Now that cold and flu season is here you are about to be bombarded with advertisements for flu shots and medications. While we respect your decision to use these methods to prevent or get over your cold or flu, if you choose to do so, this blog is dedicated to sharing with you how we can all boost our immunity this year to fight off a cold or flu – naturally.
There is no biological reason we have to catch a cold or get the flu.
The fact is that a cold or flu is most often a sign of a weak immune system. By becoming sufficient in your essential micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, etc.), you can create an immune system capable of doing its job – which is to keep you well. Not only can you save yourself the pain and discomfort of dealing with these illnesses, you won’t miss work and you will find that you have more energy as well.
There is a good reason why the colds season peaks after the holidays – SUGAR!
Think about it, we are entering a fabulous, fun holiday season and what do we do throughout it? We eat cakes and cookies and celebrated with foods that are high in sugar. Sugar is the main ingredient in many of the foods that we say are filled with NAKED CALORIES, because these foods are all but devoid of your essential vitamins and minerals. But sugar does something else too. It competes with vitamin C for receptor sites in our cells, blocking our cells ability to absorb vitamins C, and when you become low in vitamin C your immunity is weakened and you become susceptible to catching all the nasty bugs going around. Cold weather doesn’t cause colds, a low immune system does. The excess sugar eaten over the holidays not only packs on the pounds, but may also be the reason cold and flu rates peak after the holidays.
When most people get sick they grab over the counter cold medications, or even prescription medications, but is this the best first step?
When someone takes an over the counter or prescription medication they do so because they assume that it will make them feel better, however what many people don’t realize is that these medications actually deplete essential vitamins and minerals from their body when they take them – in some cases the same micronutrients that are needed to keep their immune systems strong! For example:
- Aspirin depletes immunity fighters vitamin C and zinc
- Ibuprofen depletes zinc
- Antacids deplete vitamin D and zinc
- Antibiotics deplete 11 essential micronutrients. (pg. 135-136 Naked Calories)
- WATCH OUT- Children’s medications are no better: According to research at The Hospital for Sick Children in Canada, Penicillin, in solution form, is 80% sugar. Three of the other top ten children’s medications came in above 60% sugar. This gives a whole new meaning to Mary Poppins magic spoonful of sugar. So check the label, you may be lowering your child’s immune system with every spoonful of vitamin C blocking sugar.
Look to your food as a first line of defense – A super healthy cold fighting breakfast.
While we have learnt many approaches to enhancing wellness on The Calton Project (our 6 year, 100 country global expedition), here is a breakfast that is going to start our day by making sure our gut is strong. No, we won’t be doing sit ups. In order to stay healthy we need to make sure that the bacteria in our gut are working efficiently because almost 80% of our immune system resides in our gut.
We are going to do this by eating yogurt with fresh strawberries.
- The “live active cultures” or probiotics found in yogurt, are healthy bacteria that keep the gut and intestinal tract free of disease-causing germs.
- In an 80-day Swedish study those who took in these probiotics increased their immunity and took 33% less sick days.
- WARNING: we aren’t talking the sugar-sweetened yogurts sold in many grocery stores. We already discussed how sugar lowers immunity. You want to look for an unsweetened product or a plain yogurt (try natural – unpasturized yogurt if possible) and add in some of our next micronutrient immunity boosting food – strawberries!
- Always try to buy them locally, this way you can be assured that they haven’t lost too many of their vitamins and minerals during transport.
- You should also choose organic strawberries because they are high on the dirty dozen, which means they are at a high risk of heavy pesticide residue.
- For fighting colds, strawberries are a great weapon. They are a rich source of immunity-boosting vitamin C, and eating strawberries causes your body to produce higher levels of antibodies and white blood cells.
Mix them in to the plain yogurt add a little stevia (we recommend KAL brand), a natural sweetener, to replace the sugar, and you have a fantastic immunity boosting breakfast that tastes great!
For lunch we recommend a burger and well, some carrot fries.
Millions of Americans are deficient in Zinc. Even mild zinc deficiency can increase your risk of infection. This is because zinc is very important for the development of white blood cells, and these white blood cells act like your immunity military that recognizes and destroys invading bacteria, viruses, and assorted other bad guys.
The Beef Burger:
Beef is a great source of zinc. Try to use 100% grass fed beef (other wise known as grass finished beef) for even more of your essential micronutrients as well as the extra bonus of CLA (a fat metabolizing type of fat—and who can’t use that extra perk!)
Now for the carrot fries:
They are so easy to make and they are a great alternative to French fries if for no other reason than carrots are lower on the glycemic index than potatoes (47 vs. 85). Just cut them into French fry type strips coat them very lightly with oil (we use coconut oil) and then pop them in the oven to bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. These are great because the carrots are loaded with beta-carotene, a phytonutrient that increases your body’s production of T-cells and natural killer cells.
We are having salmon and broccoli for dinner with an ingredient that has been shown to cut colds by 2/3 when eaten regularly.
At this point, it should go without saying that we recommend wild caught salmon (because we do not believe in feeding corn to a carnivorous fish) and because it has much higher levels of omega-3.
- First, it has selenium, which helps white blood cells produce specific proteins that help clear flu viruses out of the body.
- Additionally, wild salmon is a great source of omega-3, which reduces inflammation, increasing airflow and protecting lungs from respiratory infections.
- Broccoli has amazing benefits. First, it has dynamic trio of phytonutrients that support the body’s detoxification process by eliminating unwanted contaminants.
- It also a concentrated source of beta-carotene and it contains MORE vitamin C than an orange! (89mg vs. 59mg per 100 g serving)
- We are going to put a little garlic butter on our vegetables and fish. Using grass fed butter infuses the meal with even more beta carotene (400% more to be exact) while the garlic contains the potent infection fighting component known as, allicin, which when eaten on a regular basis has been shown to reduce colds by two-thirds in studies.
Micronutrient sufficiency is the first step to optimal health.
The truth is we can all build a stronger immune system by becoming micronutrient sufficient, but if you are one of those people who can’t always eat perfectly, or (like us) find that you have some lifestyle habits that can deplete those essential micronutrients (such as exercise, stress, alcohol, etc.), we also recommend taking a well formulated multivitamin. Getting enough of your essential vitamins and minerals and reaching micronutrient sufficiency not only fights colds and flu’s but, it can also prevent disease and maximize weight loss as well. If you’re feeling overwhelmed when it comes to your diet, micronutrient sufficiency, and where to start, join us for our next VIP group beginning in January. Get all the details here.