Q: Dr. Stanislaw, I am dreading the upcoming cold and flu season because I always seem to get sick, which then of course makes blood sugar management even harder because I seem to always run high when I get sick. What simple and natural things can I do to stay healthy this season?!
A: Great Question! There are many things! Read on to learn....
Cold & flu season is here! But there are simple things you can do to keep yourself healthy…
The commonly used explanation, ‘I caught a cold because Suzy kept coughing on me,’ is not entirely true. If it were, every person near Suzy would become ill, but this doesn’t happen. If you ‘catch’ a cold versus if you do not lies in the strength of your immune system.
Elevated blood sugar levels, a poor diet, chronic stress, alcohol, a lack of sleep and exercise are the biggest culprits in weakening your immune system. Flu shots are touted as being a key step to take this time of year to keep you healthy. But reports of their effectiveness are actually quite mixed.
To keep your immune system robust this season, I suggest these tried and true simple tips, which will benefit you by not only boosting your immune function, but are great for your overall health and wellbeing as well:
1.) Eat a whole foods diet, including an abundance of colorful vegetables and fruit. If food is in the shape from which it grew in nature, it’s considered a whole food, thus is packed with immune boosting nutrients. If man made it, don’t eat it often.
Start your day with a low-carb breakfast. For lunch, eat a mixed vegetable salad with chicken or a nice warm bowl of bean and veggie soup. Keep to veggies and protein for dinner. Other whole foods include all the wonderful vegetable options, beans, lentils, fish, chicken, apples, berries, all kinds of nuts… And stay hydrated with plenty of water….half your body weight in ounces, so a 150lb person should drink a minimum of 75oz/day. Sorry, sugary drinks or coffee don’t count…
Sugar and processed foods not only weaken the immune system, but are devoid of key nutrients that your immune system depends on for fuel. Aim for eating whole foods 80% of the time, and include vegetables DAILY to ensure you are ingesting a high concentration of immune boosting nutrients.
2.) Adequate rest. Sleep is the most rejuvenating time for your body. Every night, your body regenerates cells allowing your immune system to be on top if its game the next day. Just like the fatigue you feel when you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system will be suffering this same fatigue.
3.) Exercise. Exercise has been proven to be one of the most powerful ‘medicines’ around, not only for keeping your immune system strong, but also reducing your risk of many diseases and is your most effective antidepressant.
4.) Key supplements:
- Adults who took a multivitamin had a 50% decrease in the number of days of illness due to the common cold than those who didn’t.
- Vitamin C is a proven immune booster. 1000mg 1-2x’s/day to prevent sickness; 3000++mg/day if already sick.
- Get your vitamin D and zinc checked and take a supplement if you are low.
- High quality probiotics, which contain healthy gut flora, are great immune boosters (ask for one at a health food store…they also can relieve constipation, and not having a bowel movement DAILY weakens the immune system).
- There are great immune boosting herbs too. To be effective, they must be high quality and taken in adequate amounts.
- I have a terrific herbal supplement that helps my patients and their families immune from getting sick during cold & flu season. Please contact me at: drjody (at) drjodynd (dot) com if you would like to receive it. Comes in adult & child formulas. I highly recommend it!
If you feel you are getting sick, try some of these simple tips:
- Eat an orange/day or other citrus fruits for their vitamin C
- Eat garlic and onions for their antiviral & antibacterial properties
- Gargle with warm salt water if you get a sore throat
- Do a saline nasal rinse to clear clogged sinuses
- Use Elderberry syrup to reduce flu symptoms
- Cut back on intense workouts &/or do light exercise
- Watch a funny movie because laughter is one of the best medicines!
The common cold and flu are caused by viruses, not bacteria so avoid antibiotics because they are NOT effective treatment.
If you would like to schedule an individualized session over the phone to empower yourself with the key knowledge you need to keep you and your family healthy this season, you can sign up for a free intro consult over the phone with me here: www.consultwithdrjody.com/type1
I hope you found this article helpful.
Here’s to staying healthy all winter long!
Dr. Jody Stanislaw
Certified Diabetes Educator
...and Living successfully with type 1 for 36 years!