It is cold and flu season. Even if you get the flu shot, there are lots of other viruses from which you want to protect yourself or minimize the duration. This blog includes some of the best ways to prevent illness this winter.
Reduce Risk after Exposure
Handwashing & Nasal Flushes
Wash your hands frequently, especially after being in public area. Minimize your use of antibacterial soap/hand sanitizer. These products also kill the good bacteria in and on your body, which help you prevent infection.
Do normal saline nasal rinses/sprays daily. They rinse out the viruses before they can replicate enough to cause illness. Using ones that contain xylitol (Xclear) have been shown to be even more effective.
Want to make your own xylitol nasal spray? Mix the following ingredients together to make your own spray. Adjust the salt and baking soda to preference (higher salt may cause some burning).
- 1 cup distilled water
- ¼ – ½ level teaspoon of Salt
- 1 level tablespoon of Xylitol
- 4 Drops Grapefruit Seed Extract
- ¼ – ½ level teaspoon of Baking Soda
If you have an infant at home with older siblings in pre-school or school, have your children wash their hands and change clothes when they return home from school.
Rainbow of color
Fruits & veggies
Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables which contain phytonutrients, vitamins & minerals that support the immune system. Avoid sugar, processed foods, sodas, juice, etc.
ProBioitics & Prebiotics
Eating probiotic and prebiotic containing foods help maintain a healthy gut. Your gut is a large portion of your defense against illness.
Probiotics are good bacteria that help maintain a healthy gut, which is one of your first lines of defense. Prebiotics are the foods that feed the good bacteria in your gut.
Probiotics can be found in foods, especially fermented foods, and in supplement form (list on next page).
- Yogurt (dairy, coconut)
- Kefir (water and milk)
- Raw sauerkraut
- Raw pickles
These herbs and supplements have been shown to support the immune system and help prevent illness:
- Elderberry Syrup can be used all winter long.
- Zinc & Vitamin C– ensure plenty of zinc and vitamin C containing foods are in your child’s diet.
- Vitamin D – consider supplementing this vitamin during winter. Our bodies do not produce enough because of less sun exposure.
- Tulsi (Holy Basil) has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal qualities. Try it in foods, as a garnish for soup, or as tea (hot or iced).
When selecting a probiotic supplement, choose one that lists several strains. The best supplements are found in glass bottles in the refrigeration section. For children under 2 choose infant probiotic (should contain Bifidobacter & Lactobacillus). For children over 2 can use same version as adults – available at EarthFare & Whole Foods – see dosage on packaging. You can also visit our supplement store.
Feed your gut with these prebiotic foods.
- Chicory root
- Sweet potatoes
- Jersualem artichoke
- Fermentable fiber
- Resistant starch
Make A Soup
You have been told to eat soup when you are sick and here is why. Old fashioned soup used to be made with bone broth, which has lots of healthy ingredients that keep the gut healthy.
Make your own soup using bone broth and mix in the prebiotic foods above for a great soup your kids will love. Bone broth can be made at home or purchased at a local healthy food market.