How many of us have heard about people who came down with a flue & chest infection over the Christmas and are still trying to deal with it? Some on their third dose of antibiotics. There was a time when you were prescribed a dose of antibiotics – 9 times out of 10 it dealt with the infection. Now however, antibiotics are over prescribed and as a result viruses have become more resistant. In other words the viruses have developed into superbugs. Scientists keep trying to develop stronger strains of antibiotics but these superbugs fight back. Meanwhile we are getting sicker and sicker and the antibiotics play havoc on the gut and immune system. You don’t need to be a genius to figure out this is a vicious circle. So what can you do to strengthen your immune system and protect against these superbugs?
1. It all starts with the gut so it really important to look after your gut microbiome. Eating fermented foods such as live natural yoghurt, keifer, sauerkraut and miso is a sure way of getting a diverse range of gut flora. Alternatively supplement with a good quality probiotic.
2. Skip the sugar – Sugar dampens down the immune system so give it a miss opting for real food and lots of good quality protein, healthy fats and vegetables.
3. Get some gentle exercise daily – get moving and get oxygen into your lungs to energise those cells.
4. Destress – We know that the immune system is likely to come under attack when you are feeling stressed and your defenses are down. At those times that you are feeling stressed, be sure to take time out to mind yourself – yoga, pilates, mindfulness, walking, having fun with friends and family are all great ways to destress.
5. Over the winter months when the weather is colder and we are more susceptible to colds and flues, it can be a good idea to supplement with a good quality multivitamin such as Source of Life Gold Liquid.
6. Have a cup of lemon ginger tea. Add a little manuka or a good quality local honey if need be. All great for the immune system.
7. Sleep is amazingly restorative so make sure you get 7-9 hours shuteye per night.
When all else fails and you have that miserable feeling that you are coming down with a cold/flue never underestimate the benefit of a sup of hot whiskey last thing at night. Dr William Schaffner, Chair of Preventative Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre told ABC news that “its effect on the body can possibly give you some modest symptom relief. The alcohol dilates blood vessels a little bit, and that makes it easier for the mucus membranes to deal with the infection”. However remember that alcohol is dehydrating so we are talking about a little sup and make sure you hydrate with lots of water 🙂