5 steps for cold and flu season
It’s currently 40’ outside, dreary and cloudy. For this west coaster, this translates to the depth of winter. And it seems like more and more people are getting a flu or getting over a flu.
From a functional medicine perspective, going into cold and flu season, the focus is on priming and supporting the immune system to move through a sickness efficiently and without complication.
Here are five steps you can take to help prevent and treat colds and flus:
Don’t underestimate your self-care routine: good sleep is essential for proper immune function. And studies have shown that both meditation and exercise can help prevent, or reduce severity and length of an upper respiratory infection.
Optimize vitamin D: the BMJ concluded that vitamin D supplementation helped reduce the risk of infection. Interestingly, people who supplemented with vitamin D daily or weekly had benefit, whereas people who received single super doses did not.
Take vitamin C: vitamin C has been shown to help prevent and reduce symptoms of cold and flus. In one study, participants were taking between 3-6 grams. At higher doses, just know that it can lead to loose stools and dosing may need to be reduced, accordingly.
Drink broth: homemade bone broth is going to have gut healing effects that will contribute to improved immune function.You can supercharge your broth by adding grated ginger, green onions, and turmeric and topping it with kimchi or sauerkraut for an extra probiotic boost. (add the fermented foods when it’s warm, not hot off the boil)
Load up on berries: berries are full of antioxidants and also have strong antiviral activity. In winter, buying frozen and adding them to smoothies is probably your best bet.Ideas:
A simple smoothie of frozen berries and coconut milk with a pinch of salt is a nice treat in the afternoon
Raspberry chia pudding could also be great
Of course, it’s always helpful to have the guidance and supervision of your health care provider. These suggestions, though, will fortify your cold and flu toolkit.