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Preparing for Cold and Flu Season, Naturally

A simple list of things you can do to help ward off colds and flus this fall and winter (and reduce your chances of getting Covid too.)

- by Ki Ennes

Sneezing

5 Ways to boost your immune system

  1. Sleep. Lack of adequate sleep makes us more susceptible to infection. When we sleep, the immune system releases infection-fighting cells helping us to stay healthy and recover faster if we do become ill. 

  2. Exercise. Regular exercise enhances the immune system. Research shows moderate exercise increases the number and effect of immune cells. A brisk walk for 30-45 minutes 5 times a week can enhance the cells that fight the common cold and flu viruses. 

  3. Garlic. It’s loaded with anti-oxidants and boosts the immune system, helping ward off colds and flu. 

  4. Anti-oxidants. The byproducts produced when cells turn food into energy are called oxidants.  Also called free radicals, these toxins can suppress the immune system. Anti-oxidants prevent free radicals from doing damage. To protect immune system activity, increase your intake of the following anti-oxidants:

 

     -  Vitamin C- Found in citrus fruits, oranges, grapefruits, chili peppers, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kiwi, and strawberries.

     - Vitamin E- Found in sunflower seeds, almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, dried apricots, cooked spinach, and wheat germ. The easiest way to get sufficient vitamin E is to take it as a supplement.

     - Vitamin A/Beta Carotene- Found in sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, dark leafy greens like kale, mustard greens, collards, paprika, red pepper, cayenne, and chili powder.

 

  5.Green Tea. It is loaded with polyphenols, which have many antioxidant properties. It has less caffeine than coffee or black tea. Drink a cup or two daily. Regular or decaf work equally well. 

If you do catch a cold or the flu, here’s a nice home remedy that contains immune enhancing ingredients. And it tastes good, too.

Ki’s Cold and Flu Tea                                                                                                         

Put two ½-inch slices of fresh ginger root in 2-3 cups water.                                               Simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat.                                                                                   

Add two Green Tea bags and steep for 1-2 minutes.                                                                   Stir in 1 Tablespoon of honey.                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Strain into favorite mug and add fresh lemon juice to taste.       

  

1. NL Rogers,  MP Szuba,  JP Staab,  DL Evans,  DF Dinges.“Neuroimmunologic aspects of sleep and sleep loss.”  Seminars in Clinical Neuropsychiatry. 2001 Oct;6(4):295-307. Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11607924

2. David C. Nieman, DrPH “Does Exercise Alter Immune Function and Respiratory Infections,”  President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Research Digest  Series 3, No.13 June 2001.  http://www.presidentschallenge.org/informed/digest/docs/200106digest.pdf

3. “Garlic,” Complementary Medicine, University of Maryland Medical Center http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/garlic-000245.htm

4. “Diet, Exercise, Stress and the Immune System,” Cleveland Clinic (The Cleveland Clinic Foundation 1994-2009) http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/chronic_fatigue_syndrome/hic_diet_exercise_stress_and_the_immune_system.aspx

5. “Green Tea,” Complementary Medicine, University of Maryland Medical Center http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/green-tea-000255.htm

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