Don’t let Flu season derail your health goals: How to Boost Your Immunity
The best way to avoid getting sick is to care for yourself and stay true to your Sage HealthStyle Pillars every day: Sleep, eat whole, real food, move, and self-care.
However, we have a few secret tips that you can jump right into if you do happen to get that tickle in your throat, tiny ache in the body, or that thing where you just say to yourself “oh man, it’s trying to get me”!
In addition, having a strong immune system is critical if you want to have success with any new lifestyle goals. Losing weight, reducing stress, eating healthier or creating an all around healthier lifestyle. Not only do you need to create a strong immunity to help build your healthy habits and fuel your success, but to prevent getting sick during cold and flu season - which will just derail your efforts and likely set you off course.
The best way to avoid getting sick is to care for yourself every day and stay true to your Sage HealthStyle Pillars: Sleep, eat whole real food, move, and self-care. However, we have a few secret tips to boost your immune system and fortify your health if you do happen to get that tickle in your throat, tiny ache in the body, or that thing where you just say to yourself “oh man, it’s trying to get me”! Aside from our Pillars, we also have easy to follow quick tips in our Swap It Out guide that you can start implementing today to get a head start on kicking your chances of getting sick.
Immune system 101:
The immune system is the body’s natural defense against germs, bacteria or other illness causing foreign invaders. When an antigen or infecting organism enters the body the immune system begins to create antibodies to fight off the illness or disease.
The fact is that many of our daily choices can weaken our immune system. When our bodies are busy fighting daily irritants and germs we pull energy away from the system that supports a strong metabolism, hormone and nutrient processing, circulation, and digestion - everything that is essential to building a healthy lifestyle. Also, as you likely know from past colds you have endured, when our bodies are busy fighting colds and germs, we have less energy to put towards achieving our goals - we don’t feel like doing much of anything really. Get out ahead of it and don’t let your health goals get derailed by a cold or the flu this season.
Sage’s Tried and True Flu Remedies:
These remedies will boost your immune system so your body has the strength and tools necessary to support even the most ambitious HealthStyle goals and nasty cold and flu bugs.
Sleep: It's our number one asset and friend all year long, every day, especially during cold and flu season. Why? You know how you feel when you have a bad night’s sleep? You know it is going to be long day... nothing but more sleep makes that feeling go away. You can ease the pain by eating whole, real food and exercising to get your blood flowing, but in the end you have compromised your immune system; it now has to work harder all day to help you get through the normal demands of your day, which doesn't leave much to help fight off the germs.
Neem: This is the best kept herb secret we know! Neem has natural antibacterial properties and aids in helping the liver detox the toxins from your body. You can take Neem in a pill form and find it at most health food stores (Target doesn't carry it as far as we know *insert thumbs down emoji*) or online (we use Amazon). The key is to start taking Neem at the first inkling that some bug is trying to attack you. Our best advice is to be aggressive with the first dosage of the day in order to get the neem into your body and working; our personal regimen (please consult your doctor for your own specific recommendation as we are not in any way prescribing what will work for you) is to take 4 tablets every two-three hours for the first 12 hours, then 4 tablets right before bed and then another 4 again in the morning. If we still feel a bit off the next day we will repeat this same regimen. This works like an absolute charm and if you only follow one of our secret tips, it should be this one! Bonus: Neem oil is great natural remedy for acne- but it stinks!
Prebiotics and Probiotic : Your health starts in your gut. We have about 100 trillion bacteria in our gut; that's about 2 pounds worth! We need to feed the healthy bacteria so they can fight off the bad stuff and work to keep us in good health. Prebiotics are nondigestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotics. Probiotics are a type of "good" bacteria. These microorganisms help with digestion and offer protection from harmful bacteria. When probiotics and prebiotics are combined, they interact beneficially to create a healthy “gut microbiome”. (We like this probiotic for women or this probiotic is the best deal on the internet). When you have a “healthy gut” you are better prepared to fight off the cold and flu bugs you are sure to get exposed to.
Green Juice: Drink one full 8 oz glass of green juice 3 times a day! Green juice is a convenient and quick way to get an energizing hit of phytonutrients – all those good-for-you vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll and antioxidants. A well-made green juice is full of detox-boosting properties and is a convenient way to increase your consumption of greens.
Hot Sauna or Bath: If you're taking a bath, use Epsom Salts to help pull out the toxins and ease your muscles. The hidden benefits of a hot sauna removes toxins, helps in weight loss, improves the immune system, makes your hair look good (and who doesn't want that?!), is great for your complexion, and helps you to recover from a workout.
Lemon-Ginger shot: Potent and right to the point! Ginger is a go-to for digestive distress and lemon juice is packed with Vitamin C. If you don’t have a juicer to make your own, go to a juice shop and order a shot and then grab one to go. Whole Foods & Juice So Good (if you're in Minneapolis) have great lemon ginger shots. You can also make a Ginger and lemon tea. Simply peel about 2” of fresh ginger, dice it up and place in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Let it steep and then add fresh lemon juice.
Magnesium: This helps to relieve stress and we all know that stress is probably the worst contributor to breaking us down, especially chronic stress. Try natural foods first, like dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, avocados, yogurt and bananas. If you want an extra boost, a supplement is a good idea. We take 500mg a day or at bed time for a restful night’s sleep.
Another great option is to use a topical magnesium cream or spray. These are very effective if you have muscle tension, sprains or any muscle soreness. The magnesium penetrates directly into the muscles to relieve tension and pain. There are several products we love. Natural Vitality Cream
Zinc: The Cochrane Study has shown that in adults, Zinc lozenges can help shorten the duration of a cold if taken within 24 hours of first feeling the symptoms of a cold. Grass fed beef, oysters, spinach, nuts and seeds are great sources to naturally get zinc into your diet.
Hydrate: Drink water- all day. And yes, start your day with lemon water. Just add the juice of 1 fresh lemon to 10 oz of warm water.
Move! Seriously. Whatever form of exercise is your thing, do it. Whether that’s yoga, tai chi, running, cycling, Tabata’s…. just move! When we exercise, we get our lymphatic system (yeah, we’re talking about this again…) flowing, which helps move the toxins out of our bodies. That means you move all those nasty cold and flu bugs out fast and are on the road to a quicker recovery.
Bone Broth: Yep- Your Grandma was right about her Chicken Noodle Soup. There is a ton of goodness in that soup and broth. According to Dr. Axe All bone broths are nutrient-dense, easy to digest, rich in flavor and they boost healing. Bone broths contain minerals in forms that your body can easily absorb: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and others. They contain chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, the compounds sold as pricey supplements to reduce inflammation, arthritis and joint pain. (1)
A study of chicken soup (broth) conducted by the University of Nebraska Medical Center wondered what it was in the soup that made it so beneficial for colds and flu. Researchers found that the amino acids that were produced when making chicken stock reduced inflammation in the respiratory system and improved digestion. Also, research is proving it can also boost the immune system and heal disorders like allergies, asthma and arthritis. (2)
Use these secret tips and we promise you’ll have a much better chance of fighting off the bugs and staying on your path to health. Also, be sure to sign-up for our Swap It Out guide for quick tips that you can implement now. Let us know your own secret cold and flu remedies in the comments below!