Back to school, a touch of cool to the evening air and we realize that autumn is on its way and another season of colds, flu and other winter ailments is knocking at our door. This year we have the additional awareness of an impending new flu on horizon and many are very concerned. Continuing on the theme I began last week, I would like to begin addressing pro-active approaches to staying healthy in the change of season and the coming year.
Good health and the prevention of flu start with each of us as individuals. I do not like the vaccine prevention or the “pop a pill” approach to health which many feel absolves them from the personal responsibility to do the basics for their good health. Just keep in mind that the drug companies are not in business for your health.
I recently had words of wisdom come from the check- out counter at the grocery store when the clerk stated that she was of the opinion that you either pay the cost for a healthy grocery cart up front or, you pay on the back end with poor health and the doctor bills. As she said, “It’s much more fun to pay up front for healthier food.”
Getting sick, contracting the flu or any other virus is part of the human condition.
Modern drug based medicine cannot prevent illness. Our bodies are constantly exposed to invaders that can cause illness. The goal is to have a healthy uncompromised immune system that can fight off the “would be” invader and maintain good health.
We only produce symptoms of illness when a system is compromised by one of the following:
- pre-existing health issues
- lack of sleep
- excess stress
- poor diet
- and poor nutrition.
We have control over all but one of these influencing elements; our health is in our own hands.
We all know that we should drink more water, avoid sodas and sugary drinks, we all know that we need 8 hours of sleep a day, exercise daily reduces stress and healthy meals provide good nutrition. The dilemma remains, how do we follow these basic fundamental principles with our already overloaded lifestyles?
Five Simple Steps That Will Make a Difference
1: Start every day with a large glass of water and never leave home with- out either a glass or stainless steel water bottle. If you start your day with a glass of water you will reset your thirst mechanism and flush the system of toxins that build up over night in the digestive tract.
2: Try to go to bed about the same time every night. Studies show that people who go to bed and get up at the same time every day have healthier sleep patterns and better quality of sleep. Finish your evening with stretching and relaxing music. Shut off the TV, work you have brought home or any other stimulating input to your senses at least one hour before bed. Give your body a chance to shut down for the night so that even if you do not get 8 hours the time you do have will be more restful.
3: Plan a walk into your schedule every day, at lunch, after dinner in a break whenever it will fit. If you walk 20 minutes per day and stretch before bed you will have achieved some exercise every day. Of course, it would be better to get more aerobic exercise every day, but for so many of us that just doesn’t happen. This 20 minutes and daily stretching is a solid foundation for health.
4: Upgrade your diet by planning healthy snacks because so many of us, in this busy word, don’t eat rergulary. This is so important because low blood sugar equals low immunity. Write a shopping list for the week including snacks, buy prewashed vegetables and lettuce, bring your fruit home and wash it before you put it away. Pre-pack raw nuts and snacks to carry in your bag or brief case so that when you are starving you do not make poor choices but instead have a healthy food option available at the moment you need it.
5: Take good quality supplements daily. In the world of supplements you get what you pay for. Just like buying cheap processed food. Don’t waste your money on low quality. Again, pack them for lunch if you are not going to have time in the morning.
Add These 5 Supplements to Your Daily Multiple Vitamins
1. Vitamin D: A recent study found higher vitamin D status enhances your immunity to microbial infections, and that individuals with vitamin D deficiency had significantly more days of absence from work due to respiratory infection. There is a growing body of new research showing the importance of vitamin D in our health.
2. Zinc: Zinc lozenges—Use lozenges containing zinc gluconate, zinc gluconate-glycine, or zinc acetate, providing 13 to 25 mg every two hours, to help stop the cold virus and shorten the illness.
3. Vitamin C: So good for so many things. A higher-than-normal dose of 1,000 to 4,000 mg per day may make your cold shorter and milder.
4: Echinacea: At the onset of a cold or flu, 3 to 4 ml of Echinacea in a liquid preparation or 300 mg of a powdered form in capsule or tablet can be taken every two hours for the first day of illness, then three times per day for a total of seven to ten days.
5: Homeopathic Remedies: Remedies such as Oscillococcinum can decrease severity and duration of flu symptoms. I use homeopathic remedies both for prevention and for the symptoms of flu virus with great results, when your MD sends you home to suffer through symptoms a homeopathic remedy will take the sting out.
I cannot promise that you are immune from the flu with the information above, but I know that if you do succumb, you will recover more quickly and completely and you will be healthier on the other side because your body will have built a healthy natural resistance to the virus that invaded your body.