Nearly everybody today needs a stronger immune system.
This is especially true for people who suffer from an autoimmune disorder (like Hashimoto’s or Graves’ Disease) but this is equally relevant if you want to stop getting frequent flu and allergies.
No, it’s NOT OK to have flu or allergies. If your immune system is strong, it will fend off the pathogens.
What’s the best test to know if your immune system is ready for a serious challenge? Kiss someone who has flu and see what happens .
Popping Tylenol or doing allergy shots will only temporarily mask the symptoms; you are smart, so I know you get this part.
So where is the root of the problem? It’s in the GUT.
Did you know your immune system lives in your gut? Yes, it’s not pop med culture knowledge (the way “take Vit C when fluish” is) so it’s very normal if you did not know this.
If you live in the developed world, it’s very likely that you have a compromised immune system. And a weak digestive system. It’s not surprising, and these are the main causes:
1. Overuse of antibiotics – it’s easy to just pop one and move on. The consequences are dire though as antibiotics kill both bad and good bacteria. When your gut is stripped off good bacteria, it is simply… defenseless against most diseases. Kids who have been given antibiotics early in life are especially likely to have immune problems later on in life.
2. Vitamin D deficiency
3. Candida yeast overgrowth in the gut
4. Stress and hormonal imbalance - when we are stressed out, we produce cortisol which is a steroid hormone. What most people don’t know is that chronic presence of cortisol crashes the immune system.
So here are 10 Strategies to PREVENT and BATTLE flu and allergies.
5 Strategies to PREVENT flu and allergies
1. Cut out food that is giving you gut issues
Gut issues refer to feeling bloated, gassy, constipated, being in pain or having diarrhea. It’s NOT OK to have any of these. So many people suffer from these symptoms that they grow “accustomed” to having gut issues. All these symptoms are signs of certain food causing problems in the gut – this triggers an autoimmune response; flu, allergies and thyroid conditions are the result of these triggers.
The best thing to do is to either do an Elimination Diet. Alternatively, ask your physician for an IgG (food intolerance) blood test and nail the culprits – this test however is not always accurate – many food intolerances don’t get picked up OR the wrong ones get on your “list”. Common culprits are gluten, corn, dairy, eggs, nuts, citrus fruit, fructose, etc.
If you want to do an Elimination Diet but do not know how to start, contact me at Magdalena@ThyroidDietCoach.com and I will send you an outline of food rotation plans.
2. Reduce sugar levels and grains
Sugar is one of a key immune suppressants. Grains, when digested, are turned into sugar too, it’s therefore best for your daily meals not to contain more than 30% grains.
An average American consumes 48 spoons of sugar per day. I suspect much of it is unplanned and unwanted. What about you, do you know? Start reading product labels: 4g of sugar = 1 teaspoon. A quick example: Dannon’s Activia product label of tiny yoghurt container reads 6.25 spoons of sugar. Did you know that? In my How to Food Shop Guide I talk about other sources of hidden sugar and what to look for when reading product labels.
3. Introduce probiotics
If you are having a gut and digestive issues, you might need probiotic support in the form of supplements. This is a tricky area, though as many of them are of very poor quality. It’s best to research online or ask someone like me.
Another great source of probiotics is FERMENTED FOOD. Fermented food provides a bacterial flora that creates a healthy gut.
Examples of fermented food, most can be found at your health store:
- Sauerkraut (pick properly fermented, not in vinegar)
- Kombucha tea (fermented tea found in refrigeration area of most health stores)
- Tempeh (fermented soy, looks like a dense cake)
- Miso (fermented soy in paste form)
- Kim chee (Korean fermented veggies)
- Yoghurt (this is my recipe to make your own yoghurt)
- Kefir (has different bacteria than yoghurt, also super beneficial)
If you are following the Thyroid Diet, this is equally important.
4. Reduce stress and cortisol levels
I believe this is the most underestimated cause of our problems. Just look at the word “disease”, it means dis-ease; someone who is not at ease.
On a physical level, the hormone called cortisol is a powerful steroid that can do intense destruction to our immune system.
This is too large of a topic for this entry but this is what I would encourage you to try:
- acknowledge stress and the role it plays in you life and start exploring options to address it
- start in small steps, like keeping a gratitude journal on your fridge; write every morning the 2 good things that happened the day before
- learn to BREATH and visualize letting go everything dark on the exhale.
5. Stock up on immune-boosting food
A few simple foods to add to your pantry:
- coconut oil
- turmeric powder
- chlorella and spirulina powder
These are all key foods as well in the Thyroid Diet.
Next, 5 strategies to BATTLE flu and allergies
1. Vitamin C + zinc tablets – power duet!
Alternatively, get this supplement brand, it works wonders Wellness Formula from Source Naturals.
2. Garlic + onion juice
I know, it stinks. But it’s a natural antibiotic, potent and crazy fast to give you results. If you don’t have a juicer, just finely chop 1 onion and 5 cloves of garlic, mix in a bowl and let it “sweat”.Within 2 hours you will be able to press down with a spoon and get the juice out. Drink 1 tablespoon 3-5 times a day, but never on an empty stomach.
3. Echinecea + elderflower – grandma’s remedy that works.
4. Nasal irrigation
Another favorite of mine; hard to think about doing it but it works wonders when your sinus is a mess. Refrain from taking an antibiotic and do this : inhale warm filtered water with sea salt through your nose and spit it out through your mouth. Alternatively, get the salty water nasal spray at the pharmacy.
5. Diet boost
Add these to your diet when sick:
- chicken soup, made at home, boiled for 10-12 hours, with flesh, bones and the organs. There is an old Jewish saying “a good broth will awaken the dead”. So why not you?
- avoid all dairy and fried food
- reduce sugars and grains to an absolute minimum
- drink plenty of water and some lemon water
- brew ginger tea + freshly squeezed lemon
What can you expect from all that ordeal of recommended changes?
- less allergies
- less/no flu
- more energy
- better functioning thyroid
- clarity of mind and spirit
- enthusiasm to do things you always wanted to do but had no energy for.
If you are feeling overwhelmed right now, that’s perfectly normal and that’s OK; just start one step at the time. Pick something that works for you and try it. Make it part of your life and it will soon become a routine. Then you introduce the next one. And the next one.
You then kiss a person with flu and see what happens. This is how you know how strong your gut and the immune system are.
With garlicky breath,
P.S. If this is all overwhelming to you, that’s pretty understandable. It saddens me that I had to go to a nutrition school to know how to eat well and be healthy. If you need help in boosting your immune system, especially if you are suffering from Hashimoto’s Disease, we are here to help. I see many people boosting their immune system by starting with the Elimination Diet – cutting out foods that sabotage your gut and the immune system is a great Step #1 in healing
P.P.S. We encourage you to join in our Thyroid Community Calls for targeted thyroid nutrition information and to learn about ways to receive support in your journey to thyroid health.
2 Responses to Boost Your Immune System in Times of Flu, Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases
Magdalena – YOU ROCK!!!
These are the types of remedies that make me happy (and healthy) because they WORK, and are not in pill or powder form.
When living in the States I always wondered if we really had to go out and get flu shots. Was there no natural alternative? (especially when pregnant). And now that I live in Finland I am stunned by the (over)use of antibiatics.
Ginger, garlic, honey and home made yoghurt: BRING IT ON!!!
Great post, Magda. I appreciate your clear and direct writing. So many useful suggestions here. I’m ready to get the kraut on!