Courtesy of registered nutritionist, Carrie Ciula, here are seven ways to boost your immune system and beat the flu this season naturally.
1. Nosh on garlic. Garlic is a natural antibacterial agent! It is most therapeutic in its raw form. Many people are unable to handle eating it straight, so adding it chopped or pressed to salad dressings and dips is a tasty and manageable way to increase your garlic intake. If fresh, raw garlic isn't your thing altogether, you can use a garlic extract, such as Kyolic.
2. Get thee Vitamin C.
Vitamin C has long been revered as a powerful antioxidant and nurturer of the immune system. Instead of turning to synthetic, isolated forms of vitamin C, try to focus on whole food sources. Leafy greens, lemon, broccoli, kiwi, red pepper...and my favorite, camu camu berry (which is exceptionally high in vitamin C) are all good sources.
3. Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep has been linked to an already lengthy (and growing) list of health issues. Like the rest of our body's rhythms, rhymes and on-goings, the immune system is complex...still, many studies clearly indicate (through t-cell and inflammation analysis) that sleep deprivation compromises our immune system function.
4. Relax! It’s probably not entirely coincidental that fighting off bacteria and/or viruses often coincides with the load we're juggling in our personal lives. Discover what grounds you, what makes you feel whole and peaceful...and make these things a priority in your life, every bit as important and routine as eating, drinking or brushing your teeth.
5. Nix sugar. Refined sugar weakens our immune system and supports inflammation in the body. While it's still a good idea to keep sugar amounts low, opt to entirely focus on sugar in whole food form: fresh fruits, root veggies and/or small amounts of raw honey are all good choices.
6. Focus on whole foods. The less time your body needs to put towards dealing with the intake of refined food products, the more it's able to allocate energy towards effectively dealing with other things it neither wants or needs inside of it.
7. STOP using Lysol and other antibacterial products!!!The overuse of antibacterial products, for both home and body, in our society is an interesting and sad situation. Here's the deal: we cannot and will never be able to rid our environment of potentially harmful bacteria. What we are effectively able to do by using these chemical-laden products in, on and around our homes and bodies, however, is weaken our overall health and ability to naturally fight off these same bacteria. Below are a few non-toxic and common sense ways in which you can lessen the chances of needing to put up a fight in the first place