By Claire Bacon, ACN, CNC
Hello friend! How are you doing in this holiday season? We are well under way with our holiday parties, shopping, and staying up late getting everything done. Are you joining in the fun, or starting to get worn out already? Are you worried you’re not doing enough to support your health? Well rest assured, we are here to make sure you have all the education and tools you need to stay well from now until Springtime.
We have all noticed the return of our usual winter cold viruses. Maybe a few of your coworkers have gotten sick already, and you don’t want to be one of them? Or maybe you have a family member in delicate health and you want to be doubly safe while traveling over the holidays? No matter what your motives, the desire to stay well runs strong in all of us.
We believe that knowledge is power. When you know better, you do better! So for today’s lesson, let’s learn about viruses…
Natural Defenses Against A Virus
Viruses, like other pathogens, usually enter our bodies through the eyes, mouth, nose, urogenital openings, or through open wounds or bites. These are all modes that breach the skin barrier. One of the primary ways to protect the mucosal lining of your sinuses (and your gut) is to reduce the inflammation-causing influences in your diet and lifestyle. If your mucosal linings are intact, then once a virus makes its way into the body, your natural barriers have a greater chance of offsetting any major impact, and therefore, reducing symptoms. We also know that we want a diverse population of beneficial bacteria to help keep us well.
On the other hand, if you have a disrupted (or permeable) gut lining, your defenses will be down. This will make your entire system be at a disadvantage. You will find that your body is extremely reactive to common foods, you’ll tend to have a lot of histamine reactions (constantly looking for more Claritin or Benadryl) and all this will create a heightened burden on your immune system. Read this handout for more information about how a leaky gut contributes to allergies and food sensitivities, in both children and adults. If this sounds like you, you’ll need to take action to heal your gut lining. It’s worth the work – and will help keep you from getting sick!
Viruses attach to the host cell and either create a hole to enter the cell or inject genetic material into the host cell. In order to create a hole, the virus releases a burst of free radicals that degrade the cell membrane and weaken its defenses, thereby gaining entrance to the cytoplasm and even the nucleus. Once inside, the virus recruits the cellular components to replicate itself, and then breaks out of the cell and infects host cells throughout the body.
Strategies Against a Virus
So, what can we do? Lots of things! Essentially, we want to utilize antioxidant vitamins A, C and E along with essential fatty acids (Omega 3 fish oils) to help defend against free radicals and maintain the integrity of our cell membranes. In addition, we want easily absorbable calcium to fuel our white blood cells and essential fatty acids to deliver the calcium to the tissues. (Note that calcium carbonate is not the same thing and can actually be detrimental to health.)
We also need zinc and vitamin D to help our immune receptors to work properly. We can also use herbal strategies to stimulate key immune components and strengthen the system as a whole.
As mentioned before, diet plays a huge role in keeping the gut lining and our other mucosal linings intact. Avoiding potential allergens and eating clean will keep your defenses strong against foreign invaders.
And of course – we need plenty of fluids to flush out all the byproducts of infection. If you get bored with water, then go for herbal tea. And we can’t forget sleep! Sleep is truly what makes the magic happen. When we sleep, the immune system re-syncs with the brain and rejuvenates the entire body.
Herbs and Foods to Fight a Virus
If you have ever doubted that Mother Nature has given us what we need to be healthy, I want you to read this study. We can purposefully include many herbs and foods in our diet to combat free radicals and viruses:
- Cardamom, like in a spicy chai tea
- Green tea, as a good alternative to coffee
- Turmeric, sprinkled on roasted cauliflower or falafels
- Curry leaf, especially as used in Thai and Indian cuisine
- Black cumin seed, sprinkled on just about anything
- Holy basil or Tulsi tea
- Spirulina powder, added to your smoothies
- Fenugreek seeds, added to a curry or stir fry, and
- Ginger, among many others.
Top Inflammatory Foods to Avoid
So, let’s give your gut the best chance possible to keep you healthy! These are the top Inflammatory foods you will want to eliminate during allergy season, cold and flu season, holiday season, or anytime you tend to get sick:
- Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream); although butter & ghee are generally ok
- Gluten (wheat, rye, barley, spelt, malt, kamut)
- Corn (tortilla chips)
- Soy (edamame, protein bars)
- Chocolate (cocoa, cacao powder)
- Beef (sometimes sudden onset after a tick bite)
- Nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, paprika – problematic for autoimmune disease)
- Peanuts (a legume that tends to have lots of aflatoxin)
- Tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, not coconut)
- Other grains (rice, amaranth, teff, sorghum, millet)
- Eggs (the whites are more inflammatory than the yolks)
- Sugar (of course)
- Alcohol (yes, even wine)
Unfortunately, these are the most common foods in our American diet! No wonder so many people continue to stay so sick. We will truly need to make an extra effort if we want to stay well all winter.
Helpful Supplements During Winter
- Antronex: One of our most popular (and effective) products for helping with histamine issues. These could involve stuffiness, watery eyes or nose, headaches, itchy skin, rashes, or even mosquito bites. It’s a versatile product – good for so many things – because it enhances circulation and toxin removal through the liver.
- Cataplex AC: Contains whole-food complex Vitamins A and C, sourced from carrot root, sweet potato, buckwheat, and alfalfa, along with Echinacea and a few glandular extracts. These are quite possibly the most important vitamins and natural cofactors for a healthy immune response.
- Immuplex: When you’re in need of long-term rebuilding and strengthening of the immune system, this one covers all the bases. Contains a little of everything – zinc, selenium, vitamins A, C, and E, iron, folic acid, plus some spleen and thymus extracts for good measure! Literally everything you might need to fight a virus!
Other popular products right now for immune system health include:
- Echinacea Premium,
- Andrographis Complex,
- Cod Liver Oil,
- Black Cumin Seed Forte,
- Calcium Lactate,
- Prosynbiotic, and
- Cataplex F.
You might already have a few helpful things at home! Many people take St. John’s Wort for its nervous system benefits; did you know it’s also useful against certain viruses? We have a multitude of choices, and we’re ready to help with the most targeted support for you.
Remember, it is less about the pathogen, than it is about the HOST!
Still Wondering What to Do?
Do you have some unused vitamins lying around your house? Do you wonder if they would be beneficial during this time, or if you are missing something important? Please, give us a call. We are here for you and are happy to help you navigate through the uncertainty.
Do you need more resources? Do you want more information? Let us know!
It’s going to be a great week! Let’s focus on the positive action items we can do RIGHT NOW to support our health!