One of the most widely read posts on my blog is about recovering from a virus and recovering from adrenal exhaustion. People find it by googling because they’re trying to get well.
I want to share some good advice on preventing colds and the flu, based on what is known now. The immune system is an area of interest to researchers, but without a lot of solid conclusions, so far. What I’m sharing here is the best we know now, simplified, and now of course is when it counts.
You can prevent a lot of illness by managing your life in a way so that you experience less stress. Take care with your work and relationships, whatever stresses you. Know what you can handle and don’t be afraid to set healthy-for-you boundaries. Remember, stress turns on the bad genes as well as lowering immunity.
I theorize that the body has a limited amount of energy, which you can boost somewhat naturally (another topic for another day), and when the body is experiencing stress, it diverts energy from your immune system so it’s easier for you to get sick.
When something does get by your immune system, it’s natural to rest, and that helps your immune system have the resources to fight off the invaders. This isn’t scientific but makes sense to me.
When you feel like you’re coming down with something, go home and rest. There is nothing to be gained by toughing it out, and you may be putting others at risk.
We know now that diet plays a major role in overall health. Eating processed foods makes your body run less effectively, adding to your stress levels. Avoiding gluten, sugar, and other processed foods and getting plenty of fruits and veggies goes a long way toward keeping you feeling well. If you don’t like them, give it some time. Your taste buds change.
And…getting adequate nutrients from a variety of fresh, healthy foods is preferable over taking supplements. Food will always be fresher, with living enzymes not found in supplements.
There is evidence that microorganisms in your gut influence your immune system. Even though we’re just now learning about much of this, it couldn’t hurt for you to do whatever you can to improve the health of your gut biome.
- First, keep candida levels down. A tablespoon of raw, unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s) in a glass of water daily can help, but if your levels are too high (even to the point of causing brain fog), you need to do the stringent candida diet, avoiding all sugars and fermented foods and fungi for several months. Get the book The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates. It helped me.
- Also, if you suspect you have leaky gut syndrome (food allergies, malnutrition, autoimmune issues), make bone broth or take gelatin daily.
- Don’t eat fermented foods until you’ve taken care of these two things! They feed the microorganisms you don’t want.
- For a well-researched article on leaky gut syndrome, read this.
Drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, exercise regularly – you know the drill. Take care of yourself.
I know that some people are holding out for Western medicine to come up with a “cure” — a magic pill you can take that will restore your health and vitality. It would be so much easier than changing what you have eaten your whole life.
The problem with that is that you may not still be around when or if that magic pill gets invented. Treating health problems that stem from dysfunction in your gut biome is a new area of science. For mainstream medicine to incorporate it will take decades. Plus, prescription medicine has side effects, and sometimes people end up taking another medicine to deal with the side effects.
There’s gotta be a better way.
It seems to me the more successful choice is to jump in with both feet and find those role models who have reversed their own diabetes or Hashimoto’s or whatever, and do what they do. Find those practitioners who are working holistically to get their patients’ bodies back in balance. Talk to their patients. Are they getting results?
If the flu or a cold is making the rounds where you live, here are some things you can do to boost your immunity, so that hopefully you won’t get sick, and if you do get sick, you can recover faster.
- First line of defense is to avoid toxins: Wash your hands frequently! Carry hand sanitizer with you and use it after touching things that others who are sick may have touched (door handles, grocery cart handles, etc.). Avoid being around sick people.
- Get 15-25 mg of zinc per day. It’s highest in oysters, lobster, crab, beef, lamb, pork, egg yolks, dark chocolate (85% is best; it has less sugar). You were looking for an excuse for a seafood dinner or a chocolate treat, and now you’ve got one. Supplement the zinc if necessary.
- Add more garlic to your food. Have everyone around you do the same, and there’s no problem with garlic breath!
- Don’t take NSAIDs like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and more.
- Don’t take antibiotics.
- Drink a glass of water with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in it every morning. If a tablespoon is too much, try a teaspoon and gradually increase. Even if your candida levels are low, ACV will help keep them low. It increases alkalinity (known to boost health) and contains nutrients as well as fighting pathogens.
Beyond that, there’s anecdotal evidence that these substances help boost immunity: ginger, reishi mushrooms (I buy them ground up into a powder that I add to my daily green drinks), and home-made chicken soup (even better, make it with bone broth).
I’m looking forward to learning about new discoveries about the immune system, and meanwhile, I’ve looked at dozens of articles and summarized them here, using information that seems most credible, in a way that’s easily digested (no pun intended), and doable. Good luck!