As we approach the flu season, it’s a worth thinking about and acting on 10 basic principles that will go a long way in reducing your risk of getting the flu in the coming months. Ensuring a strong foundation of health will help decrease the risk of getting colds and flu.
- Frequently Wash Your Hands
The number one principle is very obvious, which can prevent respiratory infections and flu. Ensure you clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Don’t touch your face or mouth without thoroughly washing your hands first. You can’t imagine how many germs and bacteria can be found on a handrail and door handles in London underground and other public areas.
- Look After Your Gut
Your gut is your doorway to health, as nearly 80% of your immune system is found in your gut. To make sure your gut is in the best condition, take a good probiotics blend. This way you will be able to maintain a balance between good and bad bacteria to protect you from any infections.
- Cut Down On Sugar and Alcohol Consumption
During a holiday season we can potentially consume more treats and alcohol. Did you know that ingesting too much sugar can reduce your immune system function, and therefore, make it harder for your body to deal with flu or other infections? Over-consumption of sugar can also have a negative effect on gut infections, including Candida and SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), both of which can make you more vulnerable to infections and lead to leaky gut.
And even moderate alcohol drinking suppresses your central nervous system, and consequently your immune system.
- Combat Stress
Stress is known to reduce your immunity. Take into consideration activities such as meditation, yoga, or acupuncture. Also, take time to relax in a bath, go for a walk or do something that helps decrease your stress level.
- Sleep! Get 7-9 Hours Every Night
During a restorative sleep your body is able to recover from daily toxin exposure. It has been shown that chronic sleep deprivation can drastically lower immune function.
- Take an Immune Booster
Give your immune system an extra boost with a supplement containing immunoglobulins and protein, such as Colostrum, which is the first milk after birth intended to strengthen the immune system.
The immunoglobulins in colostrum will boost your IgA antibodies – which are your body’s first line of defence. These IgA antibodies are produced by immune cells in your gut and can neutralise and even remove harmful pathogens and toxins, such as those that come with recurrent sickness and bacterial imbalances.
- Supplement with Glutathione and Turmeric
Antioxidants are vital for your immune function. Glutathione is the mother antioxidant in your body, responsible for boosting your immune system and improving detoxification of your liver. Curcumin is the orange pigment in turmeric and a powerful free radical scavenger that improves joint health and cardiovascular function. My top supplement Nrf2 synergiser contains turmeric and also boosts your body’s natural glutathione production.
- Boost Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a great immune system modulator, consequently helping fight off infections. Optimal levels range from 50 to 70 ng/mL, so I recommend taking between 2,000-5,000IU per day. However, before supplementing check your current Vitamin D status. The best time to check it is now after Summer and in March after Winter. Ensure your vitamin D supplement is paired with vitamin K that it is absorbed and doesn’t lead to artery calcifications.
- Drink Bone Broth
A typical Polish soup on Sunday was chicken soup also called bone broth. My mum used to give it to me when I felt under the weather and it always helped! Bone broth is exceptionally helpful for your immune system. In fact, a study published in the journal Chest showed that “chicken soup may contain a number of substances with beneficial medicinal activity 1. A mild anti-inflammatory effect could be one mechanism by which the soup could result in the mitigation of symptomatic upper respiratory tract infections”.
Bone broth can reduce inflammation thanks to amino acids, including glycine and proline. However, if you don’t like chicken soup or don’t have time to prepare it, you can supplement with collagen, which has also shown to support your immune system and gut lining to protect your body from pathogens.
A moderate amount of exercise can enhance your immune system by improving your circulation. As a result of increased circulation, antibodies can move through your bloodstream faster, allowing your immune system to fight off an infection. Exercise can also boost your immune system by reducing stress and reducing the release of stress hormones in the body.
Supporting your gut health, strengthening your immune system, and remaining rested and stress-free (whenever possible) are not only the basic principles to avoiding the flu, but also will keep you on the path to optimal health.
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