Flu season is here and back with a vengeance. Here are a 10 tips on how to protect yourself and build a spartan like army as your immune system.
1.) Sleep - We all know how important sleep is but still many are sleep deprived. We need at least 6 hours per night or we can go ahead and pretty much expect to get the flu. Less than 6 hours of sleep makes us 30% immune deficient the next day.
2.) Water - We are almost 70% water, water is mainly what our blood is composed of too. We need plenty of water to transport vital nutrients to our cells. Use this equation to prevent dehydration:
Your weight / 16 = The # of 8 oz. glasses of water you need to drink per day.
3.) Wash hands often - Alright captain obvious so far this article is telling you nothing that you do not already know. However, I could not make a top ten list without including the most important ways to avoid an infection and boost immunity. Wash your hands often with anti-bacterial soap and avoid touching your face.
4.) Amino Acids - These are the building blocks of protein synthesis. Protein is what our immune system needs build cells that defeat foreign invaders. Whether you are up againt the flu virus or something as tough as cancer you need to increase your amino acid intake to give your immune system enough ammo to fight a battle. I recommend an amino acid called MAP (Master Amino Pattern) that is used by cancer patients as well as Tour de France cyclists to increase protein levels.
5.) Proteolytic Enzymes - These enzymes digest protein and can be taken in two ways. First, they can be used with food to digest protein and spare your bodies own proteolytic enzymes. The more that we can spare our own natural source of these enzymes the more we will have for battling foreign invaders. Second, we can use these enzymes away from food to digest bacteria and viruses. When taken away from food they enter our bloodstream and target the protein rich wall of a viral/baterial infection and digest it/destroy it.
6.) Exercise - Exercise not only boosts endorphin levels which makes you feel great but sweating will help empty the 70 trillion garbage cans in our body (cellular waste). When fighting a foreign invader our cells accumulate waste that needs to be exited through the avenues of elimination (skin, liver, kidneys, bowels). Making sure our garbage collectors are emptying their trash cans is important in detoxification.
7.) Infrared Sauna - Dry heat is another great way to sweat especially if you are too sick to move and exercise. Find a sauna and detox or build one at home for about $500 with some PVC pipe, tenting materials and infrared bulbs from home depot for a quick made detox center.
8.) Butter - This superfood has such a bad rap but has many great qualities. Butter is composed of lauric acid which is the same fat that is in breast milk. We all know it may be a little awkward to ask a breast feeding mom for a glass of the good stuff so go ahead and buy a stick of butter and spare yourself some strange looks. Lauric acid has an anti viral, anti bacterial and anti microbial effect that helps to build a strong immune system. Look for organic butter from grass fed cows for your best option.
9.) Reduce sugar intake - Sugar feeds bacteria and helps it thrive. Starve an infection by reducing sugar intake. Sugar provides energy and should not be eliminated but good choices of sugar are the way to go. Natural sugars are in fruit and vegetables as well as honey and molasses – they should be part of a healthy diet. Processed sugars such as white or brown sugar and corn syrup should be avoided or limited. Cut back on sugar-loaded foods such as candy, baked goods, sugary cereals and sodas to reduce your cancer risk and help to improve your immune system.
10.) Juice Plus+® - I recommend this product for anyone looking to boost immunity. This product is unlike many supplements because it has several unbiased peer reviewed scientific studies. One of the studies showed Juice Plus+® was associated with fewer number of days with at least moderate common cold symptoms. There are also many studies supporting Juice Plus+® and using it to increase immunity, increase anti oxidant capacity and help decrease oxidative stress from prolonged intense exercise. It is a great way to get 17 different types of fruits and vegetables without the sugar. It is also a great supplement for kids or anyone who does not get enough fruits and vegetables.
Here is the article on how Juice Plus+® reduces common cold symptoms: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3023145/
If you have any questions about any of these recommendations or where to get them please email me at DrToddRodman@aim.com.
Best of luck in an illness free 2013,
Dr. Todd Rodman, DC CSCS