Well, it’s back. Flu Season is upon us and it should not be taken lightly. According to the CDC, over 36,000 Americans are killed each year from the flu. Of course the flu shot is always an option, but we understand not everyone sees this as the best option. Choosing the flu shot for your loved one depends upon your beliefs. Ultimately, you should consult your doctor to see if the flu shot is the best fit for your loved one.
In the meantime, we at Poet’s Walk, A Spring Hills Memory Care Community, have asked some wellness experts to share 5 tips for staying flu free this winter. The expertise of these individuals and all of their contributions is tremendous. Feel free to contact them for more information. These tips will leave you feeling healthier than you did before the winter season.
Flu Prevention Tip #1 – Adequate Hydration
Aside from nutrition, your best weapon toward preventing the flu is adequate hydration. While getting 8 hours of quality sleep helps your body heal, it’s imperative that you focus on the right foods, combined with proper hydration levels to give yourself the best opportunity to fight off any illness. Allowing yourself to become even mildly dehydrated prevents your lymphatic system from moving the cells that help to fight the flu.
The theory of “sweating” the flu out of your system is just that, a theory. However, there is some truth deep inside this theory. If you feel well enough to workout, you help your ability to fight by increasing your metabolism, aka sweating.
The resulting spike in your metabolism boosts your body’s ability to fight off infection. Your metabolism will remain relatively high for some hours, giving you plenty of time to recover. However, I don’t recommend overdoing it.
Also, taking Vitamin D is much more successful in preventing illness than Vitamin C. Try taking at least 5000mg per day to stay healthy.
Flu Prevention Tip #2 – Keep your Immune System Healthy
Rest is a critical part of having a healthy immune system. It’s easy to get rest, but what’s difficult is getting the right type of rest. Here at Elite Core Fitness, we suggest our clients to get to bed by 10pm and wake up around 6am. Those 8 hours are critical to your daily success and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The body does most of its physical repair time from 10pm to 2am. Many people think all sleep is good, but no one takes the time to think about good sleep. I recommend to start thinking about what good sleep looks like. Getting on a consistent schedule for sleep is very important.
As you know winter is here and that calls for warmer foods. A way to keep your immune system healthy is to incorporate bone broths into your diet. Bone broths, such as chicken soup, beef stew, and more, are packed full of nutrients. Bone Broths are easier to digest and will put less stress on the digestive system. By eliminating this type of stress on your body it will help your body fight infections and allow your entire body to feel better.
I strongly encourage you to begin making your own broths and stews at home. They may take more time, but it’s more cost efficient over time. Using chicken feet and chicken backs are really good for chicken broth. Adding grass fed beef cubes, carrots, onions, cauliflower, kale, and garlic will give the body the nutrients it needs to fight off the nasty cold throughout the tough winter season.
Flu Prevention Tip #3 – Drink The Garden
Although not literal, using broths are a good source of vitamins and minerals in your diet. I have been making broths for over 25 years and broths are an essential piece to anyone’s diet. The more organic, the better.
A great way to make a broth is to use your veggie scraps. Take all of that good veggie matter and incorporate it into your diet. Not only are you lowering your food cost but use every bit of the plant, not just the salad bar itself. By incorporating broths into your diet, you’re adding a natural alternative, rather than over the counter alternatives such as Ensure.
When you brew a broth you’re making a tea from the garden. You’re taking all of the minerals and nutrients that not only make you more hydrated but you’re becoming denser and obtaining a more organized approach to hydration.
Use anti-inflammatory vegetables like garlic, ginger, onions and other anti fungal properties. These are all stimulated for the immune system and allow you to not only become more in touch with the garden, but now you’re able to drink from it.
Flu Prevention Tip #4 – Eat AntiViral Foods
When people are worried about getting the flu, they think of immunity as something external like who they come in contact with or what vaccine they have had. The truth is immunity is internal. To build up your immune system to fight off viruses, try these simple tricks you may not have heard of anywhere else:
Take 5000 IU of vitamin D3 daily – this activates your immune system and most people are vitamin D deficient.
Try starting the day with a cup of hot tea containing lemon, apple cider vinegar (just a splash) and raw honey. These ingredients have antiviral and antibacterial properties and will lower the acidity in your body and make your body less hospitable to the flu! If you start to feel sick, add fresh ginger, and you will feel better by midday.
Use a humidifier (preferably an airwasher) every night! This keeps nasal passages moist and avoids over secretion of mucous, which is a resting home for viruses.
Flu Prevention Tip #5 – Nutritional Timing
Maintaining a balanced diet rich in nutrients is a sure-fire way to boost your immune system and help prevent catching the flu this season. There are many myths and common misconceptions about overall wellness, including modern dietary fads. Instead of following trendy diets, one of the best ways to stay energized and maintain a resilient immune system is to time your nutritional intake.
The key to proper nutrition is discovering the ratio of nutrients your body can process per meal and the overall amount of nutrients needed daily. Your body needs a specific ratio of fat, carbohydrates and protein per day. Eating a surplus of food can overwhelm the body and leave you sluggish and overly full. Your body will excrete some nutrients or store them as fat from over eating, which means you may lose the absorption of vital nutrients due to over-consumption. It is important to ingest the appropriate amount of nutrients and develop a system to spread your intake out over the entire day in small meals/snacks.
Furthermore, timing nutrients around vigorous exercise will assist your body with recovery. Find ways to integrate post-workout recovery methods such as a yogurt and fruit smoothie. Finding out the proper ratio and amount of nutrients per day varies person to person. Meeting with a dietician or fitness professional can provide you with the tools you need to implement nutritional timing. Nutrition is key to maintaining a healthy immune system and avoiding the flu!
Using each of these tips in moderation will help decrease your chances of getting the flu and increase your overall health and wellness. Every person and every body is different. Use what works best for you and your loved ones.
We’d like to thank all who contributed to this article. If you’d like to connect with any of our contributors further, we have attached their information again below:
- Lynne Bloom | Wwner of Health Family Health Coaching |healthyfamilyhealthcoaching.com
- Anthony Bottos, NASM CPT, CES | Owner of Fitbott | com
- Craig King | King’s Broth http://www.kingsbroth.com
- Jim Burdumy | Founder of Elite Core | http://www.elitecorefitness.net
- Christopher Costa | Strength & Conditioning Coach at aP Assist Performance http://www.assistperformance.com