Why Winter Welcomes the Flu
Have you noticed how the flu runs rampant this time of year? It’s really no coincidence when you think about it. The holidays have us running around and more stressed. This weakens the immune system; our defense against viruses, bad bacteria and illness in general. Add to that a lot of excessive holiday fare. The holidays tend to have people eating more unhealthy foods over a short period of time. Oh, and the alcohol. All of this stresses our natural detoxification mechanisms, making us more susceptible to succumbing to viruses like the flu.
If I was forced to limit myself to the least amount of supplements to aid in this defense, I would choose high quality probiotics and highly bioavailabile vitamin C. The probiotics support the immune system by increasing the good bacteria in your gut. The gut has been dubbed the second brain, and it houses 70% of the cells that make up our immune system. We can’t be healthy with a gut that is not healthy.
Back before processed foods and refrigerators, our ancestors ate fermented foods in the non-growing months. Think about it. They didn’t have daily shipments of produce from warmer climates. They couldn’t grow food in cold climates during the winter. And with the exception of large-scale famines, they didn’t starve every winter either. One of the foods common to cold climate winters was fermented food. Many cultures have their own version of fermented vegetables. Fermentation was a good way to make the last harvests last longer, as well as provide protective good bacteria to the gut in winter months. Another was canning all of those high antioxidant fruits.
With the proliferation of additive and preservative-loaded processed foods, we’ve gotten away from foods that actually help to keep us well. And not only do processed foods not help us stay well, they have been show to contribute to the deterioration of our health.
Vitamin C is also very old school. I remember taking it as a kid. It’s a very powerful antioxidant and is well known to aid in the reduction of the duration of a cold. You can read more about vitamin C and other supplements here.
Staying hydrated with purified water, getting 8 hours of sleep, and eating clean, real food are a few other key weapons in the battle to ward off the flu. And even though it’s winter, try to get some time outdoors. Locking ourselves indoors with stagnant air doesn’t help. Dress appropriately for the weather and go for a walk in nature. Have a snowball fight or build a snowman. Go sledding, skiing or skating. Feed your soul some good stuff; not just your gut.
For me, today, while everyone around me is looking sad and tired, I started the day with yoga, a deep tissue/lymphatic massage and a chiropractic adjustment. These, along with everything above, are what keep me humming in the throes of a flu-laden winter deep freeze.
If you’d like to start adding more healthy habits to support your immune system and gut health, sign up for New Year, New Health Habits starting Sunday. I’ll be sharing 14 daily healthy habits aimed at supporting the body’s daily, gentle detoxification process. Sign up and have them delivered to your inbox every day for two weeks. Here’s the link to register.
Have a great weekend and get out there!!!
Yours in Wellness,