Flu Season is Coming, Fight it with Functional Medicine
It may be common for some to get the flu, but it’s not normal. Avoid the flu by getting serious about the ROOT CAUSE of the flu (and other viral infections): a weak and/or dysfunctional immune system.
Our bodies are designed to be resilient in the face of bacteria and viruses, but there’s a lot that can cause underlying system imbalances in the body, thus sabotaging immunity and making us more susceptible to getting sick. Start taking small steps today to build resilience.
Fight off the Flu with these Immune-Boosting Habits
Don’t skimp on sleep.
This is NON-negotiable. Your body needs this time to repair and rebuild. Even if you’re in bed for 8 hours, if you’re having trouble falling asleep or waking up not feeling rested, you might need to look deeper into what is causing sleep disturbances.
Increase your intake of colorful, whole, organic, non-GMO, nutrient-dense foods while decreasing your intake of inflammatory processed, sugar-laden foods.
FOOD IS MEDICINE. It’s important to give your body quality nutrients because everything you eat is impacting your immune system, for better or worse.
Address your gut health NOW.
70% of your immune cells hang out along your digestive tract. If prompted with certain triggers, your intestinal lining can become “permeable” and allow particles through that it shouldn’t. This can cause a cascade of inflammation in your body. You may have digestive symptoms or your symptoms may show up elsewhere. Thus, a healthy gut is imperative to a strong immune system. Common triggers leading to intestinal permeability include food consumption of processed, sugar-laden diets, allergies/sensitivities/intolerances, stress, infections, dysbiosis, toxins, nutritional deficiencies, smoking and tobacco use, artificial sweeteners, and many medications (NSAIDs are notorious for causing permeability).
Work towards limiting toxin exposures in your beauty and body products, cleaning products, gardening and yard products, etc.
Toxins can also impact gut permeability and can stress the body’s ability to detox (rid itself of the bad stuff). Furthermore, toxins directly affect immune function. Choose natural products to limit the stress of toxins on your body because life has enough stress already. The Environmental Working Group is a great third-party resource for figuring out the toxic burden of your household products and finding alternatives if needed.
Yes, play! As in move around and have some fun. Next to food, physical activity is one of the BEST “prescriptions” you can give your mind and body. Find something you love doing and make it a priority, because physical activity has MANY positive impacts one your immune system.
Find your favorite ways to destress and do them daily.
Don’t take this too lightly. Stress is one of the BIGGEST contributors to a haggard immune system. Whether you feel stressed or not, chances are there are a lot of stressors and expectations on your shoulders. Most people underestimate the amount of stress in their lives. Building resilience (physically and mentally) requires recognizing those stressors and taking intentional steps to counter them with nourishing, life-giving activities.
Wash your hands. (duh )
That said, don’t get overzealous with all those antibacterial hand sanitizers which contain lots of chemicals that can negatively impact your skin’s protective microbiome.
Get some Vitamin D!
Go outside and expose yourself to some sunshine. Adequate Vitamin D is important for strong immunity and many people don’t get enough. If you simply aren’t able to get 20-30 minutes outside in the sun daily, you may want to consider vitamin D supplementation.
Take it easy on alcoholic beverages.
Ethanol, the primary form of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, can cause also harm the gut environment. Again, gut health is immune health.
READ THIS LIST AGAIN.
If you’d like a personal plan to strengthen your immune system or address any of the factors above, please consider completing an online Initial Health & Medical Investigation with us. During this 60-minute video consultation we can work with you to identify any imbalances you may have and develop an individualized treatment plan. Treatment plans may include behavior and lifestyle changes, nutraceuticals, therapeutic nutrition plans, stress management techniques, health coaching, and/or advanced diagnostic testing.
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This content was originally published here.