If half the people you know are down with the flu, you’re probably next. Although it’s always important to take preventative measures against illness, this is the time of year that viruses spread easily and quickly from one family to the next. Be prepared to fortify your body against its invisible enemies with these six steps.
We simply can’t reiterate this enough – the best thing you can do for your body is to maintain a diverse and healthy diet. Vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and fibers all play a role in your immune system, and you won’t find the nutrients you need in pound cakes and cocktails. Whenever possible, maintain a balanced diet that consists of all five food groups, striving to keep your selections as natural as possible. Processed foods are often stripped of vital nutrients. Some of the most powerful immune system boosters are:
- Vitamin C – increases antimicrobial and white blood cell activity over time. With higher levels, your body will be more equipped to kill bacteria and viruses before they can do damage.
- Vitamin A – important to the normal function of several types of immune cells important in the innate response, including natural killer (NK) cells, macrophages, and neutrophils.
- Zinc – supports the immune system as a whole and helps fight off sore throats and colds, as well as promoting recovery from injury and illness.
You can always take a multi-vitamin to supplement your diet, just to make sure.
2. Keep Drinking
…Water, that is. While holiday cocktails and sodas may put you in the spirit, they are dehydrating to the body. Instead, drink lots of water every day to stay hydrated. Your body needs a consistent intake of liquid to maintain blood flow and the distribution of immune cells.
3. Staying Clean
Although many pathogens are airborne, you can just as easily pick up a virus from a doorknob or handshake. This is why you want to keep yourself and your surroundings as clean as possible. Wash your hands frequently – especially after coming into contact with a sick person – and try to make sure your immediate surroundings are clean as well. Sanitizing wipes and fluids are often quite toxic, and unnecessary. Soap and water will do the trick. If you’d prefer to use a sanitizing solution, food-grade alcohol (such as plain vodka or grain alcohol) and hydrogen peroxide are non-toxic.
Exercise promotes a healthy mind and a healthy, energized body, both of which are needed for proper immune function. Working out is also a great way to diminish stress, which can be a great depressor of immunoactivity. Of course, burning off extra fat and calories is not a bad idea either, especially during the holidays!
5. Herbal Fortification against Viruses
If you’re looking for natural and effective preventative treatments, try looking to one of the most ancient and populous peoples on Earth – the Chinese. Ancient Chinese herbalists were right about many things, such as the prevention and treatment of colds and flu viruses. Here are a few herbs that can kick your immune system into high gear:
One must also consider stress factors when it comes to preventative measures, since high emotional and physical stress have a negative effect on the immune system. If your life seems highly stressful, you should consider adaptogenic herbs and teas to help your body balance and cope.
Sleep deprivation is terrible for your health in many ways, especially when it comes time to fend off attacking viruses. You need a minimum of seven hours of sleep every night to maintain wellness of body, mind, and spirit. That goes for your immune system as well. Having trouble falling asleep? Try an all-natural supplement to stay on a consistent sleep schedule.
Starting to Feel Unwell?
Following the steps above can give you a fighting edge through the flu season and beyond. Sometimes, however, a virus may take hold anyway. When that happens, try to avoid pharmaceuticals with all of their inevitable side effects. Instead, use all-natural remedies that will treat your symptoms in a holistic way. If you have the time and resources, you can concoct this remedy in your own home.
In a blender, blend equal amounts of (fresh) onion, garlic, hot pepper, horseradish, and ginger with enough raw apple cider vinegar to liquefy the mixture. Place in a mason jar in a dark cupboard and shake every day for at least two weeks. After that, strain the liquid and use it by adding a teaspoonful to juice. Take this liberally when you feel viruses coming on. The vegetable mash can also be used as a condiment, and the liquid makes a spicy salad dressing, when combined with vegetable oil!