That awful time of year is upon us. Everywhere we go-shopping centres, schools, and cinemas are flooded with sniffles, sneezes and coughs. Its flu season and we’re all doing as much as we can to keep the nasty virus away. Every chemist is offering the flu vaccine to help keep us healthy and productive throughout the winter months. Some of us, for various reasons, choose not to receive the flu shot. Some are afraid of side effects (which are few and far between), some do not have the funds to have their entire families vaccinated, and some simply believe in a more natural and holistic approach to flu prevention. If you are in any of these groups of people, and need some healthy, natural flu weapons in your arsenal, here are a few handy tips.
Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, but keep your diet balanced with regard to all the food groups.
These little morsels, which can be used in an endless variety of meals, contain two very important weapons which can help you fight off any icky germs; selenium, which helps white blood cells produce cytokines (a process that clears sickness), and beta glucan, an antimicrobial type of fibre, which helps to activate the cells that find and destroy infections.
Love it or hate it, garlic contains phytochemical allicin-a compound found to strengthen the immune system and fight off illness.
5 cups of black tea a day has been found to quadruple the body’s immune system after two weeks thanks to its theanine content.
Being healthy has never tasted so good! High doses of cocoa have been shown to support T-helper cells, which help the immune system fight against infection.
We all know how good water is for you, so keep drinking a good amount a day (about 8 glasses) to flush out toxins and keep your body in tip to shape!
Try to get in at least 20 minutes of exercise a day. Not only is a good workout-or even a brisk walk-directly good for your health (and keeps you looking good!), it also reduces stress which is a huge factor that contributes to illness. Yoga, Pilates and meditation are also great ways to alleviate stress.
Practising good hygiene techniques is your sure fire way of avoiding the flu. Wash your hands often, and avoid touching your face, eyes and nose.
Try to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night. This is essential in giving your body time to heal and recharge. When you are tired and fatigued, your body doesn’t have the strength needed to fight off pesky germs.
If you still can’t beat the bug, here are some healthy and natural flu remedies to help ease your symptoms and get you back on the road to health.
· Keep hydrated. Flu can dehydrate you so drink plenty of water. For a sore throat, sip on tea with honey.
· Rest. Your body needs time to recover, and getting as much rest as possible helps your body to fight off illness.
· Salt water. Gargling with salt water can alleviate a sore and inflamed throat.
· Spice up your food. Chillies contain capsicum, which is not only an antioxidant, but a natural decongestant too! Ginger and garlic also have great effects on strengthening your immune system.
· Pillow talk. Sleep with pillows propped up to alleviate annoying decongestion.
What are your thoughts on the flu vaccine? Do you prefer to beat the flu the all natural way, or is the flu jab a saving grace for you?
Written and Researched by Body and Mind's Lisa Lee