Now that we’re deep in the heart of cold and flu season, I wanted to look at some ways to keep our families healthier this fall and winter. I had some help from a local and highly recommended Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Todd Ferguson, to compile this list. As always, talk to your doctor if you are at risk from complications from flu.
- Wash your hands. Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, which can introduce germs into your receptive passageways. If you cough or sneeze, use a tissue or cough into the crook of your arm. This is probably both the easiest and the most important thing to do to keep your body healthy. Make it a habit in your young children and it will help them keep healthier immune systems throughout their lives.
- Eat immune boosting foods and avoid sugar. Here are great examples:
Citrus: Loaded with Vitamin C, citrus fruits are a yummy, easy way to support your immune system. Grab a glass of OJ, or make some lemonade. Even better, mix lots of lemons into filtered water with raw honey and cayenne pepper. Not only is it a zingy tasty treat filled with Vitamin C, it also alkalinizes your body, which helps it fight infection.
Red chili peppers (cayenne): Cayenne pepper has long been appreciated for its medicinal properties and can help your body during states of emergency.
Garlic: Filled with immune-boosters, garlic has been used to treat everything from the common cold to the Plague.
Carrots: Bursting with beta-carotene, carrots give your body a leg up when you’re fighting infection. Drink a few carrot juices to get enough in your body. Sweet potatoes and spinach also contain lots of beta carotene, so eat up.
Shiitake mushrooms: They contains all eight essential amino acids in better proportions than soy beans, meat, milk, or eggs as well as a good blend of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B, B12, C, D and Niacin. (Source: DietandHealth.net) These yummy mushrooms can be put into soups and provide immune boosting benefits.
- Get plenty of sleep. When you’re well rested, your body fights infection more effectively. Lack of sleep may profoundly inhibit your immune system.
- Make sure you’re taking your Vitamin D. More and more studies are showing that Vitamin D is essential for a healthy immune system. Try Nordic Naturals Cod Liver Oil.
- Give up alcohol and caffeine for a while. Staying away from these substances helps your body mount immune responses.
- Instead of your morning coffee (or mimosa) try drinking a green juice. Juice some kale, celery, cucumber, swiss chard, lemon, spinach, ginger, garlic- whatever you’ve got around that can support your good health. Also, avoid processed foods and eat a whole foods diet.
- Stay hydrated. Increasing your water intake will help you stay healthy and lessen the chance of you coming down with flu. When you are feeling under the weather, drinking extra fluids prevents dehydration caused by fever, loosens mucus, and keeps your throat moist. Warm liquids are preferable, and there is some evidence that inhaling steam early in the course of a cold or flu may reduce the spread of viruses in your upper respiratory tract. (Source: Oscillo.com) Try Traditional Medicinals, they make excellent teas and care about the environment while doing it.
- Supplement with probiotic bacteria, which alters the intestinal flora and helps your body resist infection.
- Try elderberry syrup. It’s a natural anti-viral.
- Get your exercise. While this may not be the best time to go to a crowded gym, a long hike in nature can do wonders for your immune system, your general health, and your psyche.
- Handle stress properly. Stress weakens your immune system. Everyone has stress in their lives, the key to manage it in healthy ways. Go outside and notice the simple things, take a walk, take a deep breath – find your own healthy stress-relieving activities.
If you get the flu:
- Seek help if you get worse. If your symptoms become significantly worse after the first three days of illness, especially if your fever subsides and then returns, be sure to seek medical attention right away. The reason that flu is considered a potentially dangerous infection is that it leaves the body vulnerable to other infections like pneumonia.
So, wash your hands, take a nap and, if you’re looking for a new doctor, head over to see Drs. Todd and Molly Ferguson at Prairie Naturopathic Doctors.
My Green Side’s web pick of the week:
Healthy Child Healthy World
Their mission is to ignite a movement that inspires parents to protect young children from harmful chemicals. They have Quick Tips for Healthy Living, they keep you updated on all Issues related to our children’s health and their Blog is fantastic.
Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.