Flu prevention is at the forefront of everyone’s mind this year and whether you’re dealing with a simple cold or the newest strain of “super-bug”, the following will assist you in maintaining a robust immune system to prevent and manage acute illnesses:
Choose healthy food. Diet plays a Foundational role in immunity. Think of it this way – the food you eat provides raw materials for your body to heal, grow, repair and restore. Avoid the less nutritious packaged, processed and fried foods. Instead, aim for a whole foods diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables and proteins, and remember, not all good food is good for you – be aware of food sensitivities. For example, dairy is especially adept at promoting mucous and congestion. It is best avoided if you have a productive cough, stuffy nose or if you are prone to sinus infections.
Increase foods that have properties that help fight off infections. Vegetables and spices offer a multitude of vitamins, minerals, as well as potent anti-viral and anti-microbial properties. They are excellent to help fight off infections, especially warming spices such as thyme, oregano, sage, cayenne, onions, garlic and ginger.
Stay hydrated. Water is at the foundation of all the body’s functions and structures. Consume half your body weight in ounces a day to support the healing process and proper elimination of toxins. Choose room temperature or warm water, as cold water cools the body down too much and impacts healing.
Keep well rested and avoid stressful situations. Chronic stress, fatigue and sleep deprivation all depress the immune system and increase susceptibility to colds and flus. Regular sleep, usually 6 to 8 hours nightly, allows the body to repair and heal. It is also important to find outlets for stress. Consider activities such as journaling, reading, mediation, relaxation exercises and breathing exercises. Regular, moderate physical activity is one of the best methods of reducing stress and boosting the immune system. Keep in mind that heavy, exhaustive exercise is counter-productive.
Be fastidious with personal hygiene. Practicing good body and oral hygiene on a daily basis is essential for building a strong immune system. Frequent hand washing with soap and warm water throughout the day is best – especially before and after food preparation, and after using the washroom. Avoid using harsh alcohol-based hand sanitizers regularly as your skin has a balance of good bacteria designed to act as a first-line defense system. Sneeze or cough into your forearm or tissue, not into your hands, and always wash up afterwards.
Keep warm to encourage a fever. Fevers are the body’s way of fighting infections. Talk to your naturopathic doctor about natural ways to manage a fever.
At the first sign of a cold or flu…
- Eat simple, warm and easy to digest foods.
- Use anti-microbial and anti-viral herbs to fight infections.
Talk to your Naturopathic Doctor about natural alternatives to the flu shot, as well as herbal medicines to assist your body in dealing with a cold or flu.
Seek naturopathic attention if the severity of symptoms increases or if the cold/flu lasts more than 7 days. Make sure to consult your Naturopathic Doctor prior to starting new treatments.
For more information about Dr. Iva Lloyd ND please visit: www.naturopathicfoundations.ca