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How To Prepare For Cold & Flu Season

How To Prepare For Cold and Flu SeasonFall is finally here and there are hints of cooler air in the mornings here in Central Texas!  Cold and flu season is quickly approaching, and I want to make sure that you are well prepared this season.

A healthy immune system is the best defense you have.  Below are some easy tips to stay healthy, as well as some of my favorite supplements as cold and flu season ramps up.

These are some easy tips to stay healthy:

Wash your the hands often:

Wash your hands often.  Choose plain soap and stay away from anti-bacterial soaps and hand sanitizers with triclosan because this chemical disrupts the health of the friendly (and immune boosting!) bacteria in your gut.

Eat the Rainbow:

Aim to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day that span all the colors of the rainbow every single day.  When you eat a varied and colorful diet, you supercharge the antioxidant and phytochemical properties of the fruits and veggies you are eating.

Decrease your sugar intake:

Sugar and sugary foods cause inflammation and suppress your immune system.  Stay away from sugary foods to keep your immune system optimized.

Load up on garlic:

Garlic contains the powerful compounds allicin and allion which have antiviral and detoxification properties.  Add raw, fresh garlic to your stews or soups – make sure you chop it up, as this activates the antiviral compounds in garlic. Or make a simple tea by immersing chopped garlic into a cup of boiling water and let it steep for a few minutes.

These are a few supplements that are beneficial to take regularly during the fall and winter: 

Probiotics

A high quality probiotic is a wonderful way to support your immune system.   80% of your immune system lives in your gut, and supporting a healthy microbiome is key for supporting your immune system.

Adults: Aim for at least 50 billion CFUs of a multistrain probiotic daily
Kids: Aim for at least 25 billion CFUs multistrain probiotic daily

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 modulates the immune system.  It’s like an orchestra conductor – if the conductor is really short, the orchestra won’t be able to follow along optimally.  The same goes for vitamin D – if your levels are low, then it won’t be able to direct your immune system optimally.

Adults: A good starting dose is 5,000 IU daily
Kids:  Aim for 2,000 IU daily

Vitamin C

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant that allows your immune system to fight off bacterial and viral infections.

Adults: Aim for at least 1000 mg daily
Kids: Aim for 500 mg daily

Elderberry extract 

This high antioxidant fruit extract has anti-infective properties against the flu virus. It actually prevents it from spreading from cell to cell. In studies that looked at its efficacy against influenza strains A & B, Elderberry was found to shorten the duration of the flu from the typical 7 days to 4 days.

Elderberry can be taken prophylactically throughout the cold and flu season, and can also be taken during an acute infection.

For Daily Maintenance (Liquid Elderberry Extract)
Adults: Take 2 teaspoons (10 mL) daily.
Children: Take 1 Teaspoon (5 mL) daily.

For Intensive Use (Liquid Elderberry Extract)
Adults: Take 2 teaspoons (10 mL) four times daily.
Children: Take 1 teaspoon (5 mL) four times daily.

You can also learn how to make you own elderberry extract here.

So, as you head into the fall and winter, support your immune system on the daily for a painless and easy cold and flu season.