Nothing dampens your mood more than getting the flu unexpectedly–-especially before an important event or a deadline at work. Here are some great ideas to boost your immune system to prevent colds and the flu from surprising you when you least expect it.
Keep Your Nasal Passages Moist
Keep your nasal passages moist to avoid that stuffed-up feeling:
- Use a humidifier in your bedroom. Add three to five drops of an essential oil (i.e., lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, or peppermint) to the water to prevent bacteria and mold overgrowth. Keep the humidifier clean by washing it with Hydrogen Peroxide every three days.
- Do a saline nasal irrigation morning and night. You can either use a Neti Pot, Ocean nasal spray, or a homemade saline solution. For the home-made solution, mix 1 cup of boiled water with ¼ teaspoon of salt, and ⅛ teaspoon of baking soda thoroughly.
- Apply Vicks VapoRub to the nostrils after the saline nasal rinse.
Prevention is Better Than a Cure
Prevent the onslaught of a cold with these hygiene tips:
- Wash your hands after using the bathroom, before preparing and eating food, and whenever you are changing a diaper or caring for someone who is sick.
- Avoid antibacterial soap. Regular soap works just fine.
Immune Boosters in Your Diet
Adjust your diet to incorporate these immune boosting foods:
- Eat warm, cooked, whole foods throughout the day. Either steam or sauté your food in oil and avoid boiling food.
- Have a variety of fresh foods which consist of 70% vegetables (mostly leafy greens), 15% small beans and seeds, and 10% whole grains (with little wheat and white rice). This diet is rich in protein, vitamins, and antioxidants which keeps you strong.
- Snack on fresh fruit, plain pre-soaked seeds (i.e., flax, pumpkin, and chia), and nuts (i.e., almonds and walnuts).
- Have animal protein like free-range eggs and poultry, wild small fish (i.e., salmon) only two to three times per week maximum. Try also to avoid these at dinner time.
- Stay hydrated! Drink warm water when you wake up in the morning. To accelerate hydration, add lemon, ginger, and ½ teaspoon of the spice turmeric to the water, and sip it all day long.
- Make breakfast and lunch the day’s biggest meals. Have little to nothing for dinner.
- Chew your food slowly and eat without any distractions.
Avoid Foods That Hurt the Immune System
As much as the right foods in your diet are good for your immune system, certain foods can be harmful to it. Adjust your diet to cut out these foods:
- Avoid caffeinated beverages (i.e., coffee, black tea, chai, soda, and energy drinks)
- Avoid fruit juices, soda, Vitamin Water, Gatorade, and alcohol.
- Avoid using artificial sweeteners.
- Avoid processed, pre-packaged, and frozen foods, as well as products containing refined sugar and flour (i.e., baked goods, sweets, granola bars, chips, candy, dry cereal, protein bars, and crackers).
- Avoid fried foods and red meat.
- Limit your intake of wheat-based products such as bread and pasta, as well as foods like white rice and white potatoes.
- Limit cow’s milk products (i.e., milk, cheese, ice cream, sour cream, and cream cheese).
Immune Boosting Habits
Certain practices can boost immunity to help you fight off a cold:
- Try to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Keep the same sleep schedule every day.
- Exercise for at least thirty minutes every day.
- Get outside for at least thirty minutes every day.
If All Else Fails – Take Supplements
Supplements are an excellent way to help boost your immune system. There are many immune booster supplements to choose from, but here is a list that will make it easier for you to decide:
- Take a refrigerated non-dairy based probiotic once or twice a day for four months. When choosing a probiotic, look for these bacterial ingredients:
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG: 10 billion organisms
- Lactobaccillus reuteri: 100 million organisms
- Saccharomyces boulardii: 200 -250 mg
- Bifidobacterium infantis: 100 million organisms
- Take a multivitamin containing 1,000 IU of Vitamin D, 15-20 mg of Zinc, and 1,000mg of Vitamin C. Crush the vitamin and place into a fresh cup of leafy green vegetable juice every morning.
- Take Vitamin D3 5,000 IU each day.
- Take a complex B every day.
- Take refrigerated Fish Oil 2,000 to 3,000 mg with the day’s largest meal or two tablespoons of flaxseed powder sprinkled on food each day.
- Take Melatonin 0.5 mg to 1 mg two hours before bedtime.
Integrative Healthcare Solutions
If you struggle to get a handle on your immune system – or any other ailment for that matter – visit Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. for a new way to understand the root cause of any medical problem. You will instantly feel welcomed in her presence while she patiently and persistently gets to the bottom of your health issues. With her exceptional care and guidance you will quickly see an improvement in your overall health.