My husband came home last night and said, “Everyone at work is out with the flu.” I quickly suggested he take that zinc and those multi-vitamins I had just purchased for him, and (maybe for the first time) he didn’t blow me off. Side note: It’s hard to be married to a health coach. Good thing I can cook. 😉
This flu season is predicted to be one of the worst in recent history, and that is pretty scary especially for those of us with a whacked out immune system. Here is what I am doing to protect myself and my family.
Disclaimer: I am a health coach and not a doctor, a dietician, or a nutritionist. I make no claims to any specialized medical training, nor do I provide health care, medical or nutrition therapy services; or to diagnose, treat or cure any disease, condition or other physical or mental ailment of the human body.
1. Wash your hands! I know this is super fundamental, but I see people in public bathrooms. I know that at least some of us are not washing our hands as often as we should. Wash your hands before you eat, after you come in from being out, and after touching stuff like money, handrails, and elevator buttons. In other words, if one potentially sick person touched it, wash your hands!
2. Stay away from sugar. Sugar is just horrible for us. It creates inflammation and harms beneficial gut bacteria which leads to immune system problems. If you must have something for that sweet tooth buy yourself some richly colored fruit so you get the fructose you’re craving and the vitamins you need. Note: Fruit juice doesn’t count!
3. Get that sleep. We need at least 7 hours of sleep each night, but most of us get about 5. We have to get the sleep we need so our body can do its job of protecting us. If you need to be scared straight on this topic, I found this interview with sleep scientist Michael Walker to be very effective.
4. Eat the rainbow. Load up your plate with veggies of all colors! Vegetables are full of vitamins, nutrients, and fiber our body needs to nourish our cells and feed our good gut bacteria.
5. Take your supplements. I’d rather get my nutrition through food because I know that work better for my body, but there are somethings that I can’t get through our food. This looks different for all of us, but for me, this means making sure I get my vitamin D, omega-3, and gut healing probiotic every day, without fail. Note: People with very active autoimmune symptoms should not be taking loads of immune-boosting vitamins like echinacea. If you aren’t sure what you should be taking, talk to your openminded nurse practitioner or doctor to see what they recommend for you.
7. Eat all those probiotics! If it isn’t clear by now our gut health is super important. SEVENTY (70%) percent of our immune system is located in our gut. If you have lupus or another autoimmune diagnosis you have to address your gut health.
During this flu season, I’m making sure I give my gut everything it needs (and avoiding what it doesn’t) to make sure my immune system is given the best chance to protect me. I’ve written about eating your probiotics here, but for a shorter version, I’ll just tell you that I am loading up on miso, tempeh, homemade sauerkraut, and these Bubbies pickles that I can’t seem to replicate.
So far, staying vigilant about these things has kept the flu at bay, and I’m hoping and praying that it will stay away. However, if it does happen, I am confident that my little family and I will be in good enough shape to weather the storm.
May the flu pass you by!
Public Service Announcement: Stay home if you are sick. I know that’s hard. I know that kids have to be places and sometimes work is unforgiving about days off, but you have to get the rest you need to protect yourself. And you have to keep your germs to yourself. You flu could literally kill someone with a weak or whacky immune system. Stay home in bed and binge watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel because it’s brilliant.