The flu season is upon us in a wicked way. News reports are saying this is one of the worst flu seasons ever. So how can you protect yourself, aside from washing hands and avoiding exposure to those who are infected? Here’s my Paleo take on flu defense.
1. Boost Your Immunity with Food and Water – By eating plenty of organic vegetables with phytonutrients in them along with grass-fed and pastured meat/poultry/seafood high in vitamins and minerals, you can impact your overall immune health year-round. During flu season and beyond, be sure to drink plenty of non-chlorinated, fluoride-free water from glass containers whenever possible. Steer clear of foods high in starch and don’t overdo the exercise. The oxidative stress can put a strain on your body.
While I want you to take the advice of your physician, I personally don’t get flu shots because they contain mercury in the form of thimerosal, and because they are based on last year’s viruses. I prefer to shore up my immune system daily.
The other thing I try not to do if at all possible is use antibacterial soaps. They contain chemicals that are dangerous and should be avoided. Instead, use regular soap (ones without perfumes, dyes, or sodium laureth sulfate optimally) and be sure to wash your hands in warm water for at least 20 consecutive seconds.
2. Destress – In his new book, Primal Connection, Mark Sisson talks about the importance of living a life that is in accordance with our ancient ancestors that goes beyond food and exercise. Take time for play. Turn the lights down a few hours before bedtime. (Stay away from the harsh glare of the computer/ TV/etc. in order to get better rest at night.) Walk in nature, garden, relax and stop all that multi-tasking. Do healthy, natural things that encourage the release of endorphins to boost your immune system. Laugh!
3. Consider Taking Natural Immune Boosting Supplements – I try to enhance my immune system by drinking green tea and taking my favorite immune boosting supplement EpiCor. It is a type of fermented yeast (not the bad kind) that has been used successfully both in animals and humans with proven science behind it. While not well known, the results of double blind clinical research indicate that EpiCor can decrease the frequency and symptoms of colds.
I haven’t had a cold in the two years since I started taking EpiCor, so I would have to agree. I have also beenPaleo and done a myriad of other things, but I really swear by the stuff. It is affordable (roughly $12 per month) and I have not had any negative side effects whatsoever. That said, be sure to discuss it with a qualified health care provider. While the product is considered safe for the general population, it best to be sure it won’t interfere with any medications you are taking.
3 ½. Opt for Additional Supplementation On Occasion – There are numerous other supplements that boost immunity, but not all of them are meant to be taken on a regular basis. For example, olive leaf and Echinacea should not be used day in and day out. They are best for occasional use only. If you do get sick, make yourself a big pot of bone broth or chicken soup. There is a reason they call chicken soup “Jewish penicillin”. Chicken soup has been shown in scientific studies to effect neutrophil activity and can actually decrease the symptoms and severity of the flu by acting as an anti-inflammatory agent.
For additional tips on preventing the flu naturally, you may want to visit the following links:
About the Author: Wendy J. Schwartz is a graduate of New York University and holds a BS and anMS Degree in Food and Nutrition. During her early career, she worked at both Mt. Sinai Hospital and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Wendy is currently a member of the Nutritional Therapy Association. She is the author of the upcoming eBook
Go Paleo!: A Shopping Survival Guide and is currently creating a large, free online US resource for Paleo consumers. Her blog, Go Paleo!, can be visited at http://www.gopaleo.com.