Adults catch an average of 2 – 4 colds per year, and children may catch upwards of 8 – 10 colds annually (Colds in children, 2005)!
With children back in school and the cold weather coming, the last thing you and your family need is to get sick. We’re told to hurry up and get our flu shots, but does that really work as an elixir against getting sick?
Besides coming with a 30% risk that adverse reactions could happen, the flu shot is not really proven to even be effective:
“What the CDC neglects to tell you is that in five recent studies, people who did get the 2008-2009 flu shot were more likely to get the swine flu than those who did not take the poke. Also, with the flu vaccine came three times more risk for hospitalization in children.” Source; American Thoracic Society May 2009
So, with that news, my goal is to give you tips on how to beat flu season naturally this year!
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist; I’m just a student researching and studying. Please consult with your doctor first before making drastic changes to your diet and medication and/or supplement routine.
You should be able to find these in your local health store, but be sure to check for naturally-derived ingredients from food sans additives, colors, fillers, excipients, etc. Most conventional supplements are made in a lab that our bodies can’t recognize or utilize, and come with a whole host of ingredients we don’t need (like fake sugars and gluten!).
5 Fast, Natural Immunity Boosters
1) Vitamin C
When there’s a fight going on with your immune system, vitamin C is an ally that you absolutely want and need to go to battle for you. It’s a water-soluble vitamin, so we need this on a daily basis and toxicity is hard to come by. You’ll know when you have diarrhea that you’ve taken too much!
Eat vitamin C-rich foods, such as colorful vegetables and citrus fruits, drink herbal teas (echinacea, chamomile, ginger, etc.) and take 500 mg – 1,000 mg at each meal and/or snack. Check with your doctor about boosting dosage even greater when ill, though! I typically take much more than this when sick based on my doctor’s recommendations.
My favorite scientifically proven brand is this one.
2) Fish Oil
Your grandpa didn’t grow up taking cod liver oil because it tasted well; rather, because it’s one of the most powerful immunity supports! Bring back this old school health routine – and your vitality – by including this in your routine daily.
Loaded with anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids (and some vitamins A and D), it is an immunity powerhouse and powerful at decreasing inflammation!
3) Vitamin D3
In general, this is a CRUCIAL part to boosting immune and brain function, aiding in strong bones, reducing inflammation, and protecting against cancer. As a hormone synthesized by our livers from sunlight, it is tough to reach the levels we need during winter months.
According to Dr. Mark Hyman,
“Many need 5,000 IU or more of vitamin D3 a day in the winter. Start with 2,000 IU for adults, 1,000 IU for children.“
My favorite quality brand is this one.
Our gut/gastrointestinal health is 70% of our immune system. Crazy, isn’t it!?
Thus, to boost your immunity, it’s important to boost your gut with probiotics, species of good bacteria that kill the bad invaders and go to work on getting you healthy.
All probiotics are not the same. Look for brands with normal gut flora like lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, and aim for 5 – 15 billion organisms per capsule. Also, the product must contain living, viable organisms that survive your gut lining, and have benefit once in your body (Elizabeth Lipski, 65).
There are several awesome quality brands out there. This is one my favorites.
If you’re not sleeping well, your body isn’t able to repair, heal, and restore your body.
Don’t burn the candle at both ends, and aim for at LEAST 7 – 8 hours of sleep. If you feel a bug coming on, aim for another hour or so on top of that to help your body go to battle.
Here’s to you being proactive with your health this flu season, and to zero missed days at school for your young ones!
Your turn: What other natural remedies do you turn to for sickness prevention or treatment?
Colds in children. (2005). Paediatric Children’s Health. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2722603/.
Lipski, Elizabeth. (2012). Digestive Wellness, 4th Edition. McGraw Hill: New York.