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How to boost your immunity before every flu/cold season

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

Boosting your immunity is important for coping with the cold and flu season, this is why I have crated a list that is my go to before each cold season kicks in. I use it as a prevention for my whole family, and let me tell you, it works. Let's dive in:

  • Elderberry. Elderberry extracts or syrups have been clinically proven to help get over colds and flu. It's not a drug, so it's cheaper and without the side effects.

  • Protective Supplements like Echinacea, which is usually sold in tinctures or extracts. You can also sip on echinacea tea daily. Elderberry is curative, echinacea herbs are protective, that is why you can take it right when the cold/flu season starts.

  • Vitamin C is another one of my favorites, because it's protective and, in large quantities, curative.

  • Zinc is a helpful mineral for protecting against colds. You can increase them with the right foods or supplements.

  • Vitamin D3. If you live in a year round warm sunny area, you'll need to make sure you get plenty of sun to skin exposure, this will raise your vitamin D3 levels in your body. If your regional climate restricts sun exposure, take your Vitamin D3 supplements. You can check your Vitamin D3 blood levels, just to make sure your levels are within range.

  • Probiotics. Your body contains ten times more bacteria than cells and most of them have to be friendly for your body to work at an optimal level. Friendly bacteria not only attack pathogenic bacteria and fungi, but they also trigger appropriate white cell reactions to invaders and they influence your mental/emotional state. It's estimated that eighty percent of your 100 trillion bacteria are located in the gut ( Friendly bacteria are usually depleted by many outside factors, but especially by GMOs, this is why we all need probiotic foods and supplements. I would not recommend commercial yogurt to supplement with probiotics, because they are usually packed with sugar. Raw milk and raw cheese, fermented foods, and water kefir or milk kefir should be the first choices. There are probiotic supplements that you could take, especially if you're forced into taking antibiotics, in which case double up with probiotic supplements.

  • Minimize Sugar. These days anything contains sugar, so first and foremost, check the labels of the products you purchase and try to purchase the ones that contain little or no sugar at all. Make sure you don't drink sodas, or consume pastries on a daily basis. Only few grams of sugar can destroy your white blood cells' ability to resist infections for several hours.

  • Eat for the season. Root vegetables, soups, slow-cooked stews, beans, lentils and casseroles are all favorites for the winter . Always focus on the nutritional content of your meals, and try not to focus on the calories or the weight you may gain during the winter months. Your body knows how to function well given the right resources. It’s normal to gain up to 4kg in the winter, this makes up for your yin for the yang months.

  • Eat more Garlic and Onion. Besides being rich in antioxidants and selenium, garlic is antibacterial and antiviral. Both garlic and onions are part of the Allium family, which is rich in sulfur-containing compounds responsible for many of their health-promoting effects.

  • Exercise. Even moderate exercise, like walking a mile or two at least three times a week, helps your lymph system cleanse impurities to boost your immune system. Avoid long grueling workouts. A brisk walk every day is all you need in the winter. Mindful practices such as winter chi ball, qi gong, tai chi, yoga, Pilates and Feldenkrais are also excellent for building and balancing yin and yang.

  • Sleep. This is critical for overall health, not just during the flu season. If you can't include more hours in your sleep, make sure the quality of your sleep is very good. This is how you can do this: do not use any electronics at least 2 hours before bed, dim the lights in your house to a minimum at least half an hour before bed, do not eat 2-3 hours before bed, set the temperature in your bedroom to a cooler setting ( between 64-68 F, depending on your body), read a book 📖 at warm yellow night light, make your bedroom totally dark so your melatonin production will be sufficient. There are also melatonin supplements if you feel the need. A more mindful way to relax into sleep is journaling before bed about things you are grateful for for the day that passed. Writing it down, helps you focus on the positive, and also quiets the mind and reduces stress - easing you into a good night's sleep, which is essential for boosting immunity. You can also do a light nighttime meditation to help you ease your mind and focus your attention on your breathing, which will take your whole body into a calm state.

  • Sip on hot water throughout the day. This practice soothes, hydrates, decongests and helps cleanse the body. Carry a thermos of hot water with you everywhere and regularly take sips. In general choose warm over cold beverages, because anything iced is difficult to digest when immune function is low.

  • Gargling. Use warm water with salt to gargle twice a day. Gargling cleans out bacteria and germs that linger in the nasal passages and throat for 24 to 48 hours before getting into the bloodstream and weakening the immune system. Using a neti pot is also a one of my favorite options for clearing the sinuses.

  • Mindful eating. This is important for healthy digestion and strong immunity. To receive nourishment from your food, you need to chew it throughly. Before each meal take a few long, deep breaths to get centered, slow down and enjoy each meal in a peaceful environment. Avoid staying on your phone or watching TV, rather eat with a loved one and enjoy a nice conversation while you eat.

  • Meditate and stress Less. This should be an all year practice. More and more evidence comes out that talks about how stress or anxiety are the leading causes for decreased immunity. I practice meditation daily and I highly recommend it to everybody, because it reduces stress, settles the nerves and calms the mind and it shifts you toward a more positive mindset overall. Whether you prefer sitting or walking meditation, opt for at least 10 minutes per day. Yoga is also one of my favorite go to practices for de-stressing and stretching. Laugh more, watch a stand up comedy show, a funny movie or get together with dear friends and family for a good time. Be less critical of yourself and others. Worry less.

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