Flu season is once again upon us but don’t worry, with peak flu season traditionally hitting in January, you still have time to consider how best to protect you and your family. As holistic or natural approaches to health and wellness continue to grow in popularity and earn widespread acceptance, more and more people are beginning to question traditional methods of flu prevention and treatment. By building your immune system using natural approaches, you and your family will build a strong defense against the flu this year.
Does Flu Vaccines Work?
The most commonly recommended flu preventative is the vaccination, of course. The history of the vaccination goes back to nearly a hundred years. In 1918, a major flu pandemic spread which killed an estimated 20-40 million people worldwide. When the first strain of flu virus was isolated in the early 1930’s, the pandemic was still recent history. By the 1940’s, scientists had created a working flu vaccination. While getting an annual flu vaccination has become commonplace for many,the public is beginning to question the effectiveness of the flu vaccination.
Is the flu vaccination even effective?
Using reliable data, it’s easy to see the effectiveness of the flu vaccination is questionable, at best. Year after year, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and those with vested interest, such as big business pharmacological corporations, lead the way in persuading the public to get the flu vaccination through a combination of overstating its effectiveness and understating the risks involved in receiving the flu vaccination. In fact, as the public walks into their doctor’s office or local pharmacy, are they given the true facts about the benefits versus the risks of the flu vaccination? Every medication, vaccination, and western treatment poses some risk for each of us, as individuals, with a unique combination of chemical sensitivities, allergies, underlying medical conditions, medical history, and age, which are all factors.
If you keep in mind, for all of our medical progress, we have yet to discover a cure for even the common cold, you will begin to understand the daunting task of differentiating between the vast numbers of pathogens which can cause flu-like symptoms (some estimate between 150-200 pathogens) and the various flu strains which then mutate into new “drift” variants as they travel. You must ask yourself if protecting yourself with the flu vaccination, which may or may not protect you from only 3 flu strains, is worth the additional medical risks it poses to you and your family?
Natural Immune Boosters
When considering natural approaches to protect you and your family this flu season, the most important thing to remember is these approaches will strengthen your immune system and go a long way in protecting you and those you love from many other added viral, bacterial, fungal infections. These simple natural approaches are easy to incorporate into your family’s daily life and everyone will enjoy the new aromas and tastes in their teas or new recipe.
In traditional Chinese medicine, mushrooms are used for their many medicinal qualities. Shitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms are used for their ability to boost the immune system. Mushrooms have shown to have both antiviral and antibacterial properties which make them great partners in preventing both cold and flus this winter season. Shitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms are often referenced when discussing medicinal mushrooms because they each contain high amounts of “beta-glucans” which have been showed to boost immunity.
You may be able to find these mushrooms at your local natural food store or by ordering online. These mushrooms can be purchased fresh or dried and cooked in delicious meals. Again, if you hope to protect your whole family this flu season, adding medicinal mushrooms to your regimen will barely be notice by the family as they enjoy their soups and meals!
Ginseng, which has always been known for its immunity boosting effects, was recently found to have the potential to ward off the flu. Research has indicated a daily dose of ginseng can help prevent both colds and flus. Ginseng has been shown to have antiviral properties which act against the flu virus.
A new study, completed by Sang-Moo Kang, PhD of Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State, found red ginseng extract not only assists in the prevention of the flu but also in protecting the cells already infected with the flu virus by reducing inflammation. The study particularly recommended the use of Korean red ginseng to fight against the flu. The active ingredients in Korean red ginseng does the body entirely good by relieving the effects of stress, fatigue, and disease all which can negatively impact the strength of your immune system leaving you minimally protected against the upcoming flu season. Taking a daily dose of ginseng will replenish your system by introducing anti-inflammatory properties, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-oxidants. A daily dose of ginseng will improve the quality of your health in multiple ways and prepare your body’s immune system to ward of colds and flus this winter.
Ginseng can be purchased in capsule form, powder form, or by the whole root. Predominantly a matter of preference, ginseng extract can be taken in capsule form, a liquid form such as a tincture or tea, or by preparing and eating the root in thin slices. If you are concerned with protecting your entire family, tea may be the right choice since it’s easily enjoyed by everyone.
Derived from the turmeric root, curcumin is an herbal remedy which has been shown through studies to possess powerful healing and protective qualities. Curcumin acts as an antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. If all these qualities were not amazing enough, a study showed curcumin acted as an antiviral, assisting the body to stop viral replication while also, protecting cells uninfected from becoming infected. The study indicated curcumin was a viable natural alternative to prevent flu infection and also, in the treatment of flu infection.
Like ginseng, curcumin can be taken a number of different ways. Turmeric powder can be used easily in cooking as it is non-toxic and is often used as a spice. Curcumin or Turmeric powder can also be taken in capsule form. Curcumin can also be dissolved in milk.
Fermented Food and Probiotics
Another option for your family “flu fighting regimen” is include fermented food into your diet this winter. Fermented food items contain probiotics which are important for maintaining gastrointestinal health which the strength of our immune system depends. Some examples of fermented food and beverages include; “live and active culture” yogurt, cultured milk products, and also, fermented vegetables such as pickles and sauerkraut. You can also get the same benefits from drinking a fermented tea called Kombucha.
Fermented food and beverages contain bacteria necessary for a healthy digestive track. It is estimated 80% of the immune system relies upon a healthy digestive track. This is another great option for the whole family as these items are easily rotated in menu plan.
It’s important to remember the influenza virus causes an infection of the respiratory system and any respiratory secretion or bodily fluids can transmit the virus. People infected with the flu virus are contagious one day prior to being symptomatic and five days after showing symptoms. The first barrier to transmission is the use of universal precautions. Proper and frequent hand washing, coughing etiquette (into the crock of your elbow as opposed to into the hands), not reporting to work or school while contagious, disinfecting all surfaces including handrails and door knobs frequently will all help decrease your chances of being infected with the flu.
It goes without saying, our lifestyles don’t always promote health; emotionally, spiritually, or physically. When you finish reading this article and consider your options in protecting you and your family during this flu season don’t forget one of the easiest steps in promoting health and disease prevention, involves self-care. Living a stressful, hurried lifestyle would leave anybody feeling depleted, imagine this is also how you are impacting your immune system. When you are run down, your immune system is also running low. Be sure to get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, allow yourself quiet time for reflection and meditation, physical exercise for stress reduction and a metabolism boost, and plenty of time for positive relationships, physical affection, and verbal affirmations with family and friends. You might be surprised how a little self-care can go a long way in maintaining a healthy body, mind, and spirit.
This year, and every year, rid your family of the flu vaccination. Weighing the risks of the vaccination versus its limited benefits should make switching to natural immune boosters a simple decision. Adding natural approaches into your daily regimen should also be tasty and simple. Along with universal precautions, infection control, and frequent hand washing, natural immune boosters might seem like small preventive measures but they add up to a very big defense system for you and your family, this flu season and all year round.
It is all about boosting your immune system so that your body is strong enough to fight against the flu virus. Go to the next page and find out how you can boost your immune system –
About the Author:
Emma Deangela is the best selling author of The Alkaline Diet Program and 80/20 Fat Loss. She has helped over tens of thousands of men and women to lose weight and transform their health with sound nutrition advice.
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