Flu-Who: 10 Immunity Boosters to Start Right Now

Flu season is upon us, and we’re already seeing many suffer.  The good news is you don’t have to be one of them if you start boosting immunity now. Here are 10 simple ways to prep your body so it’s strong enough to repel viral invaders all winter long:

1) Do your D’s

Adequate levels of Vitamin D are essential for our immune systems to function the way it is designed to. Unfortunately, there are no significant dietary sources of Vitamin D – most of our intake comes from exposure to sunlight. To optimize your vitamin D levels, you’ll need to take a Vitamin D3 supplement daily. This is the most important step you can take to prevent the flu!! To find out how much vitamin D you’ll need, get your 25 hydroxy Vitamin D level checked by your doctor. If that’s not an option, you can self-test your level with ZRT labs. For optimal health, you’ll want your level to be between 50 and 70ng/ml. It may require several months of taking 5,000 to 10,000 IU of Vit D3 daily (especially during winter) under a doctor’s supervision to achieve this – but it will be well worth the effort. Monitor your 25 hydroxy vitamin D status every 3 months until you are in the desired 50 and 70ng/ml range, then cut back to a maintenance dose of at least 2,000 IU a day.

2) Do take a probiotic daily

A strong immune system relies heavily on having a healthy, well-functioning gut – and probiotics help keep your gut engine humming.  Look for a probiotic with 10-20 billion organisms and take one every day.

3) Do stock up on antiviral herbal supplements

Immunity –boosting antiviral herbs contain thousands of medicinal compounds that attack viruses with a full spectrum of synergistic substances – and without creating resistant viral strains. Four great antivirals are andrographis, olive leaf extract, grapefruit seed extract and elderberry extract. Use one or several in combination as a prophylactic measure, particularly if you spend time in high-traffic areas such as airports, offices, theaters, etc.

4) Don’t eat crap

In other words, avoid sugar and processed foods. Sugar is a poison which, among other things, dramatically decreases immune function – so lay off the stuff. And processed foods? Virtually all of the nutrients get processed right out of them so they do nothing to strengthen immunity. Talk about empty calories!

5) Do get your greens

Colorful salads and dark greens are loaded with flu-fighting phytonutrients, so pile your plate high.  For a quick boost, and a nourishing way to start your day, add a high quality greens powder into a morning protein shake.

6) Do garlic

Not only does garlic repel vampires, it also has anti-viral properties and is a known immunity booster. My advice? Dig in!

7) Don’t skimp on sleep

One key to a strong immune system? Sleep! Get plenty of it to allow the body to restore and repair itself while you rest. Shoot for at least 7 hours a night and try taking a 20-minute catnap if you’re falling short.  If sleep is not your strong suit, get my top tips for improving your sleep, or get a little support from our Sleep Formula.

8 ) Do break a sweat

Adequate exercise helps keep your immune system healthy and robust, so keep moving throughout the winter.

9) Do chill out

Reduce stress, particularly during flu season. Do breathing exercises, yoga or simply things you enjoy, to help boost immunity, relieve tension and enhance physical and mental resilience.

10) Don’t wash with antibacterial soap

The antibacterial craze has created harsh products loaded with toxins that increase the risk of creating resistant bacteria.  They also over-dry and crack the skin, making transmission of viruses that much easier.  Instead, wash your hands frequently with good, old-fashioned hot water and chemical-free soap.  When you feel the need for an on-the-spot cleaning, try a few drops of lavender essential oil for a natural hand sanitizer.

Best wishes for a flu-free winter!

PIONEER IN FUNCTIONAL AND INTEGRATIVE MEDICINEFor Dr. Frank Lipman, health is more than just the absence of disease: it is a total state of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social wellbeing. Dr. Lipman is a widely recognized trailblazer and leader in functional and integrative medicine, and he is a New York Times best-selling author of five books, How To Be Well, The New Health Rules, 10 Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat, Revive and Total Renewal.After his initial medical training in his native South Africa, Dr. Lipman spent 18 months working at clinics in the bush. He became familiar with the local traditional healers, called sangomas, which kindled his interest in non-Western healing modalities.In 1984, Dr. Lipman immigrated to the United States, where he became the chief medical resident at Lincoln Hospital in Bronx, NY. While there, he became fascinated by the hospital’s addiction clinic, which used acupuncture and Chinese medicine to treat people suffering from heroin and crack addiction. Seeing the way these patients responded so positively to acupuncture made him even more aware of the potential of implementing non- Western medicine to promote holistic wellbeing. As a medical student, he was taught to focus on the disease rather than the patient, and now as a doctor he found himself treating symptoms rather than the root causes of illness. Frustrated by the constraints of his training, and the limitations in helping his patients regain true health, he began a journey of discovery to search for the path to meaningful long-term health and wellness.He began studying nutrition, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, functional medicine, biofeedback, meditation, and yoga. Dr. Lipman founded the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in 1992, where he combines the best of Western medicine and cutting edge nutritional science with age-old healing techniques from the East. As his patient chef Seamus Mullen told The New York Times, "If antibiotics are right, he'll try it. If it's an anti-inflammatory diet, he’ll do that. He’s looking at the body as a system rather than looking at isolated things."In addition to his practice, Dr. Lipman is the creator of Be Well, an expanding lifestyle wellness brand he founded in 2010 to help people create, sustain and lead healthier lives.