Fighting the Flu
Flu season is upon us. We had an amazing summer (the best I can remember) and now it’s starting to change. The mornings are dark, evenings are slowly creeping in and the temperature is starting to drop.
The flu sucks, and it can really bum you out. You’re either bed ridden, or house bound and can’t get any work done. You might have to stop training which is frustrating, your diet is out of whack and you look forward to being back on track. Sometimes the flu lingers and you just can’t seem to shift it.
I’ve just finished a bout of the flu, and it wasn't fun. Headache, achy joints, blocked nose, the works! I followed some of the tips in this blog and managed to shift it. Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to the flu, once the immune system gets compromised then it’s all about treating symptoms to get better as fast as possible.
It makes sense to look after yourself and prevent flu taking hold in the first place. Which is why I’ll listed these first. If you follow these preventable strategies then you should be just fine.
Protect the immune system
The majority of the immune system is located in the gut. Common cold, flu and almost every other illness has been linked to a disrupted gut mircobiome. You can think of this as the front line of defence against illness. If you want to go deep on the subject then have a listen to this podcast on gut health. It’s important to eat a wide variety of whole foods, drink plenty of water, introduce fermented foods, keep stress low, and sleep soundly on a consistent basis.
There’s no coincidence that flu kicks in when days are short, dark and with no sun. Vitamin D is critical to the health of the immune system. Studies show that vitamin D lowers the risk of getting the flu by 58%. It’s important to get Vitamin D3 as this is more easily absorbed by the body, or Vitamin D3 with K2 as these two act in synergy to maintain bone and cardiovascular health. Here’s the one I use
This is common knowledge and the first recommendation to fight the flu, however it’s practically useless once the flu virus has set in. Vitamin C is amazing at preventing flu in the first place, which is why increasing your intake over the winter months can keep it at bay. Most of the supplements out there aren’t great and can have some weird side effects, which is why botanical substances are best. Camu Camu berry has the highest concentration of Vitamin C than anything on the planet. Rose hips or this brand are great too.
7-9 hours of quality sleep protects the immune system. Have you noticed it’s easier to catch a cold when you’re run down and tired. Studies show sleep deprivation drastically increases vulnerability to infectious diseases. Have a read of my blog on sleep as it will pay off in the long run. Get to bed by 10pm, avoid screens before bed time, make your room as dark and cold as possible and make sleep a priority.
Once the flu is in your system then it’s time to bust out the remedies and start the recovery process so you’ll be back to normal in no time.
Adequate hydration is key to flushing out bacteria and viruses from the system. Increase water intake aiming for over three litres a day for women and over four litres for men.
Drink herbal teas like ginger tea and raw honey, or hot water, lemon, honey and cinnamon which prevent mucus build up and contain antioxidants that boost the immune system.
Eating a lot of food isn’t great when you have the flu. This can be stressful and bog the digestive system down, the body uses more energy digesting food than fighting the virus. Bone broth contains an animo acid called cysteine which is effective at breaking down and clearing mucus so it’s easier to breath. Consuming bone broth with added onion and garlic supports the immune system and provides the body with aded minerals.
This is a herb that helps the body fight off infections and acts as anti inflammatory which helps reduce bronchial symptoms. You can buy this just about everywhere now and has become very popular. It’s best taken with the first signs of flu.
These remedies are sure to help and with sufficient rest you’ll be back in no time. But there is a question I still get asked and that’s ‘should I train or not’ Which is a good question.
Exercises is usually OK if your symptoms are above the neck such as common cold, blocked sinuses, sneezing or sore throat. It’s a good idea not to go crazy, but some light exercise might make you feel better. Also being fit and active is a great prevention from flu in the first place, so that’s even more reason to be active in the winter months.
It’s even a goods idea to spend some time outdoors. Central heating from the house or being indoors during the winter can be a source of concentrated germs and toxins and the dry air can make you more sensitive to viruses. Fresh air contains fresh ions which has healing properties and will help you feeling more refreshed and energised.
The bottom line, try to prevent flu in the first place from the practises at the top of the blog. Increase Vitamin D and C intake, eat well, exercise and sleep well. Ands keep on top of the remedies if you do fall sick.
As always get hold of me if you need, the holiday season is fast approaching so look out for blogs to help you stay on track as well as some giveaways.