Hopefully it’s coming to an end but flu activity this season is the worst we’ve seen in over a decade, The flu vaccine is less than 20% effective against the current strain of flu. So what can we do to protect ourselves in effort to prevent? What can we do to support our bodies and boost our immune system if good ol’ influenza comes knocking at your door?
Proper nutrition can help ward off the flu or during a bout of the flu can help to limit the severity and duration of the illness, which helps to prevent the flu from escalating. One way to boost the immune system is to maintain a vitamin C regimen. 1,000-2,000 mg of vitamin C/day may reduce severity of symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness. Consuming adequate produce is another simple way to boost immunity since they are loaded with Vit C and other antioxidants. A few favorites to add are citrus fruit, cabbage, broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potato, and spinach.
Include in your meal planning a healthy level of good bacteria. Incorporating probiotics is valuable in restoring levels of these healthy bacteria in our body to protect us from infection. A quality probiotic supplement is recommended but remember to always take after antibiotic use. A few fermented foods to include are kefir, yogurt (make sure the label says it contains “live active culture”) and sauerkraut.
We experience fevers because the body’s defense mechanism is heating up in effort to kill the virus. This can cause loses of vital fluids, especially if you experience vomiting and diarrhea, so it’s crucial to rehydrate. Keeping the kidneys hydrated will naturally support the immune and lymphatic system. Our lymphatic system filters out foreign invaders and it’s comprised of mostly water. Since our lymphatic system and immune system work synergistically, it’s imperative to keep drinking those fluids which will keep everything moving smoothly.
Try sipping on this tea to prevent the flu but if already contracted, it will help you recover more quickly.
Mulled Apple Cider
Serves: 4 cups
4 cups apple cider
3-4 cups water
1 tbsp. dried ginger
star anise pods
3 whole cinnamon sticks
2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. allspice
Put all ingredients into a soup pot and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to simmer.
Cover and simmer for one hour.
Physical exhaustion is a common symptom of the flu. Light meals such as chicken or veggie soup with homemade bone broth let the body divert it’s energy to the healing process rather than straining to digest a large meal. Let yourself rest and sleep to allow your body to recuperate. Good sleep cycles help the immune system work well.
When you have yellow or green phlegm, reach for garlic. It helps your body suppress infection. Garlic is an antibiotic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial and can work wonders.
When you have clear phlegm, reach for ginger. It is a muscle relaxant and may have the power to reduce coughing and inflammation. Adding 1-2 tsp of raw honey to ginger tea. A cough can be a good thing; your body is trying to get rid of mucus that may be collecting in your lungs. However, a persistent cough may be annoying if it keeps you up at night. Ginger can help with nausea too.
Herbs to include: Oregano is a powerhouse of flu-fighting properties since it’s antibacterial, anti-fungal, and an antioxidant. Rosemary is highly antiviral and antibacterial. Thyme is a powerful antimicrobial remedy. Echinacea acts as an anti-inflammatory, which can help reduce bronchial symptoms of the flu.
Keep your immune system strong throughout the year!