You have probably heard the largest portion of your immune system is in your gut, about 80%. What does this mean? We need to feed our guts healthy food to fend off would be intruders making us sick. One of the best things to be consuming is beneficial bacteria. You can find these in fermented foods. Yogurt is a great place to start. However, you need to be very careful on the type of yogurt you are consuming. Most have high fructose corn syrup, HFCS, in it. I do not think I need to remind you of how bad this stuff is. I am sure I do, so we will talk about this in another post.For now, if you do not know how bad this stuff is, you will have to take my word for it, avoid at all possible costs. Avoid it like you would the plague, it is just as bad if not worse for your health. If the yogurt does not have HFCS in it, it will probably have some other form of sugar as an ingredient, avoid highly sugary yogurts. If it has artificial growth hormones in it, avoid as well. If it does not say has multiple strains of live cutlers in it, you are wasting your hard earned money. If it has any ingredients you can not read or now what it is, avoid. Are you picking up a trend here?
What do you want to look for in your yogurt? You want to make sure it is all natural, organic is even better, no growth hormones, no HFCS, watch the sugar content and live cultures. I personally like to eat Stoney Fields. Their yogurt is organic, has no HFCS, limited amounts of organic cane sugar and six different live active cultures. It tastes great, smooth and creamy. Another type of yogurt which is very good for you is Greek yogurt. There are some people who can not stomach it. I would try a little before you buy a big container or a lot of it. Generally there are no added sugars to Greek yogurt, you might want to try adding some raw local honey to it. The same rules apply to Greek yogurt as they do to the other yogurt. One other great benefit of Greek yogurt, besides not having sugar added, is it has more protein than regular yogurt. Make sure you read the labels.
Other foods which have live cultures are: raw milk, kefir, which is a fermented milk and this can have as many as 10 different live cultures present, kombucha, which is a fermented tea, kimchi, sauerkraut, and any other fermented food.
We used to eat a lot more fermented foods, mainly due to lake of refrigeration, and for their health benefits. Now days, we have refrigeration and we tend to not eat the fermented stuff. If you want to be healthy this cold and flu season, and for the rest of your life, I would start eating more fermented, live cultured food. This would mean, you can not go to your local grocery store and buy canned, pasteurized, severely heat treated dead food.
We also need to eat food which is going to help keep these cultures alive in our guts. What? You have herd of probiotics, the healthy bacteria like we have been talking about, but have you heard of prebiotics? All prebiotics are is the food to sustain the bacteria. The main food for this are vegetables, fruits and if you are doing some sprouted grains, oats and inulin, a form of soluble fiber. What you are looking for is the fiber in these foods. If you are like me and do very little grains, you can get all of the fiber you need from vegetables and fruit, no need to worry there. Raw apple cider vinegar, the kind which still has the mother in it, is also good as a prebiotic. The bacteria in your gut thrive in the acidic environment of your intestines and stomach. Adding apple cider vinegar can do your body good. What I like to do is called the Vermont method. I found this searching for ways to help with arthritis, more on this in another post. But any who, what the Vermont method is is:
1 TBS of raw apple cider vinegar
1 tsp of raw honey
room temperature water, anywhere from 8 to 16 oz.
Since I have been dong this for a time, I usually do a little more than a table spoon of the vinegar and I do not measure the honey, just squeeze some in, and I have been doing less of the water than the 16 oz. I really enjoy this, especially when thirsty. I find the best time to drink it is after my workout, crazy I know. Try doing up to three times daily. There are many health benefits to raw apple cider vinegar, enjoy for your health. But for this post, we will stick to it being good for feeding your gut flora, the bacteria in your gut!
Other measures you can take for preventing any type of sickness is making sure your Vitamin D levels are adequate. I do not recommend beginning a Vit. D regime until you have had your levels checked. You want to make sure your levels are about 50 nano grams per milometer. Depending on your levels will depend on how much you will need to take to get them up to at least this level. The more research that is done on Vit. D, the more we are finding how important this fat soluble vitamin is for us. We are also finding people are at very inadequate levels. If you are getting sick all the time, be sure to have your levels checked. Vit. D plays a very important role in our immune systems. Since having my level where they need to be, I avoid most everything that goes around. If I feel like I have something coming on, I will take a few extra doses of my Vit. D and I am good to go. If you would like to know more about Vit. D and how vital it is to your health, I believe Dr. Mercola has some of the best and most extensive knowledge base on his web page, http://www.mercola.com/ Get those Vit. D levels up there, your immune system will thank you.
Do not take anti-biotics unless it is life or death situation. You see, when you take anti-biotics, you kill all of the bacteria in your gut. They do not target only the bad stuff. Doctors today hand out anti-biotics like they are candy. They will even give them if you do not have a bacterial infection, they will give them for viruses! This is absurd. They will do nothing for you for a viral infection. Be sure, if you are given anti-biotics you have a bacterial infection and try to take care of the infection on your own. If you do have to anti-biotics, take all of them that have been prescribed to you. When you do not take them all, this helps lead to anti-biotic resistance, take them all! Be sure to eat good yogurt and other sources of probiotics. Once you are finished with the anti-biotics, you will want to be increasing your probiotic intake dramatically to reestablish your flora. This is the time I would take a multi-strain supplement of a probiotic. The reason you want to do this is so you get your immune system back as soon as possible, which will help you to not get sick again and so other things like yeast can not take over your system.
If you remember the post on saturated fat you will remember me saying saturated fat is healthy for your immune system and how great coconut oil is. Coconut oil has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties to it. So, by eating coconut oil everyday, you will be helping your body fight off all of the intruders we face everyday. Along with taking some extra Vit. D when I feel something coming on, I will also increase my intake of coconut oil. One of my favorite things to do is a hot taughty with a table spoon of coconut oil in it. For those of you who do not know what a hot taughty is, it is an alcohol base drink:
shot or more of whisky
fresh squeezed, I like it freshly squeezed anyway, lemon or lime juice, a half or one
some honey, to taste
Be sure to drink it nice and hot, go to bed with a few extra blankets and sweet it out. If it is a bacterial infection, this will help kill the bacteria. If it is viral, it will help your body to fight off the virus. With the coconut oil added, this gives your body the added extra benefits of the coconut oil. Ladies, this also works wonders for UTIs!
Working out is another good habit to have. This helps our bodies be stronger in all ways and be healthier. Being outside as much as possible gives you the added benefit of fresh air and sunshine. Along those same lines, be sure to air your house out, daily. This includes during the winter and hot summer months. The air quality in your house's and be even worse than the most polluted city, including Utah during our winter months. By airing out your house, you will help to ride it of the bugs which make you sick.
When you keep your body more alkaline, the way God intended our bodies to be, you will also ward off all types of diseases. You see, bacteria, viruses, cancer, you name it, can not live in an alkaline environment. By eating all of your vegetables and fruit, along with avoiding sugars and processed foods, you will naturally keep your body alkaline, warding off disease and sickness. A very good reason to eat your fruits and veggies!
Use common sense. If you are sick, stay home! I have not figured out why people are so inconsiderate. I am sick, but I am going to go to work and to the store and breath on everyone. If you do not feel well, stay home and take care of yourself and help stop the spread of sickness.
Here is to a happy and healthy season of no sickness!
In the love of the Christ,