Your Best Defense Against the Flu

Posted by Bradley Lewis on

Your Best Defense Against The Flu

Come fall, many of us head indoors with less daylight, less exercise because of the change in weather and reduced sun exposure. These factors make us vulnerable to catching the flu. Health care costs associated with the flu are more than $10.4 billion dollars annually and 2013 looks to be a record breaker in this regard. You can avoid trips to the doctor’s office, using Paid Time Off for sick leave instead of vacation and spending money on antibiotics and other medications by investing now in your immune system. Bolstering the immune system is the only tried and proven defense to PROTECTING AGAINST the flu.

Antibiotics Should Not Be the First Line of Defense

The immune system is a complex and critical component of the body, designed to protect against environmental stressors and keep the body healthy and strong. The change of seasons to darker days and less outdoor time are one of these environmental stressors; the body is forced to adapt. For many people, the upcoming holidays are an added stressor which can create the perfect storm for a weakened immune system. The phrase “feeling run down” is often followed by feelings of sickness and fatigue – and a sign your body is in distress.

In addition to fighting off stressors – both environmental and self-imposed, the immune system also fends off bacterial and viral infections, cancer – and literally anything foreign that it comes in contact with that may cause harm. While the immune system is the winner in most cases, there are times when it fails to protect. Conventional medical interventions that were originally designed to aid the body in a time of crisis are now used as the first line of defense. This includes the use of antibiotics as the “go-to” remedy, without allowing the body’s own immune and other defense systems to kick in. It has been scientifically proven that this course of action has allowed microbes to evolve to the point where they are themselves ‘immune’ or more accurately, resistant, to antibiotics. Add to this the mainstream and prolific use of anti-bacterial soaps and the resistance issue is multiplied. Keep in mind that antibiotics are ineffective against viral infections. A course of antibiotic treatment also sets the stage in the gut for candida, a yeast overgrowth that over time can compromise your health.

How To Boost The Immune System Without Antibiotics

There are many ways to boost the immune system without using antibiotics; save those and other prescription drugs for medical emergencies.

Destress

Some figures put the percentage of illness and disease related to stress at 90%. While the immune system is a master at fighting stressors, the body can become overloaded. Take time every day to distress and decompress. Spend time in nature, even if in your own backyard or neighborhood park. Listen to classical or other instrumental music regularly. Read from an uplifting or inspirational book or magazine.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise is great at flooding the body with feel-good endorphins. It’s also a great way to clear the cobwebs of the mind. There is mounting evidence that 20 minutes of sweat-producing, heart-pounding exercise is more beneficial than an hour or more of cardio. Exercise increase blood flow and therefore circulation, which also increases circulation to the components of the immune system. A healthier immune system means a healthier you.

Hand Washing

If you learned as a child to wash your hands often, you were taught well. This decreases the likelihood of spreading a virus to the nose, mouth or other people. There is virtually no down side to hand washing often; however, do not use anti-bacterial soaps. Overuse of anti-bacterial soap causes more harm than good and its use should be restricted to medical offices and hospitals. When leaving a public restroom, rather than throw the paper towel used to dry your hands in the trash, use it to open the door when exiting the restroom and find a trash bin outside the rest room.

Avoid Sugar

Almost immediately after consumption, sugar decreases the functioning of the immune system. For this reason, it’s especially important to avoid sugar if you are feeling run down. Keeping sugar out of your diet at other times will also support good health in the form of insulin response and weight management.

Sleep Like A Baby

Along with diet and exercise, sleep is the third pillar to vitality and well-being.  While everyone has different sleep requirements, it’s important to listen to the body, especially to the signs it needs more sleep. When feeling fatigued and lethargic, the immune system has a harder time fighting off invaders. Avoid electronic stimulation (TV, radio, Kindle) as well as alcohol before bedtime. Be sure the bedroom is well ventilated and cooler rather than warmer. Use black out shades if needed. If feasible, wake when your body says so, not when the alarm clock dictates. Regular, sound rest goes a long way towards supporting the immune system.

Functional Foods

Consider adding antioxidant-rich foods (think berries) or an antioxidant supplement to the diet. This will help bolster the immune system, fight free radicals and improve digestion. Vitamin D is important during times of less exposure to sunlight. While Vitamin D is best known for helping improve immunity, it can also help stave off disease and infection. Increased levels of Vitamin D have also been shown to fend off respiratory infections.  An organic plant-based, whole foods diet containing a variety of fruits, vegetables, greens, legumes, nuts and seeds can provide enough vitamins and minerals to support the immune system. For times when this is not possible, supplementation with a high quality multivitamin is recommended.

Calcium Bentonite Clay

Calcium bentonite clay works on improving the digestive function and restores the body to health. In a state of good health, the body and its miraculous systems – including the immune system – can fend off stressors, invaders and other potential foreigners that can lead to illness. Clay helps to rid the digestive system of putrefied fecal matter, mucous, parasites and other toxic materials.  A cleaner gut means better absorption of nutrients by the intestinal wall, which in turn provides more energy and nutrition to the entire body.

Summary

Fall is the time of year when people are most susceptible to colds and the flu because of seasonal changes. Being indoors more, less opportunity for outdoor exercise and less sun exposure combine to create the need to bolster the immune system. Overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial soap contribute to the proliferation of super bugs – microbes and pathogens that are resistant to conventional medical treatment. Instead, look to natural remedies including stress management, diet, exercise, rest, supplements and calcium bentonite clay to help bolster the immune system and keep you out of doctor’s office.

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