Friday, April 2, 2010

Quick and Easy Ways to Prevent Flu and Colds

By Michelle M. Dillon, ND

Don't Freak Out! Stress actually decreases your ability to fight infections. You can literally worry yourself sick instead of finding a way to constructively process these very real feelings. Go for a walk with a friend. Give your worries to God in prayer. Get a massage. Watch funny movies - laugh! You may not be able to control the viral realm of the world, but you can help your body and mind be strong in the face of any viral challenge.

Avoid the Sweets! As tempting as it may be, avoid reaching for starchy and sugary snacks to soothe negative feelings. Studies indicate that consuming large amounts of carbohydrates and sugar can drastically lower the activity of neutrophils. Neutrophils are the first responders and look similar to Pac man, but instead of munching on cherries; Neutrophils munch on unwanted invaders like bacteria or viruses. Just one teaspoon of sugar can decrease these neutrophils for up to 5 hours!

Get Your Zzzz's! When in the midst of an illness the body often demands more sleep, simply because sleep helps strengthen the body's defenses. The same is true
when trying to stay well. The key is to get adequate sleep (usually between 7-9 hours) in a completely dark environment. Darkness is necessary in order for the brain to produce adequate/optimal levels of melatonin, which may be responsible for some of the immune-boosting effects of sleep.

Get out in the fresh air and sunshine! Make sure you take the time to open up your house and air out the reused air inside. This is especially important when a family member is at home sick, you do not want to be re-breathing their air. Open the windows and get outside for some fresh air and sunshine.

There is a growing body of evidence that vitamin D, which you get from the sun, is imperative for optimal immune function. You can prime your body's immune system by getting regular sun exposure. The key is to spend time in the sun during the morning and evening hours so as not to get sunburn. I recommend 15 minutes or more of "smart sun exposure" several times a week. Consider supplementing with Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) so you can be assured a consistent and adequate supply of vitamin D, especially as we head into the winter months!

Protect yourself with food using Food as your Medicine! Fruits & vegetables will give you the best protection when it comes to supporting your immune health. They are rich in antioxidants, bioflavonoids, and phytonutrients that will powerfully support your body's health.

Increase your immune system with this easy homemade remedy: Immune boosting tea is easily made and works well to help prevent illness along with shorten the duration of any sickness. Just peel and chop up 8-9 cloves of garlic. Then boil in 2.5 cups of water for 10-15 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Then a dash of honey for taste. The combination of the three (garlic, vinegar, and honey) are medicinal and help to increase the immune system along with kill any bacteria or virus' that are causing problems.

Michelle M. Dillon earned her doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona. She specializes in women's health, using all natural alternatives to conditions like PCOS, infertility, and weight loss. A mom herself she understands the implications of what women put themselves through as mother's and how it plays a role in their health. She feels that her practice is God's calling for her life and feels blessed to be able to do so. Her private practice is in Charlotte, North Carolina where she lives with her husband and daughter. Visit her website at for more information.