Avoid Colds and Flu
It is called “the colds and flu season” because so many get sick during that time. But, you and your family don’t have to be victims. Follow these steps to be the “lucky” ones who don’t get whatever is going around at school or the office.
- Some of the common seasonal advice is useful. For example, the guidance to avoid close contact with sick people, cough into your sleeve and wash your hands often makes sense. That is especially important when you are touching railings, knobs and buttons in public places. Sanitizing hand gels also help. Unless you have just washed your hands, don’t be tempted to rub your eyes or pick a dry winter booger because you might be putting germs right where they can quickly set up shop.
- The conventional wisdom explanation for having a “season” for these upper respiratory ailments is only part of the story. Yes, the air might be drier and we might be inside around more people, e.g. at school. However, another important factor is that because we are indoors we do not get as much sunshine. As you surely know by now, sun exposure is how nature intended us to manufacture vitamin D. However, you may not fully appreciate how critical vitamin D is for avoiding infectious disease (as well as cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, asthma, autoimmune conditions and much more.) Over half of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D all year and this “sunshine” vitamin is obviously even scarcer in the winter. The current enlightened thinking is that it takes supplements of 5,000-10,000 IU a day to reach optimum blood levels. Learn more at this Library link and at the non-profit Vitamin D Council.
- Another seasonal anomaly is our increased intake of sugar starting before Halloween. Sugar acts as a major drag on the immune system for several hours. Nuts and fruit will help dull the cravings. If you have a hard time avoiding sugar—even feel addicted—you may have too much yeast in your system. Yeasts make chemicals that tell you to find their favorite foods—sugars and starch. To learn more about that problem take the yeast quiz. Sugar and the bad company it keeps (e.g. refined flour, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, emulsifiers and contaminants such heavy metals and agricultural chemicals) damage the friendly bacteria in our digestive systems. Not good because they make up 75% of our immune function. Studies show that supplementing probiotics reduces the incidence of respiratory infections.
- While some blame the heavier winter foods for dragging us down, it seems more likely that the problem is not so much what is added but what is missing. Most people eat lighter fare in the summer and that includes fruits and salads. Those contain plant antioxidants that help immune function and they are also a source of vitamin C. Many studies show that regular intake of vitamin C reduces the incidence and severity of colds. Here is a recent example.
- Hustle, bustle and stress seem to pick up in the fall and winter. Those may in turn interfere with sleep. Stress and sleep deprivation are well known to reduce immune function. So, avoid burning the candle at both ends. Prioritize your to-do list. If something at the bottom doesn’t get done…oh well, at least you will be healthy enough to tackle it tomorrow!
- Due to unfortunate changes over time in our food supply and diet, most people are low in the mineral zinc. To date, zinc is known to perform over 100 functions in the body. One important job is to keep the thymus gland vital and producing immune cells to fight off disease. Read Bill Sardi’s enlightening article about this important nutrient and how to get the kind of zinc that will be absorbed and used. That is important, because an excess of the wrong kind can interfere with our ability to use the right kind. He also has a fascinating one about the flu protection that we get from eating eggs.
Choose to not participate in the colds and flu season!
Copyright Martie Whittekin, CCN 2009-2018