by Gabriel Ariciu, DC
We are in the full swing of the cold and flu season. Some of you may have already dealt with a cold or flu. It is never fun to deal with this especially when you have things to do. I used to often get sinus infections, I still do occasionally when I am exposed to mold in heavy amounts. Sinusitis is a terrible thing to deal with, your nose gets stuffy, head pressure goes up, and you feel rotten. Sore throats, wheezing, fatigue, runny nose, and the list goes on. These are all common things we deal with each season. I want to give you 6 helpful tips that you can apply and hopefully help prevent or lessen the degree in which this season hits.
Let’s talk about what can strengthen the immune system. Also pay attention to what I am not saying, aka read between the lines. I won’t get into all the ways we can damage our immune system, but suffice it to say eating junk food is not going to help you.
First off, a good balanced diet. What does that look like? Plenty of vegetables, the leafy green good stuff! Make sure half your plate is made up of those guys. Eat good quality meat from grass-fed or pasture-raised sources. You will need the protein and other nutrients that comes from that. Root vegetables such as sweet potatoes are also good. The meat and root veggies should take the other half of your plate equally. Fruits are also good. Make sure all the these guys are organic, locally grown if you can. That is a balanced diet.
What about grains, beans, and legumes? These are good, but I would limit them. They are not going to be packed with the needed nutrients to fight off the cold and flu.
Okay, now let’s talk about the 6 specific tips.
- Vitamin C is first. We all know about this guy. We see it on the shelves at the grocery store or in those little packets that make a sickly orange drink. Vitamin C is a must but there are better forms of it than others. We use Camu Supreme. Camu camu is a fruit from South America that is very high in Vitamin C. It is packed full of other antioxidants too. It is a whole food product so instead of just getting ascorbic acid you also get the other nutrients that come with it. (1)
- Next we are on to some important fat soluble vitamins, vitamins A & D. These are really important in regulating our immune system. Vitamin D we typically think about sunlight, well we tend to not get much sunlight during the winter, we rarely get much in the summer either with all the sunscreen we use, but nevertheless we are often rather deficient. Vitamin A is very important, I find this to be a very common in those who are fighting off infections. We can deplete ourselves of vitamin A pretty quick if we are not regularly consuming it when we are sick. A good source of both these are cod liver oil or grass-fed liver. We use several sources, Pure Encapsulations, Nordic Naturals, and a new one we are trying out Ancestral Supplements. Ancestral Supplements have some other organ supplements that will also help. Liver is naturally high in vitamin A and D among other nutrients. Often our nutrient issues are due to us not eating organ meats which our ancestors used a lot.
- Bone broth and fermented foods provide a lot of nutrients that support our immune system as well. In reality, its all about nutrient density, eating foods high in nutrients.
- Herbs and other immune-boosters. There are many herbs we use in our office many are antiviral too. Astragalus, woad, illicium, chinese coptis, and noni. There are many others. It is always difficult which to recommend because what works for one person, doesn’t work for another. So use good judgment here or come in. But herbs are a powerful tool in preventing and supporting the body during the season.
- Rest. As much as I want people to move around, if you are sick you are going to need rest. Your body needs the energy to heal and if we continue to exercise intensely or move frequently without adjusting to being sick it will take that much longer to get better.
- Washing our hands. This is a basic concept but let’s not forget this important part of good hygiene. I don’t mean for you to get crazy about it and use hand sanitizer all the time. But just be aware.
Well those are some helpful tips to get you through the season. Just remember to eat well, get some good supplements and herbs, and get your sunlight when you can.