10 Ways to Avoid the Winter Flu

Do you come down with a case of the flu like clockwork every year as soon as the leaves start to change color, or the snow starts to fall? Do you feel helpless against the flu? If you said yes, and if you feel that avoiding the flu is beyond your ability, then read on. These are surefire ways to greatly reduce your chances of getting the flu this year.

Avoid Sugar, processed and fried foods
Sugar decreases the function of your immune system almost immediately, and as you likely know, a strong immune system is key to fighting off viruses and other illness, including the flu. It is especially imperative to avoid sugar if you feel you are coming down with something but keeping sugar out of your diet for the long haul will do wonders for your health and make your body stronger, which will make it harder for the flu to bother you. Be aware that sugar is present in foods you may not suspect like ketchup and fruit juice.

In addition to sugar avoid processed and fried foods. These foods have very little nutritional value and can make your immune system sluggish.

Drink Plenty of Purified Water
Drink a minimum of ½ ounce per pound of body weight a day. Staying well hydrated will help your body eliminate toxins and allow your immune system to work efficiently.

Get Enough Rest and sleep
Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you’re tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight the flu. Regular rest will keep you strong and ensure that your body has the strength to fight off any potential invaders. Try to get between 7 & 8 hours of sleep a night. If you have a poor night’s sleep, take a power nap mid afternoon if possible.

Optimize Your Vitamin A & D Levels
Vitamin A is recommended in areas world-wide where infectious diseases are rampant, as an effective strategy to reduce the incidence and severity of those diseases. Supplementation can be an effective strategy to prevent the flu.
Vitamin D interacts with your genes in numerous ways to support optimal health. Get your levels tested and work to maintain levels in the 60-80 ng/ml. Vitamin D has very potent anti-viral actions by activating the immune system to target and destroy viruses.
Always take Vitamins A & D with meals, preferably with food that contains some fat.

Take a Good Probiotic and Prebiotic Fiber

Probiotics are “friendly bacteria that support a strong immune system. Approximately 70% of the body’s immune system reside in the wall of our colon. It is called the Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue (G.A.L.T.). Friendly bacteria are vital housekeepers and produce numerous benefits and compounds that we require to survive. Prebiotics are non-digestible plant fibers that act like fertilizer by feeding the good “bugs”.

Don’t Let Stress Become Overwhelming
We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness. It has been estimated that up to 90 percent of illness and disease is stress-related. Take time out to relax, take on fewer responsibilities and don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get it all done. Meditation and prayer are also great for reducing stress. Have you heard the phrase “let go and let God”?

When you exercise you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it has a chance to spread. In a sense, exercising helps your immune system to be more efficient in weeding out and acting upon viruses and diseases.

Wash Your Hands and Don’t touch your nose!
Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. If your immune system is strong, it should be able to fight off the virus if it does enter your body, but washing your hands provides a bit of extra protection. Also, don’t touch your nose with your hands!

Take extra Vitamin C
Take 500 mg 4-6 times a day to protect yourself. Double that dosage if you get sick.

Take black elderberry, echinacea, olive leaf extract and ginger
These have been shown to be effective against viral conditions. They can act preventatively as well as in the event of an infection. Make sure to have it on hand so you can increase dosing as soon as symptoms develop.

Visit the shop tab on my web site. That will take you to a page discussing nutritional supplements (after the consent prompt). At the bottom of that page you will see a button for Nutridyn, my favorite provider of high-quality nutritional formulas. Scroll down on that page and you will see a category called “Cold & Flu Protection”. Inside, you will see several products that can be used as an effective strategy to reduce your chances of getting sick and help you recover faster if you do.

Alan Palmer

I have been a practicing chiropractor for 30 years. Originally from Minnesota, I graduated from Northwestern College of Chiropractic in 1985. Since 1996 and 1998 respectively, I have provided chiropractic care for the players, coaches and employees of the Arizona Coyotes National Hockey League Hockey Club and the Arizona Diamondbacks Major League Baseball Team. In addition, I provided care for the San Francisco Giants in spring training for 7 years. Since 1985 I have been studying functional medicine applications, Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) concepts and advanced clinical nutrition strategies. I welcome stubborn and complicated cases and those that traditional allopathic medicine has failed. One of my goals is to help people to reduce their dependency on medications. I do this by addressing the underlying causes of their illness or disease rather than treating their symptoms. This is accomplished by focusing on the restoration of normal healthy biochemistry and function through diet, exercise, supplementation and lifestyle modification.