So many people are “down and out” right now with colds, flus and even worse, “man flu”. I am always asked the question “what do you think of flu shots?” As most people know, I am generally not a fan of using a man made product as a primary defence when the real healing powers lie in nature and looking after yourself. I myself, have not had a flu shot or a cold or anything of the sort in many years and this is due to a year round wellness program of movement, rejuvenation, fulfilment, and especially a balanced whole foods diet.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to wellness and vitality, is that your immune system lies mostly in your gut and is reliant on nutritious food, a healthy intestinal (gut) wall for maximal nutrient and mineral absorption and a balance of good bacteria to fight germs and bad bacteria.
With that in mind, these are my recommendations to build up your immunity and be flu and cold resistant.
EAT sustainable, ethical, organic, whole and real foods
When we eat food-like products, processed foods, hydrogenated oils and fats, sugars and table salt, we greatly imbalance our gut health and thus our immunity. These kinds of things, encourage an overgrowth of bad bacteria and can damage the gut wall.
Eat fermented food every day
Fermented foods like sauerkraut and beet kvass help the good bacteria build in your gut which are the building blocks of your immune system.
Include a good Probiotic in your diet
A home made probiotic will give you the biggest injection of good bacteria you can ever have. Homemade biodynamic yoghurts and keffir are second to none. You can make your own by purchasing keffir grains and unprocessed milk from your health food store. Be careful of store bought probiotics as they often have sugar added. You can buy good ones, but check with your health practitioner to make sure you get the best strain of bacteria that you need.
Drink Bone Broth
There is a reason why this is grandma’s old-time remedy. Bone broth is full of minerals that strengthen and repair the body like calcium and magnesium, but it is also amazingly healing for the gut wall, making it less permeable and more efficient at absorbing the nturients and minerals you need for overall vitality and immunity.
Drink apple cider vinegar 1 tbs, 2-3 times per day in water
Certified Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar is rich in enzymes and potassium and promotes digestion. This will help you ensure you get all the vitamins and minerals from your healthy diet. It also helps remove body sludge toxins, soothe a dry throat and supports a healthy immune system.
Soak your whole grains, nuts and seeds
Phytic acids in these products prevent them from being digested by the gut. Vitamins and minerals can bind to them and exit the body, leaving you deficient. Soaking them overnight will break down the phytic acids and allow you to absorb the good stuff from the grains, nuts and seeds themselves.
Eat the appropriate ratio of Macro-nutrients for your body at EVERY meal.
Every meal you eat should contain fat, protein and carbohydrate in the form of unprocessed and well sourced, grass fed animal products and fresh vegetables, free from pesticides and chemicals. The right balance of the three macro-nutrients can be determined by keeping a good food log and understanding to your body’s individual response to food.
Maintain Healthy Bowel Function
When we are constipated bad bacteria from a stool that hangs around too long can end up in the small intestine unbalancing the good bacteria. You should produce at least 6 inches of well formed stool once per day that is earthy in colour and smell. Drink plenty of filtered water and make sure your balance of fat, protein and carbohydrate is specific to you.
Get to Sleep by 10pm every night
While you are sleeping, your body repairs itself and transmits energy to each organ in your body for to prepare it for optimal function. Loosing out on sleep means you miss out on this vital rest and repair time, leaving your organs and immune system in deficit.
Move adequately to increase strength, energy and function
Training is a stress on the body especially when it is not supported by a healthy whole food diet and a balance of rest and rejuvenation. So many of us over do it and again, rob our body of already depleted nutrients and energy, damaging the immune system. At times of stress, your exercise program needs to be modified to support and strengthen the body.
Choose a balanced and specific strength training program over long distance cardio and include some energy building exercise like tai chi, qi going or yin yoga.Just like having optimal health, energy, wellbeing and vitality; strengthening your immune system involves a balance of movement, nutrition, rejuvenation and fulfilment, year round.