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Six Ways to Keep Colds and Flu at Bay Without Vaccines

Six Ways to Keep Colds and Flu at Bay Without Vaccines

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By    |   Tuesday, 29 November 2016 09:29 AM

It’s that time of the year again — the beginning of cold and flu season. We can try to avoid the crud by shunning sick people, not touching door knobs or elevator buttons, or hedging our bets by getting the flu vaccine. But what about boosting your body's natural defenses to avoid getting sick in the first place?

"Prepare yourself for the next season," Dr. Anthony J. Lyon tells Newsmax Health. Lyon, medical director of New York City's The Ash Center, specializes in integrative medicine, and advocates building a strong immune system through natural diet and lifestyle choices.

Here are Lyon's six essential steps for building a stronger immune system to protect yourself against viruses:

Get adequate sleep. “Good quality sleep is most important to avoiding getting ill,” says Lyon. “In wintertime, we have this perfect storm. It's cold, we've allowed ourselves to become rundown, and then we get exposed to the inevitable viral illness.”

If your lifestyle doesn’t allow much sleep, focus on the quality of sleep. Lyon’s key advice is to avoid burning the midnight oil — go to bed early, and wake up early.

“Once 10 o'clock rolls around, your body has shifted into ‘housekeeping mode,’ and your body uses this time to recover from the day you just had, and to prepare you for the next day."

Avoid TV before bed. If you view something that upsets you, it fires up your sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for your body’s “fight or flight” response, and chemicals such as adrenalin and cortisol are released into the bloodstream.

Practice deep breathing. Deep breathing, or meditative breathing, serves a multitude of purposes for improving your immune system. It not only helps you relax before going to sleep, but can also be used to reduce stress during the day.

“People are fatigued and under a lot of stress, and this stress opens you up to contracting viral illness,” says Lyon.

It is important, however, to breathe correctly. Inhaling while bringing your shoulders to your ears looks good in air freshener commercials, but it is the exact opposite of what you should do.

Deep belly breathing involves a slow inhalation through the nose, and is marked by an expansion of the stomach rather than the chest.

Typically, deep breathing involves a slow and deep inhalation through the nose that is held for a count of ten, then slowly and completely released for a count of 10.

Improve your diet. "Stock up” your body's storehouse on very high-quality protein, preferably beginning two months before winter sets in.

“Your immune system is highly dependent on sufficient protein," Lyon says. "You’re feeding muscle, which is the most dynamic organ system in the body. If you're not supplying your body and your muscle with sufficient protein, you're not giving your body what your immune system needs.”

Lyon recommends eating three to five ounces of animal protein three times a day. He recommends vegetarians focus on whey protein, because whey closely approximates the amino-acid profile of animal protein. He recommends 2.5 grams three times a day.

Eat a diet loaded with root vegetables, along with stews and soups rich in vegetables, and bone broth. Bone broth might seem an odd item, but according to Lyon, it makes minerals and micro nutrients more available to the system, and it's healing to the gastro-intestinal lining.

Get plenty of vitamins. Vitamins B and C are well-known for improving energy levels and for keeping illness at bay, and are at the top of Lyon's list for building a strong immune system.

Amounts vary from person to person, as some people are sensitive to dosage levels. Lyon notes that sublingual forms (liquids placed under the tongue) of Vitamin B are most effective, since the vitamin is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. For those who have difficulty absorbing nutrients through their gastrointestinal system, intravenous vitamin treatments are an effective option.

Exercise. "Before you even get sick, get moving,” advises Lyon. “Muscle operates like an endocrine gland, and plays a strong role in the immune system.”

Lyon highly recommends Flow Yoga, because the format covers a multitude of vital areas — it puts your muscles to work, it helps improve deep breathing, and it melts stress away.

The cold winter months when running might not be an option are the perfect time to begin weight training.

“Muscle equals health,” Lyon stresses. “We're so focused on obesity. If we could shift the focus to muscle, many would realize when you take care of your muscles you are practicing true preventive medicine.”

Weight training places strain on the bone, which sends a signal to the bone that it needs to continue to remodel, to become stronger. Also, when you maintain muscle tissue, you maintain mobility.

“When we become more sedentary, our muscle tissue becomes replaced with other tissue. This starts happening in your late forties. Once you replace that tissue, you cannot go back.”

Wash your hands often. In addition to building a strong immune system, Lyon reminds us of the importance of avoiding contact with germs and viruses in the first place.

“The number one way to break the chain of spreading infections is handwashing,” Lyon notes.

He has a "prescription" for washing your hands: Use warm water, and rub your hands vigorously. Antibacterial soaps aren’t necessary, nor are large amounts of soap. He cautions against the use of anti-bacterial gels or sprays after you dry your hands.

“Those bottles carry tremendous amounts of viruses,” he notes. “You've just washed your hands, and you’re reaching with dry skin to a contaminated bottle of germs. You might as well have not washed your hands at all.”

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Flu vaccines and antiviral medications aren't the only ways to combat the common cold and flu this winter. Here are six natural ways to keep viruses at bay and stay healthy this cold and flu season.
cold, flu, natural, remedies, vaccines
Tuesday, 29 November 2016 09:29 AM
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