Last week we talked about how chiropractic adjustments help prevent the flu. Today, I'd like to provide a few Cold & Flu remedies and how diet plays a role.
You might not realize it, but what happens in your digestive tract plays a huge role in how well you’re able to fight off germs. And what you eat — even, at times, whether you eat — can have a direct impact on how quickly you recover from a cold or flu and whether you catch the bug in the first place.
Here are some tips for boosting your immunity and feeling better fast.
Immunity Begins In Your Gut
There's a big rule when it comes to optimal health and that's “Take care of yourself, and your gut takes care of you.”
So step one is to feed the immune system. The immune system needs plenty of nutrients, so if your diet is poor… you'll get sick more often. Making matters worse, when you're sick.. you actually absorb less nutrients from what you eat. So it becomes a catch-22 and vicious cycle.
In this case, it's much easier to keep up than catch up when it comes to your health.
The human digestive system is home to billions of bacteria. Balancing your good bacteria is key to having a strong immune system. Prebiotic and Probiotic foods will help by building your healthy bacteria.
When you're sick, I'd recommend increasing good bacteria through supplements such as Probiotics.
In addition, the foods you should eat would include foods that have both Prebiotics and Probiotics.
Prebiotic foods include vegetables (asparagus, garlic, artichokes, leeks, onions), carbs (barley ,beans, oats, quinoa), fruit (apples, bananas, berries, kiwi), fats (flax seeds, chia seeds) and supplements.
Probiotic foods include dairy (yogurt, cheese, kefir), fermented products (pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh), and supplements.
Foods That Speed Recovery
All that said, it's important to realize that even the healthiest of diets cannot protect you from every invader. This is part of life. Our body was meant to come into contact with bugs, viruses and foreign invaders and learn how to deal with them.
As a general rule, when you get sick think: Feed a cold and starve a fever!
Full disclosure… science has not confirmed whether or not “feed a cold, starve a fever” actually works. Which is why I'd recommend you Eat if your hungry and Don't eat if you're not!
But here are some foods that can speed recovery…
These are all foods that have demonstrated their ability to fight germs and improve symptoms.
Honey: has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties
Garlic: acts as an antibiotic; can lessen the severity of colds and other infections
Chicken Soup: Provides fluids, electrolytes and anti-inflammatory nutrients that decrease symptoms
Green Tea: boosts B cell antibodies; helps us get rid of invading pathogens
Elderberries: has antiviral properties; rich in phytonutrients
Supplements that Speed Recovery
This protocol of “bombing” your cold or flu should ideally be something you initiate within 24-48 hours of the first manifestation of serious cold and flu symptoms.
If you can pull out all the stops, you’re going to be blown away at how simple it can be to banish a debilitating illness, even when your friends or family members may be “dropping like flies”.
High Dose Garlic
Brace yourself: about 9,000 mg of high-allicin garlic once and, if you can stomach it, up to twice daily.
For this, I’m a huge fan of “Allimax“, one of the few highly absorbable forms of high-dose garlic that exists.
A word of warning: this potent form of high-dose garlic can often cause stomach and esophagus burning if you consume on an empty stomach or don’t eat food afterwards, and you will reek of a pretty strong sulfur odor soon after taking it, but it will absolutely saturate your body with garlic’s well-researched virus-killing effects.
If you are brave enough, you can also include at a separate time of day about 3,600 mg a day of aged garlic extract – which is different than high-allicin garlic. There are unique immune-boosting compounds in aged garlic that work a bit differently than the compounds found in high-allicin garlic.
Colostrum is a concentrated source of lactoferrin, which is a natural constituent of mother’s milk that can boost natural killer-cell ability and can even kill certain viruses.
Colostrum also cytokines, immunoglobulins, growth factors, proline rich polypeptides (PRPs) and growth-promoting hormones. These components play important biological roles that are vital to proper immune function, including:
Cytokines: These hormones keep communication between immune cells active (no communication means low immunity, frequent sickness, and susceptibility to illness!)
Growth Factors: (IGF-I, IGF-II, EGF) As the name implies, growth factors assist with maintenance and growth of certain body tissues, including muscle and the gastrointestinal lining.
Growth Hormone: Growth Hormone (GH) works individually as well as together with the other growth factors in colostrum to aid in growth and function of gastrointestinal tissues, muscle and more.
Immunoglobulins: (IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG, IgM) Immunoglobulins are small proteins that are used by your immune system to seek out and destroy foreign antigens (invaders).
Proline Rich Polypeptides: PRPs are important immune system regulators that encourage the growth of white blood cells and may restore the balance of cellular immune functions. PRPs may defend against oxidative stress and support brain health.
I recommend this all natural colostrum derived from grass-fed goats as a clean and particularly effective source, at a dosage of 8-12 capsules at the first onset of signs and symptoms (in lower doses, at about 2-4 capsules per day, it’s also an excellent preventive measure).
Zinc can work by inhibiting cold viruses from latching onto your cells, but you must dissolve it in your mouth for it to be effective.
The approximate dosage you’ll want to use is 18 mg zinc acetate lozenge taken every two waking hours.
This is not something I recommend as a daily regimen because it is actually a very high dose of zinc and can be somewhat toxic if taken long term at this high of a dosage.
So you should only do this three days maximum in my opinion, but you should also do it at the first sign or symptom, because once a virus infects too many cells, it can replicate out of control and this strategy will no longer be effective.
You’re no doubt familiar with melatonin as something you’d normally consume at levels of 0.3mg-3mg to enhance sleep prior to bedtime, but it’s less well known that 10-50 mg of melatonin taken at bedtime can induce a significantly high immune system response, in addition to facilitating the deep sleep one often needs to fend off an infection.
And yes, with this high a dose of melatonin, you will get very sleepy and you should definitely not drive or operate any machinery after ingestion. You’ll wake up a bit groggy too, but it’s better than waking up in a pile of green gooey snot from your nasal passages.