Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Easy Steps to Bolster Flu Immunity

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Easy Steps to Bolster Flu Immunity

Article excerpt

The immune system defends the body against diseases and other harmful invaders, including bacteria and the flu virus. The body's ability to resist these invaders is called immunity. In my opinion, building one's immunity against all invaders is a much more comprehensive approach than the singularly focused flu vaccination and can be accomplished by following five easy steps:

1. advanced hygiene

2. diet

3. supplementation

4. sleep

5. reducing stress

Step 1: Advanced Hygiene: Why Handwashing Is Not Enough

The influenza virus, as with colds, is spread from person to person. The way these "germs" are spread is not by inhaling them but by picking them up on our hands and touching our face, where they can gain entry to our body. This is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends health habits to prevent the flu, such as washing our hands often and avoiding touching our eyes, nose, or mouth.

The first step of starts with a semi-soft natural soap. I instruct my patients to push their fingertips into the soap in order to address the area in and around the fingernails, an infectious "hotbed," where I believe that the overwhelming majority of germs on the hands reside.

The next step involves immersing one's face ("facial dipping") into a solution of water, sea salt, and dilute iodine. This process is designed to rid the face of germs, viruses, and bacteria. This is vital, since these pathogens gain access to our bodies not through our airways and respiratory tract, but through our eyes, nasal passages, mouth, and ears. Fingernail cleansing and facial dipping disarm the autoinoculation process-the process where we unwittingly put into our bodies (through the eyes, nose, or mouth) unwanted germs or viruses.

I believe that the best way to reduce the likelihood of contracting the flu (and a host of other illnesses) is the twice-daily practice of advanced hygiene. Advanced hygiene is designed to systematically remove germs from the five areas where they are most likely to enter the body: (1) the hands (particularly underneath the fingernails), (2) the corners of the eyes, (3) the nasal passageways, (4) the ear canals, and (5) the mouth. I believe that this regimen can support the immune system and can assist in reducing colds and flu, allergies, and sinus problems.

Step 2: Diet

A whole foods-based diet adds to overall human health and immunity. Examples of immune-enhancing foods are locally grown fruits and vegetables that are raised organically and are free of chemicals. Fresh fruits and vegetables are especially vital in this capacity. While no health official would argue with the consumption of fruits and vegetables, we can take our diets a step further if we really want to bolster our immune system!

In my practice, I have found that the maintenance of optimal blood sugar (glucose) levels will significantly reduce infection with most (if not all) pathogens. In my opinion, the best way to ensure proper blood sugar control is to avoid added sugar and highly refined starches, such as pasta, rice, potatoes, and breads. Unfortunately, these starchy foods are the backbone of the "comfort foods" that make up our diet during this time of year.

Step 3: Supplementation

In general, I recommend that my patients use supplement formulas made from whole foods that have been fermented. Because the majority of the immune system is located in the gastrointestinal tract, a balance of intestinal bacteria is vital to helping our bodily defenses function properly. Key supplements to help bolster immunity include:

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