February -- the thick of cold and flu season. A typical cold may last 8-9 days or longer, while a flu may last 4-7 days. How quickly you recover depends on your lifestyle.
A strong immune system is your best defense against colds and flu!
We all know that getting plenty of rest, regular exercise, drinking plenty of pure water, monitoring stress levels and regular hand-washing are important factors to assist in cold and flu prevention. But there are more keys to disease prevention you need to know to truly optimize your health.
• Avoid sugar and processed foods. Natural sugar (fructose) occurs in many foods -- fruit is usually the first that comes to mind. Your body knows how to convert this kind of sugar and use it for energy. But there are other sources of sugar that can contribute to disease. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a food additive which lurks in fruit drinks and many processed packaged foods. Most Americans consume 75 grams of HFCS per day, a level that can deplete your immune system by creating a gut flora imbalance. This is crucial because 80% of your immune system lies in your gastrointestinal tract. Avoid all HFCS products. Keep your total fructose consumption below 25 grams per day when in good health, and lower it to 15 grams per day if you suffer from diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or are insulin resistant. In addition to HFCS juices, avoid foods which process as sugar, such as pastas and breads (grains).
• Vitamin D deficiencies. One reason why colds and flu rise in winter months is due to lack of sun exposure. Twenty minutes of unprotected, natural sun exposure per day boosts Vitamin D3 levels. If this is not possible, a Vitamin D3 supplement is better than not doing anything for yourself.
• Avoid over-the-counter pain relief medications. Taking aspirin or acetaminophen may actually suppress your body's ability to produce antibodies to destroy the cold virus. When taken in excess, aspirin has also been linked to an abnormal fluid build up in the lungs. Only use these medications when absolutely necessary, such as if you have a temperature greater than 105 degrees F (40.5 degrees C), severe muscle aches or weakness.
• The over-prescribing of antibiotics. Antibiotics weren't created for viruses, and DO NOT WORK against them. Unless you have a bacterial pneumonia/bronchitis, an antibiotic will likely to more harm than good because you'll be increasing your susceptibility to developing infections with resistance to that antibiotic -- and you'll become the carrier of this bug and can spread it to others.
Foods that Strengthen Your Immune System
• raw milk
• raw, crushed garlic
• coconuts and coconut oil
• Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake mushrooms
• fermented foods, such as raw kefir, kimchee, miso
• organic vegetables
• organic eggs from free range chickens (no antibiotics)
Kick-start your prevention/healing with supplements
• Olive leaf extract
• Oregano Oil -- excellent anti-viral
• Vitamin C
There's increasing scientific evidence to show that flu shots are NOT effective in flu prevention. The Cochrane Database Review, the gold standard for assessing the effectiveness of common medical interventions, published five reviews between 2006 and 2010, completely decimating the claim that flu vaccinations are the best course of action to prevent the flu.
Basic good health practices are still the best prevention. Homemade Chicken Soup is a favorite remedy. Be sure to start with pure water and organic, raw, free range, antibiotic-free ingredients --- and skip the noodles!