It’s that time – flu season. If you’re lucky like my family you’ve probably already had the flu once or twice.
Luckily, there is a natural way to help boost your immune system and prevent yourself from catching the flu! If you’ve already caught the flu – there is also a natural way of getting through it quickly without much damage.
You might be wondering – what about the flu shot?
For many this is an option they would not consider passing up, which I will always respect. However, the flu shot has been determined to be less than 10% effective this year. The flu also mutates and presents in multiple strains, making it impossible to ensure you will not get one of the many other strains that the vaccine itself does not protect against. Vaccines can also lower your immune system, making it so that if you DO indeed contract the flu, it will be more difficult for your body to have the tools to fight it off. Lastly, vaccines are known to contain heavy metals, antibiotics, aborted fetal cells, and common allergens, (to name a few ingredients) which I try to avoid putting into my body if I can.
*Please do your own research on vaccines before making the decision to vaccinate or not to vaccinate. I am not a medical professional.
How can I naturally boost my immune system against the flu?
The body is an amazing organism! It has thousands of natural processes in order to help it to stay healthy and ward off impending illness. However, not all of us are always in perfect health. Sometimes we need a little “boost”. Here are some tips that can help:
- Make sure you are using regular sanitary practices.
- Washing your hands several times a day and staying away from other sick people can go a long way.
- Regularly consume foods high in vitamin c.
- Strawberries, kiwi, brussels sprouts, pineapple, bell peppers, mangos, broccoli, and oranges just to name a few
- Take a probiotic daily, and eat fermented foods.
- Probiotics contain healthy bacteria that strengthen the gut and the immune system. Taking a daily probiotic is very effective in populating your gut flora, and fermented foods help to ensure your gut flora is more diverse (better at fighting off different illnesses). I like to take a 100 billion multi-strain probiotic 1-2x a day.
- Some examples of fermented foods are: yogurt (no sugar is best), coconut yogurt, kefir, water kefir, kombucha, saurkraut/pickles (make sure they are not pasteurized), miso or tempeh (fermented soy) to name a few
- Make sure you are getting PRE-biotics to feed the bacteria. Either check the label of your capsules to see if they contain them or eat prebiotic foods such as plantains, cold potatoes, and avocado’s near the time you consume probiotics.
- Get adequate amounts of vitamin d and sunlight
- 1,000 IU per day is usually adequate, or 15-20 minutes of sunlight
- Eat a healthy, balanced, diet full of plants and whole foods
- Fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts/seeds, herbs, eggs, organic meats
- Avoid processed foods or foods that are not in their original form
- Avoid excess amounts of sugar
- Aim for less than 25g a day of sugar, and no added sugars
- Drink plenty of water (I aim for 100oz a day)
- Get 6-9 hrs of sleep per night, or a nice nap during the day
- Regularly detox your body
- Drinking a glass of lemon water each morning is a gentle detox
- Drinking green juices and eating plenty of green veggies high in chlorophyll
- Take an epsom salt bath twice a week to help remove toxins from the body we are regularly exposed to in our food and environment
- Try to reduce the stress in your life
- Adopt a regular mindfulness practice such as daily meditation, prayer, scripture study, journal writing, gratitude, or yoga
So what can you do if you’re already sick with the flu?
Boosting and supporting your body’s natural immune system processes is the most effective thing you can do. Your body knows what to do, and giving it all the tools it needs will make that process even more effective!
Natural Flu Remedies:
- Elderberry syrup
- Elderberries naturally contain vitamins A, B & C. These help to stimulate and support your immune system. I also like to add cinnamon, ginger, cloves and raw honey to my recipe – giving it incredible healing properties! Get the recipe HERE
- Increasing your vitamin/mineral intake
- Increasing your vitamin C intake to 2-5g per day can significantly help to fight illness. Because it is water soluble, it is difficult to “over-dose”.
- Increase vitamin D intake to 1000-5000 IU
- Taking magnesium can help with muscle aches, sleep and headaches
- Garlic is a potent natural “antibiotic”. It kills bad bacteria and infections while still protecting your bodies healthy bacteria. My favorite way to use garlic is by making GOOT (a garlic rub). You can get the recipe HERE
- You can also ingest garlic (1-5 cloves daily)
- Probiotics help to increase your immune system because your immune system lives in your gut. Giving your gut more healthy bacteria will help to restore a balance to your flora and kill any bad bugs. It will also help to reduce any diarrhea that may accompany the flu. I increase my probiotics to 150 billion 2x a day
- Essential oils
- Although essential oils do not necessarily “boost” your immune system, they are often able to sanitize germs in the air and on surfaces as well as help remedy the symptoms of the flu
- Some of my favorite oils to use are peppermint (for headaches), lavender (for muscle aches), and “breathe” oil from doTERRA (to help with congestion)
- Remember to always dilute and to do research on the safety of oils before diffusing around children. I do not diffuse these oils because I have young babies but I will put them on my hands and breathe in or use topically on my body. I do not use oils topically on my son unless I’m sure they are safe.
- Here is a good resource: Using Essential Oils Safely
- Cut Onions
- Leaving a bowl of cut onions in each room or the main living area will help to purify the air and draw out infection
- Herbal Teas
- Teas can help to reduce symptoms as well as boost the immune system! Here are some of my favorite combos:
- Red raspberry leaf, nettle, alfalfa and peppermint for packing a nutritional punch
- Lemon and raw honey or marshmellow root for a sore throat/cough
- Ginger tea for an upset tummy
- Drinking water
- Drinking adequate water helps your body’s natural detox process and also helps to flush out the infection. Getting dehydrated is very dangerous while dealing with the flu. Make sure to drink lots and lots and lots of water!
- I also like to drink coconut water as it is naturally high in electrolytes and helps you to remain hydrated.
- Detox bath
- Add 1-2 cups of epsom salt, 1/2 cup of baking soda, and 5 drops of lavender essential oil to a warm bath and soak for 30 minutes.
- This will help to draw out toxins and replete your magnesium stores. Make sure to drink plenty of water after to re-hydrate and realize it is normal to feel tired and/or lightheaded after a detox.
- Rest as much as possible during the day and get enough sleep at night if you can!
Final thoughts – What if I have a fever?
It is very common and natural to have a fever accompany your flu, cold or any bacterial/viral infection. The dreaded “fever” has gotten a bad rep, causing many to panic. Most of the time, a fever is not something to worry about, and is actually considered beneficial.
A fever is your body’s natural way of fighting off the infection. A fever raises your body heat to a temperature that creates an inhospitable environment for bacteria – causing bad bacteria to die. Many fever reducers such as Tylenol, Motrin, or Ibuprofen will reduce your temperature… But they also allow the bacteria to continue to grow and thrive! This will often perpetuate the length of the illness, it is really just a bandaid and not a cure.
Depending on the age and over-all health of you and/or your child, up to 104 degrees can be considered a “beneficial fever” and will often reduce on its own within 24-48 hours, especially when practicing the above listed immune-boosting remedies. Follow your intuition and know that there may be a point where it is smart to visit your doctor, after all natural resources have been exhausted. 🙂
I hope that you find this helpful! My family has successfully used these natural remedies to help us to combat the cold/flu. Please adjust any dosages for children and/or babies. I have used all these remedies on my toddler after extensive research on the proper dosage for him. Get well soon! ❤