Have You Thought About What You’re Eating?
If your diet contains a lot of refined sugars, grains and processed foods, you’re not doing your body any favors this flu season. Instead of giving your body the fuel it needs to function optimally, which means being healthy enough to fight off infectious viruses, you’re giving it more toxic elements that it must overcome.
For instance, too many carbohydrates in the form of sugar and grains is very unbalancing for your gut flora. Sugar is “fertilizer” for pathogenic bacteria, yeast, and fungi that can set your immune system up for an easy assault by a respiratory virus.
Most people don’t realize that 80 percent of your immune system actually lies in your gastrointestinal tract. That’s why controlling your sugar intake is crucial for optimizing your immune system.
Additionally, making sure you’re ingesting plenty of beneficial bacteria in the foods you eat, specifically fermented foods, is also crucial. In one study, 3- to 5-year-old children who received either a single strain or combination of beneficial bacteria called probiotics twice a day for six months had:
- Reduced fever by 53 percent and 73 percent respectively
- Decreased coughing by 41 percent and 62 percent
- Reduced runny noses by 28 percent and 59 percent
- Reduced antibiotic use by 68 percent and 84 percent (which is a major gain in and of itself because antibiotics are vastly overused in children and also devastate your gut flora)
You notice that whenever you’re sick you automatically want some homemade chicken broth?
What is the deal of chicken broth and flus? Well, the broth is believed to inhibit infections caused by cold and flu viruses.
Broth or “stock” plays an important role as it’s easily digestible, helps heal the lining of your gut, and contains valuable nutrients. Abnormalities in your immune system are a common outcome of GAPS, and such immune abnormalities can then allow for the development of virtually any degenerative disease.
- 1 whole free-range chicken, quartered
- Gizzards from one chicken (optional)
- 4 quarts filtered water
- 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 3 Tbsp. Rosemary
- 2 Tbsp. Oregano
- 1 Tbsp. Sea Salt
- Fill up a large slow-cooker with pure, filtered water
- Add vinegar and all vegetables to the water.
- Place the whole chicken into the pot.
- Set temperature to medium and cook for 8-10 hours.
- Carefully, remove the carcass and any icky stuff that has risen to the top.
- Remove any meat that you want to keep.
- Place the carcass back into the pot and continue cooking on low for 12-24 hours.
- Turn slow-cooker off and add the rosemary, oregano and salt; allow to cool for 2 hours.
- Remove bones from the broth with a slotted spoon and strain the rest through a strainer to remove any bone fragments.
Five More Steps to Avoiding the Flu Naturally
It’s a fact that disease-causing viruses and bacteria are all around us. Whether you come into contact with the flu or another variety, you need to focus on maintaining a robust and well-functioning immune system to avoid getting sick.
As mentioned, I believe optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the most potent preventive strategies available, followed by diet (including fermented foods to optimize your gut flora), stress relief, exercise and sleep.
There are other factors that can come into play too, of course. The following guidelines will also act in concert to support your immune system and help you avoid getting sick:
- Take a High-Quality Source of Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats. Increase your intake of healthy and essential fats like the omega-3 found in krill oil, which is crucial for maintaining health. It is also vitally important to avoid damaged omega-6 oils (think vegetable oils) as it will seriously damage your immune response.
- Wash Your Hands. Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don’t use antibacterial soap using synthetic chemicals for this – conventional antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary, and they cause far more harm than good. Instead, identify a simple chemical-free soap that you can switch your family to.
- Tried and True Hygiene Measures. In addition to washing your hands regularly, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, ideally with the crook of your elbow (to avoid contaminating your hands). If possible, avoid close contact with those who are sick and, if you are sick, avoid close contact with those who are well.
- Use Natural Immune-Boosters. Examples include oil of oregano and garlic, both of which offer effective protection against a broad spectrum of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in your body. And unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, they do not appear to lead to resistance and the development of ‘super germs.’
- Avoid Hospitals. I’d recommend you stay away from hospitals unless you’re having an emergency and need expert medical care, as hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infections of all kinds. The best place to recover from illness that is not life threatening is usually in the comfort of your own home.