Flu season is upon us; with it comes the onslaught of public messages by the Center for Disease Control, doctors, and pharmacies, urging you to “get your flu shot.” Over the past several years, there has been an increase in research on the effectiveness of the flu shot and questions raised about how much protection it actually offers against the most serious influenzas.
Fortunately, if you’re on the fence about getting the flu shot, or have decided against it, there are several simple, natural prevention measures you can take to stay healthy and boost your immune system.
Natural Ways to Keep Colds and Flu Away
- Optimize Vitamin D Levels. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) supplements are 8 times more effective than flu shots! Take 1,000-5,000IU/day (children), 5,000IU/day (teenagers), 5,000-10,000IU/day (adults). Have blood levels tested to assure that your levels are within the recommended 50-80 ng/dl range.
- Eat Less Sugar, Grain and Processed Foods and Eat More Fruits and Vegetables. Sugar, grains and processed foods cause systemic inflammation and impair immune response, making it much easier to get the cold and flu. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals that help boost your immune system and reduce inflammation.
- Drink Green Tea Instead of Soda. The polyphenols in green tea are antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral. They have been shown to block viruses from spreading to other cells.
- Get Regular, Good Quality Sleep. Try to get 6-8 hours a night and go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
- Exercise on a Consistent Basis. Exercise helps boost your immune system and the circulation of immune cells.
- Reduce Stress and Have Effective Tools to Manage Stress. When stress builds up it wears on your immune system making you more susceptible. Make an effort to find solutions to manage stress before it builds up and breaks you down.
- Be Aware of Sick People Around You and Wash Your Hands. When you are around coughing, sick people, avoid breathing in their germs. Also, wash your hands to reduce the chance of spreading viruses to your nose and mouth. Avoid anti-bacterial soaps as they are no more effective than regular soap and they contribute to antibiotic resistance.
- Get Your Chiropractic Adjustments! Several studies have shown spinal adjustments stimulate the immune system into action to fight foreign viruses and bacteria.