It’s that time….flu season. And is it just me, or do they say every year it’s going to be ‘worse than normal?’ …Thought so.
I’ll just say it straight out- I’m not a fan of the flu shot. I refuse to get it, and frankly don’t believe its necessary or effective. Half the time, when I see someone post on facebook that they’ve had the flu (because aren’t you required to post it on facebook if you get it..? Some people seem to think so!) they always include the phrase “and I even got my flu shot!” So I’ll skip the shot, thanks.
But, I don’t exactly invite the flu into my house, either! There are some definite precautions you can take to help prevent the flu, or lessen the symptoms if you do contract it.
Here’s 7 actionable steps to avoiding (or lessening the effects if you DO get it!) the flu:
- Elderberry Syrup – Also known as sambucus, this plant is a powerful antioxidant and a staple in our home every winter! If you want to make your own, I suggesting using Wellness Mama’s recipe (I drink the syrup and make gummies for Grayson. He loves them!) Elderberries are also what is called an “anti-catarrhal” herb, which makes it very effective with runny noses and congestion. This type of herb prevents excess mucous formation and helps to remove it from the body.
- Avoid Sugar- When you get the flu, it essentially means your immune system has been attacked and is thus very low, right? Well, sugar lowers your immune system. Low immune systems get the flu and other sicknesses easier. Pretty basic concept.I have the perfect example of this. You guys know I eat very healthy…and I just got married recently (Nov 3, 2018!) On our honeymoon, I enjoyed my self thoroughly when it came to food…yes I had salad and yes I ordered veggies at dinner…but I also ate EVERYTHING ELSE. So much sugar. I gained a few pounds, had no regrets because I had a great time, was ready to get back on track…..and got the stomach bug OF MY LIFE. Oh my gosh, it was horrible. No joke, it actually delayed my menstrual period 3 days. I fully blame my honeymoon diet! It was so much more sugar than I’m used to eating. Crazy how quickly that can happen, right?
- Increase Vitamin D- One flu-related theory is that there isn’t a “flu season,” it is just more common in the winter, and people not getting enough sunshine (vitamin D) is a huge contributor. It’s true, right? In the winter, we aren’t outside nearly as much. The weather can be nasty, it doesn’t feel good….so we just avoid it more. My suggestion is to start taking vitamin D in the winter, or increase your dosage when you’re sick.
- Wash Your Hands- I hope we all learned this in kindergarten, but I’ll say it again anyways. Wash Yo Hands! You know I’m all for good bacteria…but let’s not keep the bad bacteria around too, okay?
- Avoid Over or Under- Excercising- Last year I covered how to know if you should work out or rest when you’re sick. Exercise has so many more health benefits than just losing weight or toning up. Getting in exercise consistently can raise your immune system, helping you fight off sickness. But, with that said, exercise is also a stresser and it can also lower your immune system if you’re overdoing it. Make sure you aren’t overdoing it (stick to 20-60 minute sessions) and allowing yourself rest days. Read the full article Here on what movement you should be getting in (or not) when you’re sick!
- Get Enough Sleep- Sleep is EVERYTHING. If you aren’t getting adequate sleep, your immune system will get weaker and weaker. Infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.
- Feed Your Healthy Bacteria- Think of your gut as ‘immunity headquarters.’ If you want to keep your immune system high, a nutrient-dense diet is key! This should include prebiotics (2-3 servings a day)- veggies like asparagus, garlic, and onions; fruits like berries, citrus, and apples; flax seeds, chia seeds, along with supplements. You should also include plenty of probiotics (1-2 servings a day) such as yogurt, cheese and kefir containing live bacteria cultures, fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut and wine (you’re welcome!). You can also supplement, but of course, remember not all supplements are made equal! make sure they have live cultures and look for ‘spore based’- otherwise you’re basically buying sugar pills for all they’re worth.Other foods that are great when you’re sick:
- Honey- Antibacterial/antimicrobial properties, can act as a cough suppressant
- Chicken Soup- Good source of fluids/electrolytes, anti-inflammatory nutrients
- Garlic – Acts as an antibiotic and can lessen the severity of sicknesses
- Elderberries (worth mentioning twice!)- Antiviral properties
- Green Tea- Boosts B cell antibodies, helps us get rid of invading pathogens
So, what do you think? Have you tried any of these before and found success (I’m hoping everyone says yes to #4!) ? Comment below with your favorite actionable step you take to prevent sickness!