The typical US adult may have 2 to 4 colds each year, while children may have up to 12 despite the fact that you can easily prevent cold and flu naturally. Colds alone are the main reason for school absences, missed work and doctor’s visits than any other illness – even though most doctors have very few treatment solutions to offer.
There is a general belief amongst many people and even doctors, that colds and flu are caused by bacteria, which is simply incorrect. They are caused by viruses, and using antibiotics to treat a viral infection is not only inappropriate and completely ineffective, but also extremely detrimental to the immune system. As you likely know, your healthy immune system is your most important ally in protecting you from foreign invaders like bacteria, parasites, fungi, viruses and other illnesses.
The most frequent way cold and flu viruses spread is not from coughing or sneezing, but rather from hand-to-hand contact via infected surfaces. Viruses can live for hours on computer keyboards, door knobs, and other objects, making it very easy to be exposed to such viruses during your daily routines, all year round. However, just coming into contact with a virus does not have to mean that you’ll come down with a cold or flu. An effective operating immune system, should actually protect you from viruses without ever getting sick. However, if you are sabotaging your well-being with unhealthy choices and your immune system is functioning poorly, viruses and other diseases will easily take a hold in your body.
Here are some common factors that alone or in combination can impair your immune response making you far more susceptible to contracting colds, flu, and other respiratory infections.
|Vitamin D deficiency, as a result of insufficient sun exposure||Eating too many sugary foods (particularly those containing fructose) and too many grains||All GMO foods (including hidden GMO ingredients)|
|Not getting at least 6 hours of sleep during the night||Insufficient regular, moderate exercise||Not addressing emotional stressors|
In the video below, Dr. Joseph M. Mercola, an alternative physician practicing in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, and author of several books, explains that if you keep your immune system in “optimal working order you’re far less likely to acquire the infection to begin with or, if you do get sick with the flu, you are better prepared to move through it without complications and soon return to good health”.
By following these simple strategies as a prevention method or the moment you first feel yourself getting sick, you can give your immune system the boost that it needs to fight a cold or flu virus:
- Maintain optimal levels of vitamin D. “Optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best strategies for avoiding infections of ALL kinds, and vitamin D deficiency is likely the TRUE culprit behind the seasonality of the flu – not the flu virus itself… researchers have found that 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day abolished seasonal influenza.” says Dr. Mercola. Work with your doctor and regularly monitor your vitamin D levels to confirm they consistently are within the therapeutic range of 50-70 ng/ml.
- Avoid processed foods, sugary foods (particularly those containing fructose) and too many grains. An average person consumes 150 grams of added sugar a day from processed food, and when sugar is consumed at that level it impairs your immune system almost immediately. Sugar acts as a fertilizer for pathogenic foreign invaders such as bacteria, yeast, parasites, fungi, viruses and other microbes by unbalancing your gut flora setting you up for an assault by a respiratory virus. “Most people don’t realize that 80 percent of your immune system actually lies in your gastrointestinal tract. That’s why controlling your sugar intake is CRUCIAL for optimizing your immune system” says Dr. Mercola.
- Avoid all GMO foods and hidden GMO ingredients (including dairy products from cows injected with rbGH genetically modified growth hormone). GMO foods are not entirely compatible with the human biology , and the fact that humans are not dying like flies from eating GM foods is not an indicator for what might be happening in the human system at a much slower rate. The only human feeding study ever published on genetically modified foods, showed that genetically modified genes inserted into the GMO soybeans not only transferred into the human DNA of intestinal bacteria, but they continued to function long after the consumption of GMO soy was discontinued! An Italian study found that the mice fed GMO corn expressed a wide variety of immune responses commonly associated with diseases such as Rheumatoid arthritis, Inflammatory bowel disease, Osteoporosis, Atherosclerosis, various types of cancer, allergies and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Other documented serious health risks related to GM products used to feed livestock (pigs, cows, buffaloes) include 5 times increase in mortality, lower birth weights, sterility and fertility problems, abortions, premature births, and other serious health issues.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is extremely common today and if your body is overly tired it will be harder for it to fight the any illnesses. Not only that sleeping 4 to 6 hours for even one night dramatically weakens your immune system and impairs all aspects of your cognition (including memory, clear thinking and problem solving ability), but also accelerate tumor growth, diabetes and weight gain. If you are having trouble sleeping and before reaching for the sleeping pills try self induced hypnosis through visualization to help retrain your body release the right hormones and induce deep sleep.
- Effectively address emotional stress. Nearly one out of four Americans report being under extreme stress, while countless others deal with an increasing amount of stressors each and every day, rather than decreasing. When stress is sudden or lingering, it causes your body to remain in “fight or flight” mode for far too long taking a toll on your adrenal glands. This can lead to a number of related health conditions, including fatigue, autoimmune disorders, skin problems, digestive problems, infertility, cancerous tumor growth and more. In fact, stress, hence your emotional health, is a leading factor in virtually any disease or illness you can imagine. Moderate exercise, walking, hiking, yoga, meditation and guided visualization are some of the many effective techniques that can help you relax and let go of worries.
- Regular, moderate exercise. A study published in 2011 revealed that regular exercise is a key strategy to boost your immune system and increase your resistance to upper respiratory tract infections by close to 50 percent. In addition, exercise increases your blood circulation, antioxidant defense, optimizes your hormone levels and helps with DNA repair.
- Increase Omega-3 healthy fats. Essential fats like omega-3 fats in their pure, animal-based form, are extremely important in providing health benefits for people of all ages as they contain two fatty acids crucial to your health, DHA and EPA. The health benefits of these fatty acids extend not only a healthy heart, joints, eyes, skin and hair, but brain and cognitive functions, pregnancy and lactation, and a normally functioning immune response.
- Wash Your Hands. Washing your hands often with a good old-fashioned chemical-free soap and warm water will reduce your chance of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. According to a press release issued by Natural Resources Defense Council, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA) acknowledged that antibacterial chemical triclosan is no more effective than regular soap and water at preventing infections. The agency also expressed concern about the development of antibiotic resistance from using antibacterial products and triclosan’s potential long-term health effects. Triclosan, the active ingredient in most antibacterial soaps, not only kills good and bad bacteria and is an endocrine disruptor, but also has been shown to impair muscle function and kill human cells.
- Use Natural Antibiotics. Oil of oregano, propolis, and garlic are Mother’s Nature broad-spectrum antibiotics against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in your body. Studies show that unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, these natural options do not appear to lead to resistance and have no negative effects to your health.
- Avoid Hospitals. Most of us don’t think of hospitals as places where we can get sick, but they are far more commonly breeding grounds for superbugs and infections of all kinds than the health industry wants us to know. The safest place to recover from illness that is not life-threatening is usually in the comfort of your own home.
If you integrate these simple immune-enhancing strategies into your lifestyle, you should be able to take control of your health and virtually eliminate viral infections. Don’t you agree it’s a much safer and wiser strategy to strengthen your immune system, rather than having to deal with viral symptoms like fever, chills, cough, stuffy nose, sore throat, body aches, headaches, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea for days and even weeks?