6 Ways to Boost your Immunity Naturally this Flu Season

Cold and flu season is upon us once again! Health experts, doctors, and even our grocery stores are urging us to get our annual flu shot. I have mixed emotions about the flu shot – it’s not that I think there is something inherently wrong with it. And there’s definitely a certain population that should get it, among them senior citizens, those in the health care industry, and those with compromised immune systems.

It does seem to me, though, that our bodies are properly equipped with the tools and armor to fight these bugs, if we are healthy and have functioning immune systems. So I’m a bit reticent every year about getting one. I want my strong military defense team, led by those brave little soldiers, my white blood cells, to mount a fight instead. I’ve only actually gotten the shot once, back in the late 90’s.

I once interviewed an organic gardener about natural gardening; I asked her how to protect your garden from weeds and pesky critters. She told me that if your dirt and host environment is healthy and strong, weeds won’t be able to grow. Instead of taking care of the problem, she advocated instead preventative care by strengthening and optimizing the dirt.

I guess that’s how I feel about the cold and flu season – while we may get sick, hopefully, if we have a strong and healthy body, we can fight it off. And then develop our own natural immunities. But that’s a decision for each person to make for themselves and their family. Certainly, with my asthma, I may be more inclined to get a shot as I get older.

We can all benefit, though, from boosting our immunities naturally and creating our own strong defenses, even if we get a flu shot. Here’s six great ways:

  1. Exercise regularly. Peope who exercise regularly are less likely to get a cold. Exercise helps build your immune system as well as your gorgeous muscles!
  2. Eat lots of vegetables and fruit to promote a healthy and strong body. They are loaded with antioxidants to help fight those bad germs (and cancer, as well!). Vegetables rich in beta-carotene help to promote healthy skin and mucous lining, which is our first line of defense. Carrots, apricots, spinach, and broccoli are all rich in beta-carotene. Vitamin B-6 has also been shown to boost immunities, according to several studies. Avocados, bell peppers, and leafy greens are all rich in Vitamin B-6.
  3. Wash your hands. All the time. Germs and bacteria lurk everywhere. In a recent study, gas pump handles were found to have the highest concentration of filth and germs. ATM buttons, crosswalk buttons, mailboxes – all top breeding grounds. Think of other items that are touched often – Starbucks door handles, your phone at work, light switches, computer keyboards, and more. Sanitize these items in your home and office, and keep a bottle of hand sanitizer with you. It’s one of the most effective defenses.
  4. Chicken soup. Your grandma’s chicken soup did help to alleviate your cold symptoms – it promotes healthy mucous development and is an anti-inflammatory.
  5. Visit a steam room regularly. It helps to keep your nasal and respiratory passages moist – dry nasal passages make you more susceptible to colds. The steam, especially if tinged with eucalyptus, can keep those passages moist and functioning.
  6. Natural supplements to fight colds. While the scientific evidence is inconclusive, many swear by their zinc and echinacea. At the first sign of a cold or flu, I take NOW Elderberry and Zinc lozenges, available at Fruitful Yield. This immune system supporter contains elderberry extract, zinc, vitamin C, echinacea, propolis, and slippery elm. Elderberry has been suggested to reduce flu symptoms in several studies. I have taken these faithfully for over ten years; at the first sign of a cold, I start taking them on a strict regimen. My cold generally goes away or never starts; perhaps it’s all psychosomatic, but who cares if it works, right?
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