Have you ever heard the saying, “Prevention is the best medicine”?
Well, this is definitely the case when it comes to the flu.
After your immune system gets compromised by the flu virus, then it’s a matter of treating symptoms and trying to get better as fast as possible.
How about we skip that whole “get sick” part and just stick to being happy and healthy all year long?
Here’s some of the most vital keys for preventing the flu. All of them are proven to be effective on their own, but using them together in a complete strategy can give you bulletproof resistance against the flu.
1) Optimize Vitamin D levels
Have you ever noticed that the flu season comes in conjunction with the time of year that people are indoors the most?
Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin”, is CRITICAL to the health and strength of your immune system.
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (meaning that this is the absolute gold standard of scientific testing) it was found that Vitamin D supplementation lowered the risk of getting the flu by 58 percent.
These numbers are extremely significant, but most people have no idea about it!
What’s even more impressive is that vitamin D was responsible for an absolute reduction of the flu virus in the population by nearly 8 percent.
Compared to flu vaccines which consistently show a dismal 1 percent reduction of flu symptoms in the population.
Why are we getting vaccines again???
Well, hopefully after reading this and doing your own research, you’ll stick to smart supplementation and health-giving practices instead.
Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, is much more readily absorbed by the body and more potent than vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), the form found in most multivitamins. So make sure you get the right kind of vitamin D.
Here’s the one that I use: Nordic Naturals D3
2) Proactively take natural Vitamin C
There’s a big misconception out there about vitamin C. It’s actually almost useless once you already have the flu (according to the research). However, it’s an absolute rockstar when it comes to preventing flu in the first place.
In 5 clinical trials, people who were exposed to extreme physical stress (and who isn’t these days?!) were able to cut the number of illnesses they contracted in half by supplementing with vitamin C.
The key here is to be proactive with it. When you know it’s that time of year rolling around, take 2 to 3 times the recommended amount of vitamin C daily.
By taking botanical sources versus synthetic sources, you won’t have to worry about any weird side effects. And as a matter of fact, you’ll get some additional phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals from these great concentrated botanicals.
My go to for many years has been Camu Camu berry: Camu Camu Berry Benefits
But I also like amla berry and rose hips too.
I simply add some to my water each morning along with some MSM to super-charge my immune system. Or if I really want to take it to the next level, I make a powerful Vitamin C Blast Lemonade with all of my favorite vitamin C sources.
3) Sleep like a baby
Until I my son was born, I really didn’t know what “sleep like a baby” meant. This kid loves his sleep, and it’s not uncommon that he’ll sleep 11 to 12 hours a night.
Now I’m not telling you to sleep 11 hours, but I am saying that if you don’t sleep, you can be guaranteed that your immune system is compromised.
We generally require 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night (depending on the person). Don’t listen to the person that says you need less than that. They are likely delusional from not getting enough sleep, and they’re giving you bad advice anyway.
You can get by occasionally with less, but have you ever noticed that when you travel, or when you don’t sleep well is the exact time that you tend to catch one of your random “bugs”?
Happens to tons of people… NOT a coincidence.
Studies show that sleep deprivation radically increases your vulnerability to infectious disease.
This all has to do with hormones like cortisol (that depress immune function) and bacteria balance (which we’ll talk about in number 4).
Bottom line, turn off the freakin’ T.V., stop doing the laptop lap dance at 2 in the morning, and give your body the best thing that you can possibly give it: Rest and Recovery.
It’ll pay off big dividends and naturally keep you protected from the flu.
4) Ensure a healthy gut environment
When it comes to getting sick, the health of your gastrointestinal tract can make or break you.
It’s been discovered that the vast majority of your immune system is actually located in your gut!
Sounds strange, but this is the literal “front line” of protection, because what was coming down our throat could literally mean life or death during our evolution.
You don’t have to have symptoms to have very big gut issues. Many people that have things like leaky gut syndrome don’t have any “stomach” issues at all.
Their issues may show up as arthritis, or skin disorders, or thyroid problems. It may be seemingly unrelated to their gut health, but this is actually far from the case.
If you want to know more about optimal gut health, check out my in-depth podcast on it right here: Invincible Gut Health
For now, just a) make a mandate to avoid processed food as much as possible, b) focus on fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fermented foods, and protein c) get plenty of sleep at night (gut flora are heavily influenced by circadian rhythms) and d) Take a high quality probiotic.
5) Get exposed!
In our world today of hyper-cleanliness, many people typically don’t get themselves exposed to “safe” bacteria and microbes. And instead wait until they get into a hospital and pick up a super-strain of a microbe that they don’t want.
Hand sanitizer is awesome (especially when using the stationary bike after the super sweaty dude at the gym), but we DON’T need to be anti-dirt or anti-nature by any means.
Nature is going to be your best friend in helping you to have a strong and vital immune system.
Let’s take gardening for example. Studies have shown that a bacteria commonly found in the dirt known as M. vaccae can increase our levels of serotonin (feel-good hormone that protects us against stress).
People who regularly garden have some other impressive health benefits to boast according to the research:
-Reduced symptoms of ADD and ADHD
-Lower risk of dementia by up to 47%
-Improved cardiovascular health
-Improved nutritional profile
Getting out there and getting your hands in the dirt has powerful implications as a preventive. This is powerful, and something that people hardly do anymore, so don’t take this lightly.
One of the best things you can do is to get out in nature as often as possible when the weather permits.
As an added bonus, you get to build up your vitamin D levels naturally from the sun during the warmer months, so that you’ve got a good reserve when the next flu season rolls around.
I hope that these tips and strategies will be helpful for you for many years to come. If you’d like to add something that you do personally to protect yourself from the flu and other illnesses, please leave it in the comments section below.
Share Your Voice
I switched to a whole foods diet several months ago because of severe allergies such as hay fever. Since my diet has changed I have a tremendous increase in energy! Like lots! I also noticed that after 5 or 6 hours of sleep (instead of the recommended 7-9 hours) I instinctively wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed with energy throughout the day with no crashes. Occasionally I do sleep 7 hours, depending on what my body wants, but I don’t try to make myself go back to sleep because I haven’t slept 7 hours if I’m not tired upon waking. I also know people that require less sleep as well from a whole foods diet. Before my diet I NEEDED 7 or more hours of sleep. I know that you suggested at least 7 hours of sleep, but have you experienced less sleep requirements similar to my experience because of such a healthy diet? I would love to know. And thank you for all your nutritional wisdom.
I also you exercise and rebounding as a preventative measure!
The greatness of knowledge is so powerful and everything you share is so well deserved.