You can’t have failed to notice that it’s a particularly nasty flu season this year. Not only did our family have more than usual cold & flus before we left for Central Australia but my clients have been copping it too. So for those of you in Victoria or anywhere else where the cold & flu season is in full swing, what can you do to try and avoid the winter goobies going around?
While it might be inevitable that most of us get sick at some point this season, prevention and having the tools to decrease the severity and duration of infections is where you can make a difference. The reality is that we are exposed to all sorts of viral and bacterial cells in our everyday life, we share our world with many microorganisms. When our well equipped immune system is able to do its job, symptomatic infection can be prevented. When the seasons change there is often a greater load of these microorganisms going around and it’s harder to avoid. It is sensible to reduce that load via hand washing with warm soapy water before eating and after blowing your nose or coughing.
- If we feel run down we cancel plans and activities.
- Ensuring our Vitamin D stores are high which means plenty of outdoor time in summer and supplementation in winter if necessary.
- Our family all take powdered broccoli sprouts daily, it’s a bit like ambrosia in our household. Sulforaphane is a bioactive compound found in broccoli sprouts and its list of properties is impressive. It supports immune function, is an anti-microbial and has an anti-inflammatory effect.
- Eating what I call a Mediter-stralian diet which consists of a balanced amount of poultry, red meat, fish/seafood, eggs, goat, sheep & A1 protein cow products, legumes, a colourful variety of vegetables and fruit, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, cold pressed oils, herbs & spices. This provides us with all the macro & micro nutrients our bodies need for a well functioning immune system.
- Going to bed at a sensible time to ensure we all get the sleep we need.
When infection does strike it is usually because we’ve been doing too much, going to bed too late, indulging in too many sweets or the daycare goobies have crept up on us.
- The first thing I do is fire up the stove and make a big batch of chicken broth. I cook it long enough to extract the gelatin and amino acids so it is wobbly when cooled. I use that as a base to make protein & vegetable rich soups and we will eat that for breakfast, lunch and dinner with ghee or butter toast if needed.
- We increase our broccoli sprout dose and take acute doses of the immune boosting probiotic strain Lactobacillus plantarum HK137. This probiotic has seen us through COVID infections over the past two years too. We may also supplement with zinc or herbs if I have them on hand. Zinc is beneficial for reducing the severity and duration of infections.
- I also give the kids a dose of a kid-specific immune powder with breakfast that contains vitamin A, C, zinc, echinacea, elderberry and quercetin. It’s a great all rounder.
- Honey and lemon tea for the kids and hot toddies for the adults are also popular throat & chest soothing options. Although of course you want to keep alcohol intake low. Optional, add grated ginger and cayenne pepper to hot toddy or lemon tea for congestion busting and an extra immune boost. Also add high quality local or Manuka honey once your concoction has cooled down a bit so you don’t kill off it’s antibacterial & antiviral properties with boiling water.
- We put away anything sugary and stick to naturally sweetened things like stewed apples and cinnamon. A bowl of natural or greek yogurt and stewed apples is a lovely balanced meal that is soothing to a sore throat.
- We cut up garlic cloves into pill sized pieces and swallow them with water morning & night. Garlic is also antibacterial and antiviral, it’s one of the most powerful whole foods for fighting infections.
Sugar suppresses white blood cell function by up to 40%! These are the cells which are responsible for fighting infection in your body so you want them firing at full capacity when you are trying to recover from an infection.
Do you want to know what else suppresses these all important infection fighting cells? Lack of sleep.
Convalescence is an art and I feel our society doesn’t tend to do this well, we are more likely to take cold & flu caps and soldier on. Rest is essential. Sleeping, lying around and reading a book or listening to an audiobook in my kids case is the best medicine you can have. Avoid binge watching tv and stimulating your nervous system.
In our older kids and ourselves we monitor fevers and let them run their course unless they get dangerously high.
A note on our daily eating, since doing Metabolic Balance and getting my autoimmunity into remission our whole family eats in this anti-inflammatory and blood sugar regulating style now and it’s been a game changer for decreasing how often we get sick. This is another reason why blood sugar regulation is crucial, when your blood sugar gets too high it down regulates your immune function. So it makes perfect sense that I get this feedback from my clients too, less infections and when they do get sick they are less severe and recovery is faster. Other immune driven conditions like eczema and asthma also improve.
I had a chat with one of my Thrive Method ladies Tara recently. After suffering with asthma for a lifetime she has been able to get it under control with personalised nutrition on top of losing a bunch of excess weight and a whole lot of other wonderful benefits. You can watch the interview here.