This newsletter seems to have an underlying tone: pay now or pay later. It seems like it should be the theme for what I do in helping people stay healthy. To my dismay, most people I meet have made the choice to "pay later" (wait until they feel sick or develop a health condition). In my attempt to not be a hypocrite, I maintain the lifestyle of "pay now" (living a healthy lifestyle which includes eating right, exercise, spirituality and supplements: my 4 Pillars of Great Health). When it comes to cold and flu season, pay now makes much more sense. Who wants to feel miserable, miss work, lose out on income, have sick children, etc.? NOT me! Follow some of these basic guidelines to "pay now" instead of later.
You may not be aware that the incubation period for the flu can vary from days to weeks. Even though you might be exposed to the cold or flu germs today, it could be weeks before you develop or experience symptoms. This fall/winter season, I am suggesting that you get ahead of the game. Here are some simple tips to avoiding winter bugs:
Make Sensible Lifestyle Choices
Before we get into the meat of what to take, remember to look long and hard at your other lifestyle choices. Key things to avoid in your diet are sugar, honey and starchy/refined foods. These will weaken your immune function. Increase your activity, which will increase your immune function. Avoid most grocery store purchased fruit juices (they are high in sugar). Great marketing by the orange juice growers, but honestly-eat an orange or take vitamin C with a large glass of water. Speaking of water, it is a great way to support your immune system. Purified water will help flush out toxins and keep your mucous membranes hydrated, which helps prevent coughs and sinus issues.
There are two basic ways to address your immune system and its needs: stimulation and support.
Immune System Stimulation - "Pay Later"
Supplements that stimulate the immune system are for short-term use (a few weeks) and will cause an increase in the production and activity of certain immune cells. These supplements are for those of you who decided to "pay later". Examples would be echinacea and high doses of vitamin C. These types of supplements would be used at the onset of symptoms and really provide no benefit for "preventing" problems this season. They are more for the "pay later" people who don't like to be proactive and use preventative measures. Here are some others to consider too. Don't forget that homeopathic products work great as well:
- Olive Leaf
- Grapefruit Seed Extract
- Neti Pot
This list could be endless. Consult with your Vitamin Shoppe Health Enthusiast for help finding the product that is right for you.
Immune System Support - "Pay Now"
Support supplements are slower-acting (take at least 3 days to start working) and can be used for extended periods of time (months). These supplements provide key nutrients or components to make sure that your immune system is functioning optimally. I prefer to use combination formulas to achieve this. Combination formulas will address the multiple facets of your immune system at once, giving you the broadest approach possible to preventing immune challenges. Here are some of the ingredients that you should look for:
- Beta Glucan
- Green Tea
- Whey Protein
- Oregano (ok for long-term, but works short-term too)
- Elderberry (same as above)
- Neti Pot (twice-daily use can be a great preventative action)
Combining approaches is the key to staying healthy throughout the cold weather months. Just eating right, exercising or taking supplements alone is good, but combining all three together will assure you that you're doing everything you can to avoid being sick this cold and flu season.