As we enter the season of holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas) and transfer on to the New Year, a principal concern on folks’s thoughts is getting wholesome. This normally includes many resolutions to train extra and eat higher, and this isn’t simply for weight reduction. This time of year is also prime flu season, and taking proactive steps to optimize the household’s food plan can enhance your possibilities of combating off chilly and flu viruses shortly.
Luckily, there are some easy options that may assist bolster the physique’s defenses towards premature invaders. Most of those are secure for children as effectively, and simply usually good follow.
Immune-Boosting Diet for Cold & Flu Season
The outdated adage “you are what you eat” has by no means been extra true. As the share of the inhabitants that is medically labeled as chubby or overweight rises steadily, it is no shock that charges of most cancers, illness, and different medical points are rising as effectively.
For optimum health, I like to recommend a food plan of high-quality proteins, plentiful sources of useful fat, and satisfactory quantities of natural or regionally grown greens, if obtainable. You may add sure dietary supplements and herbs that may assist assist the physique in combating sickness.
One of the disadvantages of the low-fat diet that has been promoted by the medical neighborhood for so lengthy is the decrease consumption of protein that usually accompanies it. Proteins are essential for just about each operate the physique performs.
Additionally, a low-fat food plan is typically a excessive carb food plan, as meals like entire grains and starchy greens are thought-about “healthy” low-fat meals. This excessive carbohydrate food plan can contribute to insulin resistance, weight problems and ultimately diabetes if continued over lengthy durations of time.
As proteins are very important for each operate of the physique, in addition they carry out an vital position in immune operate and weight upkeep. Antibodies are specialised proteins that assist defend the physique from sickness and micro organism. Proteins are essential for cell division which is very important in therapeutic and progress, and proteins in the type of hormones and enzymes regulate chemical reactions in the physique.
The grownup physique wants one gram of usable protein for each 2.2 kilos of physique weight. This signifies that a 180-pound man would want round 80 grams of protein a day and a 145-pound lady would want about 65 grams a day.
I give a full list here, however good sources of wholesome protein embody the following:
- natural grass-fed beef
- free-range rooster
- natural uncooked dairy (if tolerated)
- real-food protein powder
- pastured eggs
- do-it-yourself bone broth and soups
Bone broth and soups made with bone broth are additionally a good way to bolster the immune system, which is why rooster soup is typically related to restoration from sickness. Even if making soup from scratch isn’t in the playing cards, there are corporations that make broth the real-food way and have high quality substances.
This could sound overseas to you if in case you have adopted a low-fat food plan in the previous, however an increasing number of research are proving that eating fats doesn’t make you fats. In truth, latest analysis is displaying that adequate fat intake is vital to weight loss. Fats present concentrated vitality and are vital constructing blocks in hormones. Fats carry the fat-soluble nutritional vitamins A, D, E, and Ok.
As Dr. Mercola explains here , research present that fat, together with the a lot feared saturated fat, contribute to immune energy, bone energy, and may shield the liver. For optimum immune operate, it is vital to get satisfactory fat from wholesome sources. rule of thumb to observe is to eat solely fat which can be minimally processed and from wholesome animals or vegetation. These might be saturated and monounsaturated fat.
Some of the finest sources of wholesome fat embody the following:
- olive oil
- coconut oil
- krill oil
- uncooked dairy
- pastured eggs
Avoid vegetable oils that are polyunsaturated fat, hydrogenated fat, and trans fat. These fat are harmful to the physique.
I don’t assume I should do a lot to persuade you that greens are wholesome and vital for optimum health and weight reduction! The vital factor is to get natural or regionally grown greens every time doable as natural varieties can include as much as thrice the vitamins of typical greens.
For weight reduction and immune operate, it is vital to keep away from eating too many starchy greens like potatoes and winter squash and to concentrate on:
- greens (spinach, lettuce, kale, mustard greens, and so forth)
- scorching peppers
- mushrooms (technically a fungus)
- inexperienced beans
- snow peas
I get my greens in by ingesting veggie smoothies and eating a salad or two inexperienced greens at each meal. The Wahls Protocol is one other super-smart and easy method to pack extra greens in the food plan.
Avoid Sugar (and Other Empty Carbs)
I’ve talked about the health risks of sugar in the previous and why I usually keep away from it. Sugar is naturally present in lots of meals (like fruit) however by itself it incorporates:
- no vitamins
- no protein
- no wholesome fat
- no enzymes
Digesting sugar really pulls minerals from the physique so you could possibly even consider sugar as an anti-nutrient. Sugar consumption is linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver illness, insulin points, and ldl cholesterol points amongst different health issues.
But it is particularly vital to keep away from sugar while you’re sick or making an attempt to keep away from catching an sickness. A 1973 study discovered that eating sugar (however not different types of carbohydrates) performs a task in suppressing the immune system.
White flour and other processed grains can have the similar health points that sugar does, like spiking blood sugar. Stay away from all “white” meals while you’re combating a bug or making an attempt to keep away from catching it.
Cold & Flu-Fighting Supplements
When you’re combating an sickness, particularly for those who’re not capable of eat a lot, dietary supplements can assist assist the physique’s pure defenses. Here are a few of my favourite dietary supplements when somebody in my household catches a chilly or flu.
Saline Nasal Rinse
A saline rinse is a good way to assist decongest the nostril with out resorting to prescribed drugs. It’s so mild that you should use it on children and infants too. I make my very own with Himalayan salt and heat water, however I’ve additionally used this one for comfort sake.
Xylitol Nasal Rinse
While saline nasal rinse might be efficient for some circumstances of congestion, xylitol could also be higher. A 2011 research discovered that xylitol combined with water is extra useful in treating congestion than saline answer. Xylitol nasal spray can be utilized in the similar methods saline spray can.
Perhaps the most well-known vitamin for chilly and flu, vitamin C is useful for boosting the immune system. My household makes use of a real food form of vitamin C constituted of camu camu and acerola cherry. Read more about the benefits of vitamin C here.
Healthy ranges of zinc in the physique can assist make a chilly or flu virus much less extreme and shorter lived. In truth, one signal of zinc deficiency is recurring minor sickness (like colds and flus). There is some debate about whether zinc supplementation is beneficial in all circumstances, so I decide for a low-dose zinc lozenge after we are actually making an attempt to spice up immune methods.
I like to recommend doing a soup detox twice a yr to get rid of built-up toxins and different issues that make the physique lower than wholesome. Doing a cleanse like this helps reset the physique so it’s at optimum efficiency (and the recipes are straightforward and truly scrumptious too!). We’ve even finished this soup detox as a household. I simply serve further protein and carbs for the children on the aspect at every meal.
Bee propolis is the glue that holds the hive collectively and protects it from invaders of every kind. Bee propolis is antibacterial and antimicrobial, making it an incredible treatment for sore throats and different chilly signs. It’s additionally anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and cancer-fighting. My favourite method to get it is in this honey or this propolis throat spray (nice for stopping or soothing sore throats!).
Another factor that helps weight reduction and flu prevention is to keep up satisfactory ranges of vitamin D. More and more research is showing the importance of vitamin D in sustaining weight, stopping illness, and for optimum psychological health.
The finest supply of vitamin D is that which is naturally produced by your physique when uncovered to daylight carefully, although this may be troublesome in winter months. If you’re unable to get 30 minutes of daylight a day, supplementation could also be essential. If you select to complement, decide for vitamin D3, a extra assimilable and wholesome model than different kinds.
Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it may be harmful if taken in extra. Consider having your vitamin D ranges checked by a physician earlier than starting any supplementation, although vitamin D obtained from daylight is thought-about secure.
Herbal teas are a good way to remain hydrated throughout an sickness, however they’ve medicinal functions too. Many frequent herbs are useful in treating gentle diseases like colds and flus.
Here are a number of of my teas to spice up the immune system:
- Mint – Great for digestive points (together with morning illness!)
- Chamomile – A soothing and stress-free natural tea that’s wealthy in magnesium
- Sage – This herb has antiseptic and astringent properties making it good for combating infections like colds and flus
- Nettle Leaf – This herb is extremely nutritious, particularly paired with crimson raspberry, and may provide vitamins while you’re not feeling like eating
- Elderberry – We additionally make homemade elderberry syrup to assist push back sickness
Best of all, many herbal teas are safe for kids and a good way to supply some further consolation and nutritional vitamins when children do come down with one thing.
Science supports what so-called “old wives’ tales” have identified for a very long time: contemporary garlic has potent antimicrobial and antiviral properties. I crush a number of cloves and take it uncooked in a spoonful of honey, however I’ve needed to get extra artistic to get a few of my children to take it. See this post for a full checklist of garlic advantages and inventive methods to sneak garlic into the household food plan.
The Body’s Best Defense: A Healthy Diet!
We can’t assist what germs go round throughout the chilly and flu season, however we are able to shield ourselves by taking good care of our our bodies. Real meals helps the physique’s pure defenses and can assist you keep effectively (and recuperate extra shortly while you do get sick!).
How do you retain from getting the flu? Share your suggestions beneath!