Wondering how to protect yourself against the Swine Flu?
Boost your Immune System to Stay Well
I was in a local smoothie shop the other day and watched person after person order an optional "immune booster" in their fruit smoothies (and then mumble something under their breath about fear of getting the latest flu).
Yes, it seems you can't turn on the tv or read a newspaper or blog right now without hearing about the Swine Flu.
It's on the minds of millions, and if you're like most, you're probably asking yourself...
...what can I do to keep myself and my family safe?
As a dietitian, I've always turned to healthy food as my best weapon against any kind of illness.
A good diet can help strengthen your immune system. A good strong immune system can defend against diseases...including the swine flu.
Here's what you can do. I'll call it the "Swine Flu Prevention Diet:"
Drink plenty of fluids
Your body must be properly hydrated to ward off viral invaders.
Water is the best source of fluid, although although other liquids count too.
Divide your weight by 2. That's the number of ounces of fluid you should drink every day.
Example: If you weigh 160 pounds, you need 80 ounces of fluid (10 cups). If you weigh 100 pounds, you need 50 ounces (6 1/4 cups).
You may need even more fluid if you do heavy exercise or live in a hot dry climate (like I do, here in Tucson, AZ!)
Eat good food.
Translation: whole, unprocessed foods.
A diet of junk food, fast food, sugar sweetened drinks, and white flour products may taste really yummy, but it will not result in a strong immune system.
Choose nutrient rich, whole, colorful foods. You know...
...foods our caveman ancestors would have eaten! You don't think they ate Twinkies and drank Starbucks coffee do you?
What you can eat to strengthen your immune system against infection from the swine flu
Choose antioxidant rich foods and foods with antiviral properties to give your immune system a boost:
Other excellent foods and herbs:
Choose organic fruits and vegetables (or at least prioritize buying these particular 12 fruits and vegetables organic).
Here's a sample menu for a "Swine Flu prevention diet"...
...otherwise known as a nutrient packed, immune system boosting menu:
I'm getting hungry....
Other simple things you can do to boost your immune system and possibly protect yourself from the Swine Flu:
Get Your Vitamin D
Get out for 15-30 minutes of sunlight per day.
Get enough sleep: 7-8 hours/night
I know. Sometimes this is easier said than done.
However, you should make getting into bed on time a priority. Inadequate sleep can weaken your immune system over time.
Here's a secret to good sleep:
Make your bedroom like a cave...
...cool and dark.
Turn your digital clock away from you or cover it up, hang up black out curtains, or paint your room a dark color. Open the windows or turn down the air before you lay down. You'll be amazed at how such small things can make such a big difference!
Again, easier said than done, I know! Stress is toxic and will suppress your immune system!
If yoga is not for you, take a walk, talk to a friend, journal your fears, take a nice long bubble bath, etc. Find a way to relax.
Get moderate exercise.
Strengthens the entire body and is a great way to reduce stress.
Don't forget the obvious.
Wash your hands and cover your mouth when you cough.
Of course there are no guarantees. It sure feels good to control the things you can control however!
Here's to healthy eating!