Eco Tip of the Week: For Your Health

Eco tip submitted by SimplyNu

With flu season just starting to hit, here’s an article you can find useful. Enjoy!

14 Ways to Prevent Swine Flu
posted by Dr. Frank Lipman Oct 20, 2009 5:03 pm
Don’t know whether or not to get the H1N1 vaccination? You might want to read some of these precautions before you sign up for the shot. If you’re opting for other ways to dodge the flu, here are 14 tips to boost your immunity and stay healthy this flu season.
1. Optimize your vitamin D level. Adequate levels of vitamin D are essential for our immune systems to function optimally. Unfortunately there are no significant dietary sources of vitamin D, most of our intake comes from exposure to sunlight. If you live far from the equator, you simply don’t get enough sun through Fall and Winter to make all the vitamin D you need. So unless you supplement during this period, your innate immunity will be compromised. vitamin D plays such a crucial role in so many aspects of your body’s functioning, that supplementing with it makes sense whether you decide to get the flu shot or not.
We know that influenza always gets worse during the winter months. Now there is good evidence to suggest that this is because as sunlight hours lessen during the winter, the people living in the northern hemisphere become vitamin D deficient and are susceptible to influenza infections of all kinds.
The current recommendations from the Food and Nutrition Board of the U.S. Institute of Medicine: from 200 to 600 IU/day depending on one’s age, are way too low.
These values were originally chosen because they were found to prevent osteomalacia (bone softening) and rickets. It is now recognized that vitamin D has many additional physiological functions, for which these levels are totally inadequate. A number of scientists are therefore calling for the Food and Nutrition Board in the U.S. and its counterparts abroad to reassess their current recommendations. Get your 25 hydroxy vitamin D level checked by your Doctor (if that is not an option, you can self test your level with ZRT labs)
Although the current normal range is between 20 and 50ng/ml, this is much too low for optimal health. You want your level to be between 50 and 70ng/ml.
This is the most important step you can take to prevent the flu! It may require a number of months taking 5,000 to 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily (especially during winter) under a doctor’s supervision, to optimize your blood level. Monitor your 25 hydroxy vitamin D status every three months until you are in the optimal range, then cut back to a maintenance dose of at least 2,000 IU a day.
2. Get adequate sleep. This is an indispensable requirement for a strong immune system.
3. Get adequate exercise. This keeps you robust.
4. Take actions to lower your stress levels.
Do breathing exercises, meditate, practice yoga, spend time doing something that makes you happy. Feeling spent, overwhelmed and or mentally run down has a causal relationship to your physical health.
5. Wash your hands frequently but not excessively. It decreases your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don’t use antibacterial soap because of the risk of creating resistant bacteria. Rather use a simple chemical-free soap.
6. Avoid sugar and processed foods as they decrease your immune function dramatically.
7. Eat phytonutrient rich meals (lots of colorful salads and dark greens).
8. Eat lots of garlic, it works as a broad spectrum antibiotic.
9. Take a probiotic daily (look for one with 10-20 billion organisms). A strong immune system relies heavily on having a strong foundation in the gut.
10. Keep a supply of antiviral herbal supplements on hand. As opposed to antiviral drugs, antiviral herbs do not cause resistant strains because they are multifaceted and contain literally thousands of different medicinal compounds. Thus they are able to attack viruses with a full spectrum of synergistic substances. Andrographis, Olive leaf extract, Grapefruit seed extract and Elderberry extract all have antiviral properties. Use one or a combination of some of them as a prophylactic measure, for example, whenever you travel (airports) or enter a potentially compromised environment such as a large office, auditorium, stadium, theater etc.
And if you really want to go all out, here are 4 more tips:
11. Take 1-2 grams of fish oils daily, it’s beneficial for immune function.
12. Take 2 grams of vitamin C daily, yes it does help.
13. Stock your home pharmacy with an immune building formula. Look for one that contains Cordyceps and Astragulus, take it throughout the flu season.
14. Keep homeopathic Oscillococcinum on hand. Take it at the earliest sign of a cold or flu as early intervention is essential.
If you are exposed to someone with the flu directly, you can take one dose twice a day for two days. You can also take one vial once a week throughout the winter, and two or three times a week during flu season, as a preventative measure.
*To this great list I would also add raw garlic, white and green tea, shiitake and maitake mushrooms (you can get them dried in Asian markets, and reconstitute before cooking). All well known immune system boosters.
As far as herbs go, Oregano oil extract is a winner. It is an excellent antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal. Formulations come with 55%-85% carvacrol, the active ingredient. Make sure it is standarized. I take it as soon as my throat starts itching, and has worked wonders.
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This post was written by

Kate @ KnitStorm – who has written posts on Eco Etsy.