8 Easy Steps to Strike Back at Flu Season

8 Easy Steps to Strike Back at Flu Season

I’ve been recently convinced that there is no ‘true’ cold and flu season. Rather, it’s a lack of sunshine season, accompanied by folks with feeble immune systems. These 8 natural steps welcome back healthy.

Winter Months

There is a huge misconception that a cold or flu is caused by wintry weather. The truth is that cold temperatures weaken the first line of immune defense – in your nose! Rhinovirus is known to replicate fast in cold dry air.

The chilly winter season forces many of us indoors. In close quarters where windows are sealed, you are likely to breathe the same air as someone who is coughing and hacking,  granting greater opportunity to contract the same virus.

The shortened days of winter detail a lack of sunlight. Vitamin D is made on our skin from glorious sunshine. Long, dark, cold, winter days deplete this essential hormone.

Breathing nasty indoor air in combination with the lack of sunshine is a boogie trap set to compromise your immune system. Rather than let that scenario strike you down, let’s examine how to boost immunity, super-charging your resilience. 

8 Flu Busters

  1. Hydrate
  2. Rest
  3. Nutrient-Dense Foods
  4. Immune Boosting Supplements
  5. Herbal Teas
  6. Elderberry Syrup
  7. Essential Oils
  8. Minimize Stress

Hydrate

Water is pivotal for every system in your body. When you are feeling the effects of cold or flu, the need to hydrate is escalated.

Stay well hydrated by gradually sipping fluids throughout the day. An estimate of good hydration intake is approximately drinking your weight divided by two in ounces daily. 

Warm homemade bone broths and meat broths are packed with vital nutrients.  And, a warm drink is typically comforting when you are feeling wonky.

Avoid drinking diuretics like soda, energy drinks, coffee, and non-herbal teas. These deplete the body of needed water. Elderly folks need to be especially attentive as they often don’t obtain necessary hydration, leaving them vulnerable. 

Adequate fluids deliver nutrients to all of your cells, flush bacteria from your bladder, and prevent uncomfortable constipation. Of course, the kidneys function deliberately in the presence of an abundant water supply. The battle being waged inside of you will need fluids to move your immune soldiers efficiently throughout your body.

Rest

Sleep and adequate rest is truly the best medicine. Stay in your pj’s and obtain as much horizontal time as you need. Getting restful, recuperative sleep is one of the best options to support your immune system to battle illness.

“Many of the molecules and substances that circulate in our body and also within cells overlap between immune function and sleep,” says David Rapoport, MD, director of the sleep medicine program at New York University School of Medicine. “So it’s not at all surprising that they affect each other.”

Unfortunately, a stuffy nose and hacking cough may make sleep nearly obsolete. To remedy this annoyance, gather a few pillows making a wedge to prop yourself up in bed. Sinus pressure should improve. This should help you breathe and sleep a little easier.

Nutrient-Dense Foods

Eating a diet enriched in nutrient-dense foods can give a proper karate chop to that imminent  cold or flu. Playing offense is wise. Protect your body from coughs and sniffles by loading up on these immune-boosting foods.

  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Wild-caught salmon and fatty fish 
  • Berries
  • Potassium-rich foods
  • Food loaded with vitamin C
  • Keto-friendly foods 
  • A rainbow of veggies
  • Garlic and onions
  • Nuts and seeds

During an illness, your appetite may wane. Below are a few tasty foods to boost your immunity when you don’t have a ravenous appetite. These are easy to grab when you may not be in the mood to prepare food.

  • Sip on warm bone broth or meat broth
  • Full-fat Greek yogurt (no sugar)
  • Eggs
  • Apple sauce with added Ceylon cinnamon (no sugar)
  • Raw cheese
  • Ginger tea
  • Kombucha
  • Green protein smoothy
  • Drink warmed lemon juice with honey in a cup of hot water
  • Nuts

Immune Boosting Supplements

Nip troublesome cold and flu symptoms in-the-bud by the reinforcement of excellent supplements. These can be an extra helping hand for nutritional gaps that may exist in your diet.

Liposomal Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin D, and Echinacea all have evidence-based efficacy on the immune system. They work jointly to help kick a cold or flu right out the door! 

Everyone’s immune cells need adequate supplies of vitamin C. Liposomal technology utilizes phospholipids to help transport the vitamin C molecules across your gut membrane for enhancing the absorption of the vitamin. Vitamin C is required for the maturation of T lymphocytes (blood cells that help protect the body from infection).

Zinc supplementation can reduce the duration and severity of a cold.  Once you feel those pesky cold or flu symptoms, begin zinc immediately.  It works to remediate symptoms. Funding provided by the National Institute for Health Research promoted a study that stated, everyone, should consider taking zinc supplements during the winter months.

Vitamin D is a hormone. Supplementation is needed and well known for the prevention of respiratory infections. This hormone is made from sunlight on the skin. Those of you who are unable to get out into the sunshine during the winter months need extra vitamin D. In fact, your vitamin D level is a fairly good indicator of your overall health. 

Echinacea is a herb. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, Echinacea reduced the total number of cold episodes. This supplement seems to be a complementary treatment for respiratory tract infections.  Research shows that echinacea may work by increasing the response of your natural killer cells (immune fighters). 

Herbal Teas

One of my favorite teas is a ginger-cayenne blend. This warm spicy blend halts pain and achy muscles. The cayenne is anti-fungal and antibacterial. This helps your digestive tract break up mucus. 

The beautiful yellow ginger is stomach settling. Both ginger and cayenne induce sweating, which helps detoxify the body. It packs a knock-out punch that can help stop the flu in its tracks.

Make homemade garlic tea! Just one cup may be enough to halt that cold in its tracks. You might want to play it safe and have several delectable cups that first sniffle-prone day. 

Directions: 

  • Crush 2 large cloves of garlic releasing the magic of alliin which turns into allicin.  
  • Place the garlic in your favorite mug. 
  • Let the garlic rest for 10 minutes, for all the goodness to be released. 
  • Pour hot water over the garlic.
  • Add a squeeze of fresh lemon.
  • Sip and enjoy! 

Note: The garlic will stay at the bottom of the cup. Do eat the garlic giving a powerful knock-out-punch to your virus.

Elderberry Syrup

Beautiful black elderberries are well known as supportive agents against common cold and flu. Elderberries made into syrup have powerful immune-boosting properties. It’s also remarkably soothing on a sore throat.  

Interestingly, the flavonoids in the extract bind to the H1N1 human influenza virus as well as the H5N1 avian influenza virus. When the dark rich syrup is used within the first 48 hours of the onset of flu, it has been shown to shorten the duration by an average of four days.

Essential Oils

Essential oils from aromatic plants have a potential role in antiviral activity. Essential oil blends of wild orange peel, clove, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary have been found to especially be effective. Use it at the first hint of a sniffle. 

Here are three easy ways for you to use an anti-viral oil blend. 

  • Aromatherapy by diffusing it into the air. 
  • Rub it onto your skin. 
  • In a spray bottle, use it on surfaces as a household cleaner. 

Recipe for use in a small glass roller ball:

  • 20 drops clove essential oil
  • 18 drops orange or lemon essential oil
  • 10 drops cinnamon bark essential oil
  • 8 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 5 drops rosemary essential oil

Minimize Stress

Generally speaking, the greater your stress the lower the effectiveness of your immune system.  Stressful life events (positive or negative) and perceived stress can have a direct effect on illnesses delaying a common cold or flu. 

When you are under stress, Dr. Levine says that the immune system is unable to efficiently suppress a virus. People who had more significant stressors seem to get sick more often compared to people who aren’t stressed.

Meditation, deep breathing, mild exercise, a vacation, and most certainly sleep are remedies to guide you back into de-stress mode and boost your immune system. 

So, next time the flu or cold invades your reality, try these knock-out natural cold and flu remedies. Take that! They can be willing accomplices to support your immune system to get you back on your feet fast. Welcome back, healthy! 

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