Wednesday, October 28, 2009

'Tis the season for colds and flu...

and, having had the flu this month, I have no desire to get sick again.

There are coughs and sneezes happening everywhere, and while I'm most likely to get sick through our school connection, with my daughter in daily contact with 25 other kids, I move away from people who are obviously ill no matter where I am. I do not like to take supplements, preferring to get my nutrients from diet, but I decided to do a little research. Here are a few links that may be of interest regarding means of boosting the immune system:

Common Cold at the University of Maryland's Complementary Medicine Reference Center

Echinacea at the NIH's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Immune Function at
(Vitacost sells supplements, but their Health Library articles are useful because they are fully referenced from research studies published in journals.)

Feeding your Immune System at

Preventing the Flu

Eat-right plan to increase immunity from Cooking Light at CNN

A summary on immunity from the Healthy Librarian (I won't even consider paper towels, though! I replace hand towels almost daily in cold season instead).

Here's what I've decided to do based on these readings:
  • Limit sugar as much as possible.
  • Take my multivitamin more regularly.
  • Eat high vitamin-C fruit daily (kiwi or citrus, usually).
  • Count my veggies. I always eat more when I do this, aiming for a minimum of 5 servings/day.
  • Regular moderate exercise (which is a real challenge in the winter).
  • Keep drinking decaf green tea.
  • Put homemade yogurt back in my diet.
  • Try to get enough sleep.
  • Meditate daily, which is the best form of stress management I've found.
  • Get some echinacea. I'll have to read further to see if I want to use it as a preventive measure or keep it on hand for when illness strikes. Scratch that, it's in the ragweed family, and I'm allergic to ragweed.
  • Remember, again, to limit sugar.
One of my favorite ways to get a lot of fruit in summer is smoothies. Mine are almost entirely fruit, without added sugar, sometimes but not always with some yogurt or cooked oatmeal to add creamy texture. I'm going to try making smoothies without frozen ingredients as a winter replacement.