I see so many people who regularly catch a cold or flu about twice a year. Usually it is when the seasons change or when you are tired and stressed out and your defences are down.
It doesn’t have to be. With just a few changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can stop getting sick.
Avoiding stress and getting a good night’s rest are vital to your immunity, in fact, one study showed that getting less than six hours of sleep per night can increase your risk of contracting a cold by 300 percent.
But what else can you do? Here are 3 simple changes which can improve your immunity and prevent further colds:
• optimized your vitamin D levels
• cut out most of the sugar and refined carbohydrates from your diet
• start taking a selenium supplement
The Miracle of Vitamin D
Most of us think that the seasonality of cold and flu has something to do with “cold weather.” After all, that is when most of us catch a cold. However, infact, the rate and severity of cold and flu infections is closely correlated with our vitamin D status.
We live in a country where we see very little sun during the winter months and therefore our Vit D levels are low. Vitamin D is a hormone, and it is essential for your immune system to function properly. In fact, the “activated” form of vitamin D is required to turn on the genes that produce the antimicrobial peptides of your innate immune system. Without vitamin D, there is no innate immunity.
This is just a very small part of the vitamin D story. It is one of the most vital substances in the human body. Yet, most of us are deficient for at least part of the year. There are no significant dietary sources of vitamin D. So unless you live in a sunny location, you need to supplement during the winter, and make sure that you enjoy time in the sun when it is warm.
Most adults should be taking a minimum of 2,000 IU of vitamin D every day.
Sugar Can Depress Your Immune System by 90 Percent
The next thing to do is to cut out the sugar and refined carbohydrates from your diet, and your immunity will become stronger and more responsive.
It is proven that sugar and high-glycemic carbohydrates depress your immune system because they put your white blood cells to sleep! It affects the leukocytic index (LI).
This is a measure of how many invading organisms one white blood cell can engulf in one hour, and within 15 minutes of consuming approximately 100 grams of refined carbohydrates, the LI drops so that the average person loses more than 90 percent of their immune function!
This deficiency in the ability of white blood cells to engulf invading organisms can last for anywhere from two to five hours. Of course, if you consistently eat these foods, your immune system will remain perpetually depressed.
The Remarkable Benefits of Selenium
Start taking a supplement containing selenium. Selenium has been depleted from our soils for a long time and it is deficient in most foods. It is proven protection against cancer and is also a potent immune stimulator providing a powerful boost to our viral immunity.
In a study, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill looked at two groups of mice. The scientists fed one group of mice a selenium-rich diet. They fed the second group a selenium-deficient diet. Then both groups of mice were exposed to a mild strain of the human influenza virus.
While both groups were infected, the selenium-deficient animals experienced far more serious symptoms, including lung damage. Their symptoms also lasted much longer. The difference in how the illness expressed itself would be the difference between a benign case of pneumonia and severe pneumonia. In an immune-compromised person, this could be the difference between life and death.
What was even more remarkable though is that the researchers discovered that the virus mutated significantly within the animals that were selenium-deficient. This caused what was originally a harmless strain of the flu to transform into a far more serious and virulent pathogen – one that was able to infect and cause threatening symptoms in healthy subjects.
Rich sources of selenium include seafood, wild salmon, grass-fed butter and organ meats and especially Brazil nuts. In fact, these particular nuts are the richest food source of this mineral on the planet. However, most of us would benefit from taking selenium as a supplement as well.
Why is it that two people can be exposed to the same virus, and one of them is laid up in bed for a week, while the other doesn’t feel even the slightest effect?
The difference is our individual immune systems. The bottom line is that you have a great deal of control over your immunity. And there are many things you can do to strengthen and protect it.
Do it now to help prevent the flu and other coughs and colds.
Ideas taken from an article by Jon Herring, Editorial Director, Total Health Breakthroughs