Cold and Flu Season Tips to Support Your Immune System
The dreaded cold and flu season is upon us with a vicious flu strain sweeping the nation. The number of children and adults who have been hospitalized is downright frightening.
Many people have been left wondering what they can do to keep themselves and their families healthy this year. We have heard the general recommendations and cold and flu season tips like; wash your hands, stay home if you are sick, cover your mouth when you cough, etc. While these are all helpful, you should also take a proactive approach to support your immune system so it will be stronger when coming in contact with these very contagious germs.
But what can you do to affect your immune system function on a daily basis which will give you protection?
Dr. Kim Bruno says we need to look at the foods we are eating and a basic immune regulating supplement regimen for cold and flu season. She states: “By increasing certain immune boosting foods and protective supplements and decreasing other immune suppressing foods you will be giving your immune system the nutrients it needs for defense during the cold and flu season.”
Foods to DECREASE during the cold and flu season:
Fall and winter calls for some proactive steps to boost our kids immune system. The number one food to decrease or eliminate is SUGAR . I know this is hard during the season of Halloween candy, pumpkin pie and holiday cookies, but if you follow this one cold and flu season tip, you can make a big impact on your susceptibility to illness.
Sugar feeds pathogenic bacteria, and negatively affects the balance of healthy gut flora which is protective and helpful for fighting invading pathogens, sugar also works to suppress the immune system. Evidence shows that even a moderate amount of sugar, the equivalent of one can of soda, can deem the immune system useless for up to four hours. Some good, natural sugar substitutes are honey, maple syrup, stevia and xylitol.
Foods to INCREASE for Boosting Immune System:
Eat an abundance of whole fruits and vegetables, in their natural and unrefined state, particularity ones which are rich in vitamin C and zinc, which have helpful immune supporting properties. If you are not eating enough of these foods it is easy to supplement with a whole food, fruit and vegetable powder which can easily be added to smoothies.
Foods high in vitamin C, besides the obvious oranges: kale, spinach, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, green and red sweet peppers, broccoli, asparagus and sweet potatoes
Foods high in zinc: ginger, split peas, pecans, walnuts and almonds, tuna, turkey and chicken, cinnamon, thyme and chili powder
Vitamin D will also aide in keeping your immune system healthy. Unfortunately just as cold and flu season arrives, it is also the time when most of us stop getting the proper sun exposure to synthesize this valuable nutrient. Therefore increasing food consumption and supplementation of this valuable immune supporting nutrient is vital during the fall and winter months. For increased vitamin D, increase your consumption of fish, such as salmon, herring and halibut, also shitake mushrooms and fortified eggs and cereals.
Good vs. Bad Bacteria: It is a good idea to protect your natural good bacteria ecosystem in your respiratory and GI systems. By supporting these systems with health bacteria, found in fermented food like kombucha, sauerkraut and yogurt, you will help to protect your system against the bad bacteria and viruses. A daily probiotic supplement would also be a great option to ensure you are getting enough protection especially if you feel that you are not eating these fermented foods on a regular basis.
In Good Health,