The flu is really going around here, unfortunately. Is it where you live too? If you’re like me you know at least a few people who have already succumbed to it this year. Thankfully, we haven’t had it, and hopefully won’t get it, because we do some very proactive things on a daily basis to help boost our immune systems and keep us healthy. It’s always better to try and stay well, rather than having to get well, so prevention is key! We don’t ever get the flu vaccine (that’s for another post) but there are many very easy, natural ways to prevent the flu, and some great ways to naturally treat the flu too, if it does happen to come knocking at your door. Studies have shown that conventional treatment for the flu can actually slow down the healing process when you’re trying to kick the flu, so employing these natural remedies can often get you well faster.
- Try to eat healthy food as much as possible. I can’t tell you how many people I know got the flu or some kind of illness IMMEDIATELY following the holidays. Some of that was probably because they were around more people, so they were exposed to more germs, but they had just consumed a huge amount of unhealthy, sugary foods, and their immune systems were shot, leaving their bodies unable to fight off those germs. People who eat out often (especially fast food) and people who eat a lot of sugar, and processed foods are at higher risk for illness because these things suppress their immune systems like crazy. You can do a lot of things to help boost your immune system, but if you’re constantly counteracting those things by eating junk, it’s like taking one step forward and two steps back.
- Get lots of Vitamin D. Did you know that the flu has actually been linked to Vitamin D deficiency? Yup, and because we don’t get enough Vitamin D in our diets, and we’re not spending enough time in the sun to get what we need either, the average American is severely deficient in this extremely important vitamin. Vitamin D has been shown to be much safer and more effective with regard to flu prevention than getting the flu shot. Daily supplementation recommendations say you need about 35 IUs per pounds of body weight. You also need to take Vitamin K2 (about 90 MCG daily) with your D3, so that your body can readily use the D vitamin. This supplement has both D3 and K2, which makes it ideal. Vitamin D can also help you recover from the flu more quickly.
- Take a lot of Vitamin C too. Vitamin C can really help beef up your immune system, but it is not a vitamin that our bodies are able to manufacture, so we need to be consuming lots of Vitamin C-rich foods and supplements. There are some great food sources for Vitamin C, but contrary to popular belief, orange juice isn’t the best one because it contains too much sugar! Sweet red bell peppers have more Vitamin C, plus other great nutrients, and broccoli is another good source. Young Living makes a fantastic Super C supplement that contains not only a large amount of Vitamin C, but also other nutrients that help your body to absorb and use it more effectively. You can order it here.
- NingXia Red, a high antioxidant, immune boosting, whole body supplement, is my best friend. This stuff rocks, people. It just rocks. It’s chock full of all kinds of goodness to help support your immune system and keep you healthy so your body can fight off the nasties. We drink it every day to support overall wellness, and increase our dosage if/when we feel something coming on. You can get it from Young Living here.
- Use elderberry syrup for the win! Elderberry syrup has been shown in multiple studies to be more effective with regard to preventing the flu than the flu shot, and also extremely beneficial with regard to treating the flu. You can buy elderberry syrup at the store or on Amazon, or you can make your own very easily, and for less money! Get the recipe here.
- Add some high quality essential oils to your daily routine. While I cannot tell you that essential oils will prevent or treat the flu, I can tell you that they are incredible for aiding your body’s natural immune response. Good, clean essential oils can help oxygenate and detox your cells, and help your cells to communicate with each other, all of which help the body to function more properly and fight off invaders more effectively. We use Thieves Essential Oil Blend daily in a roll-on which we apply to our feet (I dilute it half and half with a carrier oil). You can also use other potent oils such as Oregano, Thyme, Basil, Rosemary, Lemon, Tea Tree, and others. If you do get sick, continue using any of these oils or a combination of them on your feet, up and down your spine (be sure to dilute well!) to keep supporting your immune system. You’ll want to use them several times a day for best results. You can get the best oils here.
- Oscillococcinum is also great to have on hand. You can use it as a preventative and also as a remedy for the flu. A naturopath friend of mine recommends this stuff highly, suggesting one little pellet a day, under the tongue, for prevention. For full blown flu symptoms, take 5 pellets every 15 min for the first two hours. Then, 5 every 2 hours until symptoms improve. After that, take 5 pellets 3 times a day. It’s much better than Tamiflu for a fraction of the cost, plus you’ll avoid all the nasty toxins and side effects of the drug. You can get it at a health food store, and also here on Amazon. Here is a link to some clinical trials for this homeopathic remedy. I have read that you should not use homeopathic remedies and essential oils alongside each other, so I would suggest using either the oils or the Oscillococcinum, but not both together. If you’re an avid oiler, like I am, just go with that. If you don’t like oils, then the Oscillococcinum is a great option for you.
- Take a good quality Probiotic to fuel your immune system. A whopping 80% (at least) of our immune system is in our gut, and there is an onslaught of things from diet to environment that attack and debilitate our immune health–right in our guts. We need to be constantly replenishing and reviving our gut bacteria so that they are able to do the important job of keeping us and getting us well. Probiotic-rich fermented foods are super important, but you probably also need to take a supplement to make sure you are getting what you need. Most doctors worth their salt are recommending that people take a probiotic daily for optimal health. Young Living’s Life 9 is an amazing, cost-effective probiotic with 9 different strains that are critical to gut health. You can purchase it here.
It’s also important to know that the flu is a virus, so antibiotics are not effective to treat it, as they are only effective against bacterial infections. Antibiotics can have a devastating effect on your immune system as well, so avoiding them when at all possible is always best. Of course, anytime you are sick, you want to force fluids, get plenty of rest, and STAY HOME. Pushing yourself to go out is detrimental to your healing, and also exposes others to your germs, which is not nice.
If you would like to see more ways to stay healthy and keep your immune system functioning well to prevent any illness this cold and flu season, check out my post: 15 Ways to Support Your Immune System and Stay Well.
Hopefully you can employ these natural methods of prevention and keep the flu bug away all season long! I hope and pray health and wellness for you and for your family! And I hope you’ll do the same for me and mine 🙂