Tuesday, January 29, 2013

{Food for Thought} B(eat) the Flu

The seasonal flu bug strikes again! And this winter, we are apparently facing the most deadly flu outbreak in years. Are you, readers, staying healthy, keeping warm, and winning the battle against the flu bug?

Zach and I have never had the flu shot. It's our personal decision; we are not discouraging anyone from taking it. Flu shots are for young children, the elderly, people who have certain medical conditions, and pregnant women. None of those categories apply to us. Besides, all flu vaccines do, is sensitize the body against 3 strains of flu virus (the H3N2, influenza B, and H1N1 virus). There are many other strains the vaccine is not effective against. For us, it simply makes more sense to seek out alternative ways of protecting ourselves from all flu viruses.

So in the spirit of the popular saying "prevention is better than cure," here's a list of natural and holistic foods you can easily incorporate into your diet that will help boost your immunity. Chances are, you're already eating a lot of these, so the key is just to amp up your intake!

Garlic and onions. In both cases, raw is best. But I can hardly imagine anyone chowing down on a clove of garlic or slices of onions every couple of hours! If you cook regularly, just plan on adding more garlic and onions to your recipes! In my opinion, they make almost everything taste better.

Tea. There is so much to love about tea. And you will be pleased to know that every kind you choose to consume (green, black, red, herbal) helps boost your immunity. My favorite decaf concoction is a few chrysanthemum buds, a handful of goji berries, and a small amount of ginseng root. If you like your tea slightly sweet, use honey. Honey has great anti-bacterial properties. Lately we've also been trying out some black goji berry tea (that turns a fascinating shade of purple).

Spices. Yum. Look for recipes that call for tumeric, cinnamon, cayenne peppers, and cloves. These spices are loaded with antioxidants and are so good for your immune system.

Fermented food. I'm talking about kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchee; basically anything that serves up a healthy dose of probiotics.

Fruits and vegetables. Eat these in large amounts and in a large variety of colors. Whatever you pick will be a good source of vitamins A and C, and zinc -- all important in the maintenance of a healthy immunity.

The other easy thing you can do to stave off the flu bug is sleep. Sleep well, sleep deep, and sleep soundly. And when you're awake, stay active and find time to be out in the sun (vitamin D)!

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