Saturday, 2 May 2009

The Flu and All That Jazz

There's been plenty in the media about the latest potential influenza pandemic. the question is: do we need to be concerned?

According to Dr Mercola, probably not. His current influenza article is a little long to read, but quite informative and entertaining. I recommend it.

To stay well during the flu season, he recommends that we:
* keep up our vitamin D levels
* avoid sugar and processed foods
* get good rest each day
* exercise
* have plenty of omega-3s (eg, fish oil) and avoid trans fats
* wash our hands
* eat garlic regularly
* avoid hospitals and vaccines

Sounds like a pretty good list to me. To this I would like to add:

* drink a cup of thyme tea first thing each morning, preferably with one teaspoon of manuka honey and juice of half a lemon (unless you are allergic to thyme). The thyme boosts your immune system and helps prevent you succumbing to viruses. The manuka honey also contains immune-enhancing properties and the lemon juice will help to alkalise and cleanse your body. To make thyme tea, pick 2-3 small sprigs and infuse in 1 cup of hot water for 5-10 minutes. Add the lemon juice and honey and drink. Delicious!

* keep up your zinc status - around 85% of Australians are deficient in zinc and it is essential for the proper functioning of the digestive and immune systems. You can get zinc tests at health food stores to check whether or not you are deficient and one bottle will do the whole family.
If you find that you need to take a zinc supplement, take it after you have eaten, as you might feel nauseas otherwise. Also you might take a lower dose 3-4 times per day, rather than one large dose.
Aim for 100-200mg per day for adults; you probably won't need to stay on them forever, just top up every now and then. Children under 10 need about 10mg per day and over 10 about 15mg per day.
Or you can get your zinc from foods such as beef, baked beans, cashews, egg yolks (soft boiled eggs), ginger, herrings, liver, milk, lamb, oysters, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, whole grains, yeast.

* think about including vitamin C as a supplement, or including vitamin C foods in your diet, such as blackcurrants, broccoli, citrus fruits, guava, parsley, peppers, pineapple, potatoes, raw cabbage, rosehips and strawberries.

* the bioflavonoids can be really useful in building your immune system as well - enjoy plenty of buckwheat, citrus fruits, green growing shoots, skins of fruits and vegetables.

Look to nature for guidance - in these cooler months she supplies us with lovely fresh citrus, tropical fruits, broccoli and cabbages which are all good foods for building our immune systems.

And remember to stay active, stay warm and stay healthy. Bugs just love stagnant bodies to grow in, kind of like weeds growing in neglected gardens. Look after your body garden and you will stay well this winter.

love and light