Getting Through Flu Season

The best way to ‘beat the cold and flu season’ is, prevent getting sick in the first place.  To do this, you have to take care of yourself so your body’s immune system can do its’ thing!

Here are some simple tips to put into action so you can stay healthy.
  • No Sugar:
    • I know, it’s the holidays…. But sugar, (especially refined white sugar) actually works against your immune system. The cells in your body responsible for protecting you from infection need vitamin C to function properly, but they will take sugar over vitamin C if too much is around. This makes them unable to fight infection properly.
    • Unfortunately, this goes for things that are easily converted to sugar in your body… Like simple carbohydrates and alcohol. Alcohol is a double whammy as it also dehydrates you (see below).
  • Stay Hydrated:
    • Your body is mostly water (~60%). You’ve heard this before, but it is important because the chemical processes that keep you humming need adequate water to work properly.
    • The Institute of Medicine recommends that you drink 2 – 3 litres of fluid per day. They say that any liquid counts, but I’ll go out on a limb and say you probably should stick to water and herbal teas, as these do not contain sugar or diuretics (as in caffeinated beverages). So make a concerted effort to get those 8-10 cups of fluid in per day!
  • Good Food:
    • If it comes from a box and/or has more than three ingredients – put it back.
    • In the grocery store, don’t venture too far into the centre isles.  Shop the periphery where the veggies and protein are.
    •  Your body needs all the nutrients it can get and those will come from delicious fresh fruits, veggies and good sources of protein like fish, chicken, lamb, lentils and beans. The more colour the better.  Deep greens like kale and broccoli and bright colours like blueberries, blackberries and strawberries pack a great punch.
    • And never underestimate the power of a nourishing bowl of homemade chicken soup!
  • Sleep:
    • Your body needs adequate sleep for proper functioning and that includes your immune system. Don’t skimp on the rest!
    • Quality sleep time gives your body the chance to reset and regenerate.
    • Deep sleep between the hours of 11pm and 6am is optimal and a regular sleep schedule is key.
  • Herbal and Supplement Immune Support:
    • There are many herbs and supplements that can help to support your immune system. Some are general immune tonics and others are more specific to the type of infection you have.
    • Great general suggestions would be a quality probiotic to keep your digestion healthy and vitamin D. Consultation with a qualified health professional can help you pick the best products for you!
  • Avoid Palliation:
    • You’ll see a lot of products out there that ‘help you get on with your day’. This means they are simply masking the symptoms of the infection without actually helping you fight it off. The trouble with this is, when you fall ill, it is your body trying to tell you that it needs rest and that it has been pushed too hard. You want to feel better, but just treating the symptoms without supporting your health is like ignoring the fuel light on your car. Sooner or later, you’ll run out of gas.