I always know when it’s flu season, from the copious bombardment of flu shot commercials on the radio and TV. Now I’m not purely against flu shots, everyone is entitled to their own choice when it comes to their health and I respect that. As a health care provider though I am an advocate of constructing an informed choice, so the more info the better. I’m not going to regurgitate the stats and facts about flu shots (it’s not my speciality or domain), but will happily provide some natural tips on how to increase your immune system to avoid colds/flus. Strengthening your immune system and increasing your resistance to colds/flus is the true preventative method to avoiding getting sick (and it’s not found in a shot or pill).
First step in increasing your immunity is by looking at your basic life necessities – ie. are you getting enough food, sleep, water, and love? Getting a cold/flu can sometimes be a viral “wake-up-call” that we aren’t treating ourselves well and that leads us susceptible to infection. Sounds so simple, but it’s true. Have you been getting sick more often? Perhaps you aren’t getting enough vitamins (vitamin C and E, and Zinc are all used in creating natural killer cells which are our first line of defense in our innate immunity) in your diet, or enough sleep (less than 6 hours of sleep decreases our ability to create immune cells)? “Love” is a very generic term, but it is an essential just as much as nutrients, water and sleep. If we feel unloved or unsociable, our natural mood elevating neurohormones are decreased leading us susceptible to infection. Prolonged high stress levels also create decreased cortisol levels which also inhibit our immune systems.
If you are not deficient in any of the four life necessities listed above and still have a poor immune system, then there may be other factors at play that are affecting your immunity. This includes (and not limited to) – thyroid issues, food sensitivities or nutrient deficencies, auto-immune disorders, chronic inflammation, chronic fatigue (or low energy), hypersensitivity to the environment, and hormonal imbalances. Each of these causes are very specific to the individual and require an individualized treatment plan to address them (best to discuss with a health care practitioner).
So in conclusion the best prevention tips for a healthy immune system are: colourful fruits and veggies (high in vitamin C and Zinc), lots of water (can do echinacea tea as a water and immune stimulator component), sleep at least 6-8 hours, boost your circulation by moving/walking/exercising, and do something stress-less and enjoyable for 30 minutes a day. Combine that with hand washing and that should be the best prevention against colds and flus!
Wishing everyone one a healthy and happy immune system!