The best defense is a good offense, right? This year, take control of your health and start warding off the flu before it rears its ugly head. While natural supplements aren’t the ONLY preventative measures you need to take, it certainly can help in beefing up your immune system. Here are a few supplements and other more natural approaches for you to consider this upcoming flu season:
Whether or not probiotics can be used to prevent or treat the common cold or the flu is still up for debate, as the research on the topic is limited. But these so-called “good bacteria” in your gut have been shown to help fend off colds and the flu and can rebalance the bacteria we need in our bodies that can be destroyed by antibiotics. Probiotics come in pill form, but you can also introduce probiotics into your diet through yogurt, miso, tempeh, kimchi, coconut kefir and sauerkraut.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which have an important role in promoting healthy growth and development, have made headlines in recent years for, among other things, their possible cardiovascular benefits. Found in high levels in fish oil, Omega 3s increase the activity of phagocytes—cells that fight flu by eating up bacteria—according to a study by Britain’s Institute of Human Nutrition and School of Medicine. Other research shows that Omega-3s increase airflow and protect lungs from colds and respiratory infections.
Organic, plant-based diet
Increase the amount of organic fruits and vegetables in your diet, particularly those high in vitamin C like papaya, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli and kale.
Vitamin D supplement
Have your vitamin D levels checked with a simple blood test from your physician. People with the lowest vitamin D levels were 36% more likely to have upper respiratory infections, compared with those with the highest levels. In addition, in a large study involving about 19,000 Americans, people with the lowest vitamin D levels reported having significantly more recent colds or cases of the flu — and the risk was even greater for those with chronic respiratory disorders like asthma. At least five additional studies also show an inverse association between lower respiratory tract infections and vitamin D levels.
More importantly, try to combine these natural supplements with other preventative measures such as getting a flu shot. The more ways you can keep you and your family from getting sick, the better.