin D plays a role in how our immune system works. Researchers believe many people today are deficient in vitamin D, especially people in northern latitudes where there is not as much sun. Your body can make vitamin D with just 15 minutes of sunlight per day, however, this is hard to achieve for many people living in the north. To help fight of infection, try taking 1000-2000 IU per day of vitamin D.
10. Support your intestinal flora– It may seem strange to look to the digestive tract to prevent respiratory illness, but when you realize that much of chronic inflammation starts in the gut, it makes sense. One very simple way to support immunity is to maintain your microfloral balance through probiotics. Studies show that regular, long-term use of probiotic formulas reduces incidence, severity, and duration of respiratory tract illnesses and symptoms, including viral influenza infections.
By incorporating some of these tips into your life can you help reduce your incidence of colds and flus this winter.