A strong immune system is the key to warding off the flu, and there are many ways to prime your defenses. Healthy diet, supplements, exercise and stress relief are all great ways to keep your immune system in top form.
But if you do get sick, these unique, natural approaches may help speed up recovery time and relieve uncomfortable symptoms.
1. Coconut Oil
This healthy fat is rich in a substance called lauric acid which provides many health benefits, including antiviral properties. Lauric acid is shown to directly interfere with the ability of viruses to replicate and spread, thus halting infection. Coconut oil also contains nutritional components that stimulate immunity, reduce inflammation and support other areas of health. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons per day to soups, salads and smoothies or even eat it straight.*
2. Baking Soda
This simple compound, known as sodium bicarbonate, has long been used therapeutically for numerous first aid applications. It may fight against the flu by helping to neutralize acidity in the body, creating an inhospitable, alkaline environment for viruses and germs. When you start to feel the flu coming on or are exposed to a virus, begin by taking ½ teaspoon in water every two hours, six times throughout the day. Scale down two doses per day thereafter until symptoms subside.*
There are hundreds of species of beneficial bacteria that reside in the digestive tract, assisting digestion, boosting nutrient assimilation and protecting against harmful microbes. Now, researchers are learning more about the direct relationship between probiotic bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, and various aspects of the immune system. Studies show that probiotic bacteria can increase T cells, a critical class of immune responders. Other studies show that the probiotic strain Bacillus coagulans can increase immune responses to flu viruses, even swine flu. Find a comprehensive formula and follow dosage instructions, which can be increased during active flu symptoms.*
Studies show that laughter can be a powerful immune booster. In addition to alleviating immune-suppressing stress, laughter is shown to increase NK (natural killer) cell activity and positively influence the expression of genes related to immunity. You don’t have to feel guilty about watching comedies during the day when you’re at home with the flu.
An ancient mind-body system of exercises, there are various methods of yoga practice. Studies show that certain yoga styles, such as Iyengar style and mindful meditation yoga, offer significant health benefits. Yoga can protect against stress, positively influence immune related-genes, boost circulation, reduce chronic inflammation and increase healing. Though the flu makes us feel tired and achy, yoga’s gentle movements and stretches help increase oxygenation and circulation, which are critical in fighting illness.*
A daily dose of sunshine, about 15 to 20 minutes, can improve health by providing natural vitamin D3 to boost immunity, fight viruses and promote numerous aspects of overall health. If you live in an overcast area, consider a natural vitamin D3 supplement.*
Music therapy is commonly used to help address various aspects of health. Certain musical styles such as classical music have been well researched and shown to reduce stress, boost immunity, support metabolism and much more. Choose something you enjoy and try to practice deep breathing while listening.*
8. Avoid Sugar
Most sugars, particularly refined sugars, trigger a cascade of harmful reactions in the body that directly suppress immunity and feed harmful invaders. Choose sweeteners that do not spike glucose and cause the inflammatory cascade of immune-suppressing actions. Stevia and coconut sugar are excellent alternative sweeteners that do not weaken the immune system or fuel the replication of harmful viruses, bacteria and microbes.*
These holistic approaches can not only protect against colds and flus, they help maintain overall health and longevity throughout the year and beyond.