Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Strategies to Keep Your Family Healthy This Winter

I don't know about where you live, but here in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, the flu has been running rampant. It is so contagious! 

And why is it that science is still no closer to a cure for colds and flu? Because we're dealing with smart viruses. Any one of hundreds of viruses could launch a cold or flu attack, and chances are that this year's flu virus won't be the same as last year's making it nearly impossible to develop a simple cure. 

While we can't avoid all germs; I do have two kids in preschool so germs are inevitable, we can do some simple things to help our bodies build up their immune systems and lessen our chances of getting sick!

Our Best Prevention Strategies:

Take Good Care of Yourself: As always, the best place to start to maintain a good immune system is with the basics. Make sure to keep exercising, sleep well, reduce stress, drink alcohol in moderation, and eat a low-fat, low-sugar diet.

Wash Your Hands: Washing hands remains the most effective way to protect yourself and your family from colds and flu. Lather, rinse, repeat throughout the day. Do it long enough to sing "Happy Birthday" twice.

Boost the Beneficial Bacteria: 80 percent of your immune system surrounds your digestive system. Research supports a healthy gut flora and overall immunity. 

Along with the above, we also use Basic G and a bacteria fighting essential oil to help keep the germs away. This strategy has really helped with our health, too!

Add Foods that Support Immune Health: There are many foods with medicinal properties, make sure you include as many as possible. Think about combining a lot of the ingredients below in chicken soup: 
  • Oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, potatoes and other vitamin C and E rich fruits and vegetables are all good for your immune system.
  • I do not like mushrooms, but have read that Shiitake, Maitake, and other mushrooms have been used for boosting the immune system.  
  • Garlic and onions have  been researched for their ability to modulate immune function. 

Helpful Herbs: Research supports the immune modulating activity of tumeric, oregano, ginger, Echinacea, Larch, and elderberry. Our family uses a product called Defend & Resist when we start to feel that first tickle or stuffiness. It has larch, echinacea, and elderberry in it. It's our first go to when we start feeling run down!

Here's my favorite recipe for making a homemade vitamin water using Defend & Resist, Vitamin C, and Performance. It tastes so good and it really helps!! 

Make Sure You are Getting the Right Nutrients: Your immune system needs to be well nourished to function at its best. Stock up on the following nutrients:
  • Macro-Nutrients: the macro-nutrients are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Focus on good proteins for a healthy immune system. Supplement with EPA and DHA, or eat fish twice a week for those healthy fats.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamins such as vitamin A, B6, B12, E C, folate, and the minerals zinc, copper and iron all support an effective immune response. 
  • Vitamin D: vitamin D, in particular, has been the focus research on optimal immune system functioning. Vitamin D plays a role in the improving mucus membrane barrier functioning, the production of anti-microbial peptides (small proteins), and in general overall immune support. 
Take care of your immune system by starting early, taking good care of yourself, and feeding your body the nutrients it needs to stay strong!

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