The end of the year is possibly the busiest season. It’s also flu season! Arm yourself with these natural flu fighters to stay strong and healthy without setbacks!
According to the CDC flu season is most common during winter months. Flu rates begin to rise in October, peaks in December and can last through March.
Many medical organizations and doctors heavily recommend flu shots as a preventative measure. However, the flu shot is not always a practical choice. You may choose to avoid the shot for any variety of reasons from religious, allergy to the shot, fear of needles, or just that you don’t like using pharmaceuticals. A large number of health and fitness enthusiasts fit into the last category. Personally, I don’t use any type of mediation. If you’re like me, then this article will discuss natural flu fighters that will keep you healthy through flu season and beyond!
Let’s look at some quick flu facts.
- 7% of adults 18-49 received a flu vaccination within the past twelve months.
- 5-20% of Americans will get the flu each year
- An average 200,000 people will be hospitalized due to the flu
- Symptoms take 1-4 days to show up after catching the virus
- 3-7 days is average for the illness to run its course and end
- Fatigue may persist up to two weeks after the flu ends
- The flu causes an average of 10 billion dollars in associated medical costs
This video from NPR shows how the flu can be spread through a single sneeze.
Natural Flu Fighters
HEALTHY DIET– This is first on the list because it is the easiest and the most important. Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits will help to build a strong immune system. It’s not just eating right, its avoiding wrong. Processed foods do little for your body in way of nutrition. They can also promote inflammation and poor digestion which all hinder the immune process. It is also vital to stay properly hydrated so the body, and the immune system can work effectively. Check out this list of immune boosting foods compiled by U.S. News.
GARLIC– Being Italian I am a big fan of using garlic in my food. Garlic is also a non-caloric flavor enhancer, with a multitude of nutritional properties. It’s has been used for centuries as an antibacterial agent. Allicin, the major biologically active component of garlic, has been shown to have antibacterial activity against bacteria including multi drug resistant enterotoxigenic strains of Escherichia coli. Garlic is a tasty natural flu fighter that also comes with a multitude of other health benefits.
ECHINACEA– This widely popular herb has been used for years in the treatment of cold and flu. The use of Echinacea as a treatment dates back over 400 years being used by Native American tribes to treat a variety of ailments.
Studies suggest that Echinacea may be useful as a natural flu fighter by improving immune function, reducing inflammation, and relieving pain. A University of Maryland report broke down the history, use, and precautions of Echinacea as an herbal immune supplement for use as a natural flu and cold fighter.
ELDERBERRY– According to a report by Dr. Catherine Clinton ND, research demonstrates that elderberry extract has immune molding properties that neutralize the activity of viruses. This is promising as a natural flu fighter, especially with one study showing elderberry extract reducing flu symptoms when taken within twenty four hours of their onset.
REST– In a twenty-four-hour world many people neglect rest. Sleep itself has a strong effect on immune function. Sleep can be one of the easiest, and best natural flu fighters available. Studies show that sleep enhances immune function and supports active immune response. Reid B. Blackwelder MD professor of medicine at East Tennessee State University, Kingsport stated that “rest is another way of supporting the body’s ability to fight infection.”
Just as rest is vital for muscle repair, it’s also vital for illness recovery. According to David Nieman the director of the human performance lab at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina “complete bed rest is best” and the idea you can “sweat it out” is nothing more than a myth.
Dr. Daniel Neides, medical director of the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic tells patients “for every one day you are down with an infection, it takes three days to recover.” Even if you feel better after a couple days, don’t automatically jump back into your routine, especially intense workouts. Your body may tell you it’s up to par, but you could be setting yourself back.
Bone Broth – “Liquid Gold” was what we called it in a previous article. This flu fighter is loaded with natural “gut healers” to help boost the immune system through one of the power houses of the body; the intestines. A small cup of bone broth in the morning is enough to naturally boost your levels of probiotics, and seal the gut from negative invaders. It’s most beneficial when bone broth is in a fresher form. See our previous article to get bone broth recipes!