Do you ever wonder why there is a flu SEASON? Isn’t the flu virus around all year? Why is it more prevalent during certain months of the year than others?
Here are the four main reasons:
- We get less ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun during the fall and winter which means you don’t create as much Vitamin D when the sun is out. Low vitamin D levels will make you more susceptible to developing infections.
- The air during winter and fall is usually drier. Lower levels of humidity allow cold and flu viruses to survive longer outside of the body which increases the likelihood of infection.
- Cold weather makes it difficult for your white blood cells to reach the lining of your respiratory tract which decreases your immune system’s potency to fight against invading viruses and bacteria.
- During the fall is when our stress increases the most. From Halloween to Thanksgiving and into Christmas season, we have months of traveling, shopping, and other activities that are not typical during the rest of the year.
Here is the good news – you don’t have to resign yourself to accepting the cold and flu as an inevitability. It all depends on the health of your immune system. There are FLU-proof ways to protect your body.
- What to eat: Fill up on nutrient-dense foods, protein, and good healthy fats. Raw vegetables and fruits will provide Vitamin C and other immune boosting nutrients while protein and healthy fats will help you fend off sugar cravings. Sugar and foods that get digested into sugar such as grains, cereals, and starches can disturb the microorganisms in your gut. The gut is really the heart of your immune system. A healthy gut flora = a healthy immune system. Sugar fertilizes the bad bacteria in your stomach such as Candida. When these bad bacteria dominate your gut, the lining of your stomach will allow bad things into your bloodstream while good nutrients and vitamins leak out. PROTECT YOUR GUT!
- Supplements: Selenium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D. Selenium is a trace mineral that is important for many cellular processes in your body including the stimulation of antibodies that help you fight off viral, bacterial, and other foreign invaders. Vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant. There has been research that shows vitamin C deficiency results in reduced resistance to pathogens. Vitamin D is known for its role in bone health but it’s becoming more apparent in the latest research that it plays an important role in modulating the immune system. Studies show that people with low Vitamin D have a higher chance for autoimmune diseases.
- Stress Management and sleep: Sometimes you just have to hit the easy button. Take the time to rest and allow your body to recuperate. When we are swamped and overwhelmed, so are our bodies. When that happens our immune system is weakened and we become vulnerable to the flu and to getting sick. 7-9 hours of sleep per night is recommended. Only spend your energy and time on things within your control!