Our hot and humid Summer is over and Fall is upon us. And with the cooler weather, the Cold/Flu season is coming.
What can we do to prepare ourselves and limit the time spent coughing, sneezing, and feeling miserable?
We need to prepare the immune system (our defense mechanism).
Most important is to maintain a healthy lifestyle:
Eat well-balanced meals with plenty of phytonutrients, which are found in vegetables and fruits, especially dark and bright colored ones. Avoid processed, fried, preserved foods and those loaded with sugar/carbohydrates
Get the right amount and type of exercise: either moderate intensity 30-60 min/day or high intensity 5-10 min/day. Combine with light work-outs, like walking, up to 60 min/day to stay in shape, but do not over-exercise, which could weaken your immune system
Sleep 7-8 hours/night and make sure it's a restful sleep to let your defense system clean the infection and inflammation
Manage stress by practicing meditation or other relaxation techniques
Follow basic hygiene: keep your hands away from your mouth and eyes; wash them frequently with soap
Clean your work space, keyboard, desk, telephone with alcohol wipes, especially if you share it with other people
Keep your gut healthy:
Eat fermented food, like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, miso, fermented cheeses, pickles, amasi, ayran, kombucha, natto, kvass, yakult, yogurt with live cultures, and many others
Take pro-biotic supplements
Take pre-biotics to nurture good bacteria
Avoid acid lowering medications, like PPI (Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid, Protonix, etc.) or H2 blockers (Pepcid, Zantac, etc.), because they remove our first line of defense. Our stomach acid destroys bad bacteria and viruses that we swallow
Limit the use of anti-inflammatory pain killers like NSAIDs (Motrin, Advil, Aleve, etc.), because they slow-down our immune response (inflammation is how our immune system defends us against the "invaders"). These medications can also destroy the protective lining of our gut and let bad bacteria, viruses and their dangerous byproducts get into the blood.
Add immune boosting supplements to your regimen:
Omega 3 fatty acids, like in fish oil, krill oil, algae (unfortunately our body doesn't convert oil from vegetable sources, like hempseed, flax seeds, chia seeds into active ingredients very efficiently)
Garlic cloves, and others
Other proactive strategies include:
Salt water gargling 3 times a day
Nasal saline spray 2 times a day
Earthing - walking barefoot outside on the grass. This has an anti-inflammatory effect and accelerates our immune system's response to bacteria and viruses.
And of course don't forget your flu shot!
For more recommendations on healthy living, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Koganski at 215-750-7000, or www.newtowninternalmedicine.com.
Cesarone MR et al.Prevention of influenza episodes with Colostrum compared with vaccination in healthy and high-risk cardiovascular subjects: the epidemiological study in San Valentino. Clin Appl Thromb Hemost. 2007 Apr: 13/2:130-6.
Mousa HA. Prevention and Treatment of Influenza, Influenza-like Illness and Common Cold by Herbal, Complementary, and Natural therapies. J Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine. 2016 Apr 6.