Flu Season is Early This Year
It already is time to talk about the flu prevention. It is just the beginning of September and we already have people testing positive for the flu. The most effective way to not get the flu is to get the flu vaccine. It takes about ten days to two weeks after your immunization for it to be effective. There are many additional tools at your disposal to help prevent you from getting the flu this year.
Boosting Your Immune System is the Key to Flu Prevention
The key to flu prevention is boosting your immune system. Your immune system fights off invading bacteria, parasites, and microbes. Focus on building up your immune system as we enter flu season.
Remember This Simple Acronym to Boost Your Immune System, S.E.L.F.
Schedule S.E.L.F. Care into your daily routine. It will not only enhance your immune system but will also reduce your stress, lower your risk of depression and assist in the prevention of all diseases.
- Relax. Your body heals when you slow down and relax. Relaxation gives your body time to renew, boosts your immune system and heals your mind and body.
- Meditation Practices. There are innumerable types of meditation so I will mention a few simple ones. Research shows meditation, guided imagery or repeating a mantra or positive phrase, reduces the stress hormone cortisol and this helps boost your immune system. When you do these various relaxation and meditation practices, your body produces relaxing chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. Your immune system is positively impacted by meditation and relaxation.
- Sleep. Sleep is critical for enhancing your immune system. Studies find that lack of sleep lowers your T cell count which compromises your immune system. Most people need 8 hours of sleep to keep your immune system at its maximum capacity.
Research shows that regular exercise helps boost your immune system. Your circulation, muscles, and organs get stronger and are more efficient which improves your immune system. Just remember not to exercise too much because too much exercise can actually overstress your body.
Spending time with family and friends on a regular basis is the perfect prescription for staying healthy and happy during flu season. Schedule a play or fun date with someone you care about at least once a week. Talk to a friend over a meal, bond with a friend at the gym or grab a cup of coffee or tea with someone. Your body produces a hormone called Oxytocin when you are with others and this helps your immune system. The American Psychological Association reported in a study that social isolation weakens your immunity and slows your body’s ability to fight the flu.
Good nutrition is essential to boost your immune system. Food is medicine and helps heal your body and mind. Though comfort foods are especially appealing this time of year when it’s chilly outside, try to stick with vitamin-rich staples like veggies, fish, fruits, and nuts. Below are some foods that help boost your immune system.
- Mushrooms. The Journal of the American College of Nutrition showed people who at a cooked shitake mushroom each day for a month had a higher T Cell count and less inflammation.
- Ginger. Ginger is antibacterial. It helps to enhance your immune system. Ginger is a natural blood thinner. It has an anti-inflammatory compound called gingerol that may be responsible for relaxing blood vessels.
- Honey. Honey helps to boost your immune system. It is loaded with vitamin C, antioxidants, and antibacterial compounds.
- Turmeric. Turmeric is a natural way to help bolster the immune system by increasing the immunomodulating capacity of the body.
- Protein. Protein is essential to boost your immune system. Protein makes up the molecules that fight disease.