Fall is here and the flu season and flu shot marketing is upon us! You can head on over to your local grocery store and they will offer you a free flu shot. The flu shot comes with a bit of pain though and I’m all about avoiding pain. In the past, they have selected the wrong flu strain and some people who got the flu shot still ended up getting the flu. This makes me question the necessity of the flu shot and look further into alternatives to preventing the flu that you can easily implement into your life to avoid the flu naturally this season.
During the 2012-2013 flu season, the flu vaccine’s effectiveness was found to be just 56 percent across all age groups reviewed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) —in essence, the statistical equivalent of a coin toss. In seniors, aged 65 and over, the US flu vaccines were only nine percent effective. With such a low success rate, it is advisable to start taking your health into your own hands and adopting some great prevention measures into your lifestyle.
Supplements to Boost Your Immune System
To ensure that your body fights off any flu virus that it comes across, you want to ensure that your immune system is functioning in tip-top shape. For starters, you’ll want to ensure that you are giving your body enough antioxidants. They are very important for immune function.
- Glutathione is the primary antioxidant in your body. It is responsible for enhancing the immune system and helping with detoxification. Curcurmin is an excellent antioxidant. It is the orange pigment that is present in turmeric.
- Curcurmin improves joint health and cardiovascular function.
- Vitamin C provides strong antioxidant protection and supports optimal immune function.
- Zinc is another great antioxidant that plays a crucial role in immune health. Within the immune system, zinc is essential for gene regulation and the functioning of neutrophils, natural killer cells, and lymphocytes, which are all types of white blood cells.
The health benefits of exercise are numerous. Exercise should not be overlooked when it comes to preventing illness and staying in shape. Exercise provides the immune system with the ability to rid the body of toxins through perspiration, the simulation of the lymphatic system and oxygenation. It will also boost the immune system by increasing the circulation throughout your body. Increased circulation enables antibodies to travel through your bloodstream faster, making it easier for your immune system to fight off illnesses.
Reducing your stress through exercise can boost your immune system. It allows the release of stress hormones in the body. Stress is known to suppress our immune systems and therefore make us more vulnerable to colds and viruses. Consider meditation, yoga, or acupuncture.
Regular exercise decreases your likelihood of acquiring a cold or other viral illness. Studies have shown this. In one study, staying active cut the risk of acquiring a cold by fifty percent, and reduced the severity of the cold symptoms by thirty on percent among those individuals who did catch a cold. Researchers pointed out that each round of exercise leads to a boost in circulating the immune system cells that ward off viruses.
Exercise improves the circulation of the blood, but also the circulation of the immune cells. The job of these cells is to neutralize pathogens throughout your body. The more efficiently these cells circulate, the more effective your immune system becomes at locating and defending against pathogens and viruses that may otherwise wreak havoc in your body.
Because exercise plays such a crucial role in stimulating the lymphatic system and circulating the immune cells, it is vital to treat exercise like a medicine. It must be done daily to enjoy the most benefits.
Drink Plenty of Water
Your body is made up of 70% water. When you become even slightly dehydrated, your body has to ration the water to the most essential tasks. This can compromise your body’s ability to eliminate wastes and fight infections. Having a good supply of water ensures that your body has the essential elements to flush toxins and viruses out of your system.
Check Your Diet
Sugars will suppress the immune system, but often during the holidays, we reduce our activity levels and increase our sugar consumption. We need to start doing the opposite! Reducing your consumption of sugars and increasing your exercise regimen will be far more effective in preventing the flu than any flu shot that you receive.
An excess amount of carbohydrates that come in the form of grains and sugars is very disruptive to the gut flora. Pathogenic flora, bacteria, yeast and fungi feed off of sugar and can set your immune system up for an easy attack by a respiratory virus, such as the influenza. Eight percent of your immune system lies in your gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, controlling your sugar intake is imperative for optimizing your immune system.
Another great idea is to make sure that you are ingesting plenty of beneficial bacteria in the foods that you eat. Fermented foods provide the gut lining with a diversity of bacteria that will help you digest your foods.
It’s worth noting that each mouthful of fermented food can provide trillions of beneficial bacteria—far more than you can get from a probiotics supplement, which will typically provide you with colony-forming units in the billions. I thought this would be a good analysis, so I tested fermented vegetables produced with our probiotic starter culture to determine their probiotic potency and was astounded to discover they had 10 trillion colony-forming units of bacteria. Literally, one serving of vegetables was equal to an entire bottle of a high potency probiotic! Fermented foods also give you a wider variety of beneficial bacteria, so all in all, it’s a more cost effective alternative. Fermenting your own foods can provide even greater savings, and is actually easier than you might think.
You can avoid the flu this season with natural prevention strategies. I have successfully prevented the flu for the last four decades of my life without ever getting a flu shot. (Shh…don’t tell my doctor!) Your body has an amazing ability to fight off colds and even the flu if you make sure that your are in good shape and eating healthy foods.