Shoo, Shoo Colds and Flu

There’s nothing worse than being taken down by a cold, or even worse, the flu. Definitely puts a cramp in your plans for a week or two! As cold and flu season is upon us, there are things you can do to up your resistance, and to help you recover more quickly if you do get sick.

First and foremost, wash your hands. A lot. Touching germy surfaces and then touching your mucus membranes is how you catch a virus. End of story. Wash. Your. Hands. Antibacterial gels are good in a pinch if you can’t get to soap and water, but shouldn’t be overused. In general, keep your hands away from your face.

Immune boosting nutrients that you should be loading up on this winter include:

  • Vitamin C: make sure your C also includes bioflavinoids for the best utilization. Around 1000 mg/day is useful and shouldn’t upset your tummy. (Too much C can cause loose stools).
  • Vitamin D: almost all of us are deficient in this nutrient that is key to immune health. The D that is added to fortified foods like milk is actually D2, which is not a useful form for the body. You need to supplement with D3, which is best found in oil-suspension drops you can put directly on your tongue. About 3000 IU for every 100 lbs of body weight daily. Also, make sure your diet is rich in Vitamin A, as these two nutrients need each other. Good sources include raw organic dairy, organic pasture-raised animals, sweet potatoes, and dark leafy greens.
  • Zinc: another nutrient most of us are missing out on, zinc is found in beef and lamb, sesame and pumpkin seeds, and lentils and garbanzo beans. When you feel you’re fighting something, 30 mg of zinc gluconate can be helpful daily.

If a virus takes you down, some ways to make it move along a bit more quickly include:

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Your system needs to be well-hydrated to mount a strong immune response, and being hydrated will also thin your mucus secretions and make you more comfortable. Herbal teas and bone broth are your best bets. Bone broth also gives you collagen and minerals, all much-needed as your body fights the bugs. Chicken soup isn’t called “Jewish penicillin” for nothing!
  • Elderberry syrup: a very potent anti-viral, take 1 tsp twice a day if you feel something coming on, and double that dose if in fact you fall ill.

Over-the-counter cold medications can help with symptoms in varying degrees, but often produce a “rebound effect” and leave you feeling worse than before. And remember, antibiotics are for bacterial infections only, and will do nothing to help with a cold or flu virus.

Wishing you a happy, healthy winter!

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