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Flu season struck early this year: Experts say that it’s hitting especially hard with higher levels of flu activity and tougher viral strains. A strong immune system is the key to warding off annual flu bugs; and there are many ways to prime your defenses, including healthy diet, supplements, exercise and stress relief. If you do get sick, these unique natural flu remedies can help speed up recovery time and relieve uncomfortable symptoms.
10 Unusual Flu Remedies
1. Coconut Oil
This healthy fat is rich in a substance called lauric acid which provides many health benefits, including antiviral properties. Lauric acid is shown to directly interfere with the ability of viruses to replicate and spread, thus halting infection. Coconut oil also contains nutritional components that stimulate immunity, reduce inflammation and support other areas of health. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons per day to soups, salads and smoothies or even eat it straight.
2. Baking Soda
This simple compound, known as sodium bicarbonate, has long been used therapeutically for numerous medical conditions and first aid applications. It may fight against the flu by helping to neutralize acidity in the body, creating an inhospitable, alkaline environment for viruses and germs. When you start to feel the flu coming on or are exposed to a virus, begin by taking ½ teaspoon in water every two hours, six times throughout the day. Scale down two doses per day thereafter until symptoms subside.
There are hundreds of species of beneficial bacteria that reside in the digestive tract, assisting digestion, boosting nutrient assimilation and protecting against harmful microbes. Now, researchers are learning more about the direct relationship between probiotic bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, and various aspects of the immune system. Studies show that probiotic bacteria can increase T cells, a critical class of immune responders. Other studies show that the probiotic strain Bacillus coagulans can increase immune responses to flu viruses, even swine flu. Find a comprehensive formula and follow dosage instructions, which can be increased during active flu symptoms.
4. Medicinal Mushrooms
Many species of medicinal mushrooms have been shown to help boost immunity and support overall health through multiple mechanisms of action. The varieties Coriolus, Reishi, Agaricus, Cordyceps, Umbellatus and Maitake are particularly helpful for flu treatment and protection. They contain an abundance of therapeutic compounds that boost the functions of immune cells, demonstrate potent antiviral activity, detoxify the body, reduce inflammation, support digestion and deliver powerful antioxidants. Medicinal mushrooms demonstrate an uncanny “intelligence” in the body and can actually help train the immune system to function more powerfully and efficiently. Look for an organically grown formula and follow instructions. Dosing can be increased during active illness and taken every few hours.
Studies show that laughter can be a powerful immune booster. In addition to alleviating immune-suppressing stress, laughter is shown to increase NK (natural killer) cell activity and positively influence the expression of genes related to immunity. You don’t have to feel guilty about watching back-to-back comedies during the day when you’re at home with the flu.
An ancient mind-body system of exercises, there are various methods of yoga practice. Studies show that certain yoga styles, such as Iyengar style and mindful meditation yoga, offer significant health benefits. Yoga can protect against stress, positively influence immune related-genes, boost circulation, reduce chronic inflammation and increase healing. Though the flu makes us feel tired and achy, yoga’s gentle movements and stretches help increase oxygenation and circulation, which are critical in fighting illness.
A daily dose of sunshine, about 15 to 20 minutes, can improve health by providing natural vitamin D3 to boost immunity, fight viruses and promote numerous aspects of overall health. If you live in an overcast area, consider a natural vitamin D3 supplement.
Music therapy is commonly used to help address various aspects of health. Certain musical styles such as classical music have been well researched and shown to reduce stress, boost immunity, support metabolism and much more. Choose something you enjoy and try to practice deep breathing while listening.
9. Modified Citrus Pectin
This simple preparation, made from the white pith of citrus peels and modified for absorption and activity in the body, is shown to offer a powerful boost to immunity, particularly NK cell activity. It controls inflammation, fibrosis and cancer formation by blocking the harmful effects of excess galectin-3 in the body. Modified citrus pectin also safely removes immune-suppressing heavy metals, thus helping to protect against viruses and infections. Taking 5 to 10 grams of modified citrus pectin per day can offer a significant boost to immunity and help speed recovery, especially when taken together with medicinal mushrooms.
10. Avoid Sugar
Most sugars, particularly refined sugars, trigger a cascade of harmful reactions in the body that directly suppress immunity and feed harmful invaders. Choose sweeteners that do not spike glucose and cause the inflammatory cascade of immune-suppressing actions. Stevia and coconut sugar are excellent alternative sweeteners that do not weaken the immune system or fuel the replication of harmful viruses, bacteria and microbes.
This year, if you are thinking of getting a flu shot, consider natural immune boosters and healthy lifestyle habits as a first line of defense. These holistic approaches can not only protect against colds and flus, they help maintain overall health and longevity throughout the year and beyond. For more practical health and wellness information, visit www.dreliaz.org.