It has been a bad year for the flu so far in Canada. Even those who received the flu shot are coming up short on defenses with new flu strains. Any natural defense we can use to boost our immune system will go a long way in preventing many days of misery, or even a life-threatening condition.
Prevention and treatment of viral infections can be tricky. A flu strain may be immune to some cytokines produced by our bodies in abundance when we ingest certain anti-viral foods and herbs. This can be detrimental if we are fighting one of these immune viruses because the body will over-produce those cytokines. In effect, the body will attack itself. This is why we should never take Echinacea, algae and some other anti-virals when we are sick with an unidentified virus.
These details and contradictions are what makes it so important to consult a doctor if we have symptoms of the flu. Otherwise, we can use antivirals freely as a preventative measure.
Naturally-derived nutrients that are proven to help fight viral infections include Vitamins A, C and E, Selenium and Zinc. Look for foods high in antioxidants, carotene and lysine to boost immunity. Science has proven time and time again that the digestive system is also closely connected to the immune system, which makes probiotics and prebiotics a valuable partner in the fight against the flu.
Fresh is best! Sometimes powdered or extract forms of herbs are easier to mix in with other foods or to take as supplements. The key is to find a supplier that uses fresh herbs and low-heat processing for a full range of benefits. We rely on Starwest Botanicals for many of our bulk herbs.
Some of the most powerful antiviral foods and herbs are:
Reishi or Shitake mushooms
Yogurt with active cultures
Japanese knotwood root (or resveratrol supplements)
Seaweed & Algae
Calcium Montmorillonite Clay
Unrefined, virgin coconut oil
Chicken or turkey soup may be an old remedy but science has since proven it to be beneficial, especially for respiratory illness. It allows us to combine many of the above vegetables and herbs. Avoid over-cooking to retain as many of the beneficial components as possible.
??? What do you do to prevent the flu? Please add your comments below.
Healthy Canadians (Government of Canada)
Cruse, Julius, M.. Lewis, Robert E. Atlas of Immunology, Third Edition. 2010.
Balch, Phyllis. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. 2010.
Prescription for Herbal Healing, 2nd Edition: An Easy-to-Use A-to-Z Reference to Hundreds of Common Disorders and Their Herbal Remedies. 2012.
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