Four Simple Ways to Avoid Getting the Flu – Without Getting a Flu Shot!
Fever, cough, headache, muscle aches, sniffles… yep it’s just about flu season yet again! Before you start celebrating remember that the flu can hit suddenly and hit hard. When it comes to flu season I suggest prevention is the best approach. I’m sure you can easily recall the last flu that cycled through your house — and not fondly. Right now is the perfect time to get a jump on preventing a repeat performance.
Getting the flu accounts for a huge amount of lost time and money. Influenza viral infection caused 11 million missed days of work last year!
Although the flu vaccine can be effective and is an important tool depending on your health risks — I am an advocate of more powerful medicine. Using potent herbs and vitamins which can strengthen your body’s own immune system means you can not only withstand exposure to the flu virus, but colds and infections of all types.
Take a look at these tips, incorporate them into your life this season and reap the benefits!
– Vitamin A (called beta carotene when found in produce) is an amazing friend to the immune system. Vitamin A is actually a required component for proper immune function. Look for food sources of beta carotene to be yellow and orange in color to eat all throughout the Fall. Some of my favorites include delicata squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and carrots. Vitamin A when taken in a supplement is 12 times stronger than when taken in beta carotene form. Ask your healthcare provider about dosage for vitamin A supplementation because, while powerful, it should not be taken by certain people.
– Aside from being a tasty addition to your dishes, mushrooms can offer much more in terms of medicinal properties. Mushrooms contain substances called beta-glucans, which have been shown to optimize immune cell levels. Mushrooms such as cordyceps and maitake mushrooms are ideal for helping immune function. Try a mushroom tincture or purchase dried mushrooms and add to your fall soups.
– Both considered “mucus forming” foods, these common food sensitivities can encourage inflammation, which can hinder the immune system. Try cutting both out for flu season and see how much more energy you have and, perhaps how little you get sick! Alternatives: stevia instead of sugar or forego the sweet stuff altogether; go for coconut or almond yogurt instead of the dairy form; coconut oil instead of butter; Hemp milk instead of dairy milk.
– This broth, cooked using a few veggies (zucchini, celery and carrot) along with pure water and bones, is an essential soup base or drink to take when you’re well or sick. The nutrients leached from the bones support growth and repair of cells all throughout the body. When your cells, especially gut cells, are happy and healthy they are better able to fend off infection, keep bad bacteria in check and keep your immune system in check. Look for recipes online or check out “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon – one of my personal favorite cookbooks.
Katie Disharoon ND – Katie sees patients of all ages in her Family Practice at Full Circle Natural Medicine near Greenlake in Seattle, WA. She enjoys helping people regain their energy and pep through natural medicine, paying special attention the important role digestive health plays in quality of life.