We are officially into the cold and flu season, although to me it seems like it can hit at any time of the year these days. Could it be that we have been too overprotective, vaccinated ourselves too much? Our family has not had a flu shot in several years. We get sick, but I see it as a normal part of life, and the healthy process of immune system development. We have been in the doctor’s office with what has seemed like the flu, but the tests always come back negative. The way I see it, each year the flu shot only protects against about 1/2 of the flu strains that go around, so that makes them a 50/50 bet. I’d rather take my chances. Have you seen what a flu vaccine includes? Formaldehyde and Sodium Chloride are the first listed ingredients in most flu vaccines. No thanks.
There are ways to boost your immune system naturally. One of the most important things that you can do is to keep your intestinal tract healthy by getting plenty of probiotics. Ninety percent of your immune system function resides in your intestinal tract… did you know that? It is extremely important that the healthy flora that your digestive tract needs is present, and keeping your digestive tract healthy is not as hard as you might think. Here are a few things that you can do to get more probiotics and boost your immune system this season:
1. Drink Your Kefir
Kefir is a fermented dairy product, very similar to yogurt, but is taken as a drink. Kefir is high in beneficial yeast and probiotics, which together are extremely good for you. In the digestive tract, kefir creates the perfect conditions for the colonization of friendly bacteria, which is what your immune system needs to stay strong. You can make kefir at home (it’s super easy to do) or you can buy it at the store. It even comes in fruity flavors and is excellent in smoothies!
2. Eat More Yogurt
Live-cultured yogurt is one of the best food sources of probiotics that you can consume. Brands made from goat’s milk are the best, but any variety will do, just be sure to read the labels, as some still contain high fructose corn syrup and other undesirable ingredients, like artificial sweeteners. I’m surprised at how hard it is to find a yogurt that does not have aspartame or Splenda in it! Avoid these artificial sweeteners at all costs!
3. Kombucha Anyone?
I first tried Kombucha at our local farmer’s market a couple of years ago and I was surprised at how much I liked it. Kombucha is a form of fermented tea that is very high in healthy bacteria. You can find it at farmer’s markets and at your local Whole Foods Market. It comes in different flavors to suit any taste, and it’s really good for you! If you are prone to yeast infections you may want to drink it is small amounts and see how it affects you. This drink has been used for hundreds of years for well-being and health.
4. Dark Chocolate
I knew you’d like this one! Who doesn’t like dark chocolate? Well, I’ll admit that I prefer milk chocolate, but for health reasons I try to eat dark chocolate when I eat chocolate. A good dark chocolate (as in high quality) can have probiotics added to it. Need I say more? More chocolate, that is!
5. If All Else Fails Get a Good Probiotic Supplement
It is easy to get your daily requirement of healthy probiotics through supplements, just be sure that you get a high quality probiotic. Dr. Josh Axe has a great article that tells what to look for when you’re shopping for a good probiotic supplement. You can find it here.
Don’t let cold and flu season get you down this year! Keep your digestive tract healthy, eat a low sugar diet, and get plenty of sleep, exercise and fresh air. I promise that you’ll see a difference in your health! Have a happy and healthy New Year!