Posts Tagged ‘anti-flu substances’

How to Avoid Getting the Flu

December 19, 2012

Evidently we are having an early and intense flu season. Not the kind of holiday gift anyone wants. So here are a few suggestions to help prevent getting ill:

SLEEP enough. Yes, there are parties, relatives, visiting, yummy holiday food, movies, end of the year to do lists. However, even healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night…and many folks need more that their usual amount in the dark time of the year. Do not skimp. If you feel tired, nap or go to sleep a little earlier. Check in with yourself: do I really want to do whatever it is that I’ve planned and said I’ll do. Taking care ahead of time: prevention is easier than curing, though not always as much fun as pushing ourselves…until we get sick!

In the Chinese medical system, winter is about nourishing our kidneys, as well as keeping them physically warm. Try eating a bit more of the following foods: cranberries, spinach, sesame seeds, sardines, broccoli, garbanzo beans, garlic, parsley, celery, and fish (especially Pacific salmon). Green tea, lemon water, shiitake mushrooms, ginger, and vinegar are very nourishing and helpful.

Drink enough water, and hold the ice. Now is the season for warm teas, bone broths, and soups.

Moderation: not too much protein, sugar (well, I am hardly going to say none, as even I eat the Christmas cookies my 84-year-old mom bakes), starches or fast food. Try substituting winter squash, pumpkin, yams, sweet potatoes, and purple potatoes for bread and sugary starches.  Go ahead and add a small amount of molasses, raw honey or maple syrup to your yams or baked apple and call it desert instead of ice cream or other cold sugary sweets.

Herbs that boost immunity: Astragalus, Suma, Rhodiola, Jiaogulan, Tulsi (Holy) basil, Brahmi (Bacopa), and most medicinal mushrooms. If you feel something coming on, or have been exposed to coughing and sneezing, take Echinacea, Elderberry and/or Olive leaf.

WASH your hands and keep them away from your face.

Laugh. Take time for yourself. Breathe deeply. Walk. And for some helpful tips on how to stay healthy if you are out in public places, check out this article from Rodale HERE.

Happy Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year! May this season be a healthy and happy one for you and all whom you love.

 

Increasing Our Immunity, Stabilizing Mood As Winter Approaches

November 8, 2011

Autumn is in full swing and winter is around the corner. With these changes, vitamin D levels among the population on the North American continent north of the Mexico border drop. The fact is above the 45th parallel it is reported that from November to February/March, even on a sunny blue-sky day, the angle of the sun is such that vitamin D production when bare skin is exposed is dramatically diminished.

Many of us experience shifts in mood during the winter months. To offset winter mood imbalances, alternative health practitioners recommend that folks have their vitamin D 25 OH levels measured. The range is 20-100 for most laboratories. Yet, falling within the range does not necessarily mean you are good to go. For many, a target  blood level of at least 55, for a 25 OH vitamin D blood test is considered beneficial. Of course the target blood range is different for everyone, and one’s health care provider can best determine what the best range is for a given individual. Also, it’s very important to take the blood test now through December, as Vitamin D declines in fall and winter if one isn’t taking any supplemental D.

From GreenMedInfo comes this great compilation of natural substances to take to increase immunity, or to hit a cold or the flu at the first signs:

While there are a broad spectrum of natural substanceswhich have been studied for their anti-influenza properties, vitamin D deserves special consideration due to the fact that it is indispensable to produce antiviral peptides (e.g. cathelicidin) within the immune system, and can be supported for pennies a day.

A study  published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2010, revealed that children receiving 1200 IUs of vitamin D a day were at 59% reduced risk for contracting seasonal Influenza A infection. Moreover as a secondary outcome, only 2 children in the treatment group versus 12 for the control group, experienced an asthma attack.

There are actually a broad range of preventive strategies that are evidence-based, and available without prescription.

    1)   Echinacea Tea: J Altern Complement Med. 2000 Aug;6(4):327-34
    2)   Elderberry:  J Altern Complement Med. 1995 Winter;1(4):361-9.
    3) American Ginseng:  J Altern Complement Med. 2006 Mar;12(2):153-7.
    4) Green Tea: J Nutr. 2011 Oct ;141(10):1862-70. Epub   2011 Aug 10.
    5) Probiotics: Pediatrics. 2009 Aug;124(2):e172-9.
    6) Vitamin D: PLoS One. 2010;5(6):e11088. Epub 2010 Jun 14.

And be sure to take Vitamin D3, which is the natural, assimilable form. Vitamin D2 is synthetic, and does not work as well.