Tips and tricks on how to stay healthy this flu season!

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This winter it seems like everyone is getting sick! Whether it be strep, the stomach bug or the dreaded human influenza virus.  It is important to take care of your body’s immune system as it is your “army” that works day and night to defend your body against foreign invaders whether it is germs — bacteria virus, parasites — or cancer cells.  Below are some tips on how to help fuel your “army” and boost immunity.

Disclosure: We always recommend following your Practitioners advice on how to stay healthy and always consult with your doc before starting or stopping any health regimen.

1. Elderberry Syrup - Elderberry is a natural remedy with antiviral properties, especially against the human influenza virus. Black elderberry extract (Sambucus species) has been reported to have been used for years dating back to the native Americans, who used the berry mostly to fight and protect against rheumatism and fever.  Juice from the elderberry is used for its antioxidant properties to help boost the immune system. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell.
 

2. Powerhouse Vegetables - Eating vegetables, that are in season or available year round, can help boost your body's immune system against viral and bacterial infections. Pureed into soup, sauté in a little olive oil, and flavored with a spice, like minced ginger, they can make an economical meal, topped on brown rice, or whole wheat pasta. Here are five foods that help the body fight disease:

·         Butternut Squash - Low in calories, this gourd variety has a wealth of vitamin A, which is an essential vitamin to keep your skin, eyes, and immune system healthy. Furthermore, the vitamin A in butternut squash can impact the efficiency of your digestive system, thereby keeping nutrients flowing properly to keep your body functioning right.

·         Carrots - Cooked or eaten raw, carrots are also are a rich source of vitamin C , which stimulates the activity of white blood cells and is one of the most important elements in the human immune system.

·         Garlic – It may make your breath smelly, but garlic is a great way to boost your immune system. Garlic contains and organic compound called allicin, which defends against bacteria and infections. Garlic has been used for centuries as a natural immune system booster.

·         Ginger - This popular spice has long played a role in helping the body fight flu, colds, inflammation and conditions, like nausea. You can consume with mixed with honey in tea, ginger cookies. Ginger honey candies are also popular.

·         Spinach – This green leafy vegetable is packed full of minerals and vitamins, all of which are beneficial including; reducing inflammation and boosting the immune system. Eat it raw in a salad or sautéed it with a little olive oil.

3. Exercise. A pillar of good health, consistent exercise contributes to a robust immune system. Physical activity increases the production of macrophages (cells that attack bacteria); promotes circulation so that immune cells can move through our body more rapidly and kill both viruses and bacteria, and temporarily increases body temperature which is believed to inhibit the growth of bacteria. Additionally, exercise slows the release of stress hormones, an enemy of the immune system.

4. Adequate Sleep. Get your rest! While you sleep, your body recharges and rejuvenates your immune system. Consequently, sleep deprivation can increase chances of becoming ill. Studies have even shown that vaccines—which stimulate the immune system to create antibodies to fight off bacteria or virus—can be less effective when we are sleep deprived.


Along with these measures and getting a flu vaccination, maintaining good hygiene habits provides a line of defense that will also help keep germs at bay. Always wash your hands with soap and water before preparing food, after using the bathroom and routinely throughout your day. Stay well!

Amy Carabase, Healthtrax Fitness Marketing Director