With flu season in full swing, it's time to boost your immune system. The immune system is the body’s line of defense in fighting off bacterial and viral infections like the flu. There are many factors that impact the immune system, such as diet and exercise, posture, stress, rest and spine health. I always give patients “5 to Survive,” my top five easy steps you can take to boost your immune system during flu season.
5 Ways to Help Ward Off the Flu
1. Elbow Grease - The easiest way to avoid contracting the flu is to try to eliminate coming in contact with it altogether. While this is often unrealistic in public settings, we do have control over our own personal spaces. Aside from using hand sanitizers, washing our hands regularly and not touching our eyes and mouths, it’s important to sanitize everyday items that carry germs, like steering wheels, cell phones, computers, door knobs, backpacks, lunch boxes and water bottles. Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiseptic essential oil that can be used to make an inexpensive and effective disinfectant. Simply fill an empty spray bottle almost to the top with distilled white vinegar, add 8-10 drops of tea tree oil and shake! Spray the solution on your personal belongings regularly to greatly decrease the chances of contracting a virus.
2. Regular Chiropractic Adjustments - Research shows that chiropractic care boosts the immune system. In fact, chiropractic patients have been shown to have a 200% greater immune competence than people not under chiropractic care†. Chiropractic adjustments decrease nerve irritation and restore your parasympathetic (rest and repair) state. Adjustments have also been proven to increase your white blood cell count, which helps your immune system ward off disease.
3. Add Vitamin C to Your Diet - Vitamin C supports normal growth and development, while also helping your body absorb iron. One large orange or a cup of sliced strawberries, chopped red pepper or broccoli provides the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. Don’t be tricked into thinking orange juice will suffice! Studies show foods in their whole state contain significantly more nutrients than they do in juice form.
4. Reduce Stress - Ongoing stress can take its toll on your immune system, which can make you more susceptible to illness, from colds and flu to chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Try activities like regular chiropractic adjustments, yoga, hot baths, or even simple breathing techniques to help relieve stress.
5. Add Zinc to Your Diet - Studies show zinc is not only a miracle in the fight against wrinkles, it is also useful for the upper respiratory tract and fighting infections. A daily intake of foods high in zinc, such as lean meats, turkey or chicken, can help your white blood cells fight off infections. The added protein in your diet will give your body the strength it needs to defend itself.