Mind & Body

The Flu, You, and What to Do

Here are 10 natural ways to ward off the flu
TIMEDecember 11, 2021

If there was ever a season to not celebrate, it’s flu season. Statistics show that most people get the flu from October to May. That’s more than six months out of the year.

What is the flu? Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and, at times, it can lead to death.

How many people get sick with the flu per year? A 2018 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study suggested that, on average, about 8 percent of the U.S. population gets sick from the flu each season, with a range of between 3 percent and 11 percent, depending on the season. That average of 8 percent of Americans amounts to about 30 million people infected per season.

Should you get the flu shot every year? That’s up to you and your doctor. But one thing I can prescribe is exercise, good nutrition, and a positive outlook—free from fear.

How is COVID-19 similar to and different from the flu?

Influenza and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they’re caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by an infection with a coronavirus first identified in 2019, and the flu is caused by an infection with influenza viruses. Both COVID-19 and the flu can have varying degrees of symptoms, ranging from showing no symptoms (asymptomatic) to having severe symptoms. Generally speaking, COVID-19 tends to have more serious effects than influenza.

Can nutrition make a difference? I’ll answer that question with another question: How would your car run if you put soda or so-called sports drinks in the fuel tank?

Not only does food impact our physical health, but numerous studies show that our mental and emotional health can be improved by better, more nutritious foods. The most important health care decision you make is at the end of your fork.

In the Garden of Eden, God created healthy life, as recorded in the Book of Genesis: “And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground, trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.” Here we find the original intention of “food” for mankind. Yes, the food provided was plants and plenty of them at that.

You might not imagine life without your favorite comfort food or soda, but here’s my promise: If you stay with a healthy change for 30 days, you’ll be amazed at how little you miss those old foods and how much you enjoy the new, healthy foods.

10 Ways to Help Your Immune System Fight the Flu

Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. This is the best way to prevent the flu and other respiratory infections. You must scrub your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds in order to kill viruses. That’s about how long it takes to sing the ABCs one time through. Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without first washing your hands

Heal your gut. Your gut is the gateway to health. Around 80 percent to 85 percent of your immune system is located in your gut. Ensure that your intestinal tract is healthy and take a high-quality, multi-strain probiotic with at least 25 billion units.

Reduce alcohol and sugar consumption. Even moderate alcohol consumption suppresses the central nervous system and therefore your immune system. Consuming too much sugar can suppress the immune system and make it more difficult for your body to fight off infections such as the flu.

Reduce your stress. Stress is known to suppress our immune systems. Consider the use of meditation, yoga, or acupuncture for additional relaxation techniques.

Get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Your body relies on sleep to recuperate from daily exposure to toxins. Chronic sleep deprivation can significantly reduce immune function.

Take glutathione, turmeric, and vitamin C. Antioxidants are very important for your immune function. Glutathione is the chief antioxidant in your body, responsible for enhancing your immune system and helping your liver eliminate harmful waste. Curcumin is the orange pigment in turmeric and a potent antioxidant that improves joint health and cardiovascular function. Curcumin is also anti-inflammatory, which helps reduce systemic inflammation. Vitamin C provides potent antioxidant protection and supports optimal immune function.

Take an immune booster. Give your immune system an added boost with some immunoglobulins and proteins. Adding a protein drink with immunoglobulins and a high amino acid score to your diet can boost immune function.

Optimize vitamin D. Vitamin D is a powerful immune system modulator. Optimal levels range from 50 to 70 nanogram/milliliter. For many, that can mean taking up to 5,000 international units per day. However, I don’t recommend this unless you’re followed closely by a physician.

Consider a zinc supplement. Zinc is another powerful antioxidant that plays a crucial role in immune health. Within the immune system, zinc is needed for gene regulation and the functioning of neutrophils, natural killer cells, and lymphocytes. Individuals with a zinc deficiency are highly susceptible to a number of pathogens, including the influenza virus. But be aware, high doses of zinc can deplete your copper levels.

Get plenty of exercise. Exercise can boost your immune system by increasing your circulation and relieving stress. Increased circulation allows antibodies to travel throughout your bloodstream faster, making it easier for your immune system to fight off an illness. Exercise can also enhance your immune system by relieving stress and slowing the release of stress hormones in the body.

In addition to these considerations, remember that attitude matters. Thousands of years ago, King Solomon wrote an excellent prescription for health.

“A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing,” he wrote.

Drs. Mark and Michele Sherwood are the founders of a successful medical practice and help patients from around the world find the health they were created to enjoy, in every area of life. As bestselling authors, podcasters, movie producers, and media personalities, they founded Hope Dealers International to reach beyond their clinic. Visit Sherwood.tv.

Mark Sherwood