This is my 3 step plan for fighting off infections.
In my 30's and 40's I was constantly going down with colds and flu virus infections that would last for ages, left me thoroughly miserable, ruined my life and disrupted the things that I wanted to be doing.
So now that I've recovered my health I want to make sure that I stay fit and well and this is the way that I do it.
STEP 1. Support your immune system and keep it strong.
If our immune systems are working well, we won't know about half the infections we are exposed to because the immune system has attacked it, dealt with it before you even get any symptoms so you don't know what's just happened.
It's protecting you silently behind the scenes. If for any reason, you do experience symptoms of a viral infection then obviously the immune system was unable to ward it off quickly enough but it will continue to attack the virus and the speed that you recover from the infection indicates how robust your immune system is.
The fact that my infections used to drag on for weeks was a red flag that my immune system needed some serious support.
I'm not saying that I never catch a cold now because I'm exposed to as many viruses as anyone else but I try to keep my immune system strong so that I keep the risk to a minimum.
When I do go down with colds and flus it's not as often, maybe just one or at the most two per winter and they don't last as long, my immune system is fighting them off quicker.
I focus on the following advice all the time not just when I get sick. Every day I try to make choices that count, in every single meal and every single snack so I plan:
Colourful fruit & vegetables to make up 80% of my diet including onions and cruciferous vegetables.
Adding a variety of herbs and spices to meals especially turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, parsley and oregano.
Good quality protein such as free-range or organic, chicken, turkey, eggs, fish and vegetarian proteins such as pulses and whole grains.
Oily fish three times a week and include other healthy fats such as avocados, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, nuts & seeds.
STEP 2. Avoid immune system suppressors.
Try to cut down to a minimum the things that are actually going to suppress the immune system by placing a heavy burden on it and stops it from functioning well.
Processed sugar - the hidden sugars that are in processed foods plus the coffee shop drinks that have a horrifying amount of sugar in them. Sugar suppresses our immunity.
High or chronic stress dampens down our immunity.
Toxins from pollution, household cleaners, cosmetics, air fresheners, pesticides, additives, cigarettes, drugs etc place a very heavy burden on our immune systems and take up all its energy so that it has little left to fight an infection with.
Junk food or processed foods that are full of things that place a burden on the immune system like artificial fats and high sugars while at the same time being empty of the nutrients needed to keep your immune system strong. Empty calories they're often called.
STEP 3. Supplements
(If you are on any medications you must check with your GP or pharmacist before taking supplements)
(Register with Natural Dispensary, quote Fran Penberthy and use the discount code LIVEWELL for 15% off).
These are the supplements that I take every day that are an extra support to my food choices:
If I do think I'm going down with something, you know, that first sneeze, that first tickle in the nose that tells you that something is happening.
At that very moment I will start to include these extra supplements:
Vitamin C - I will begin to take higher doses, 3 grams immediately and then 1 gram per hour or up to bowel tolerance. Vitamin C is antiviral and stops virus damage plus it supports the immune system through its antioxidant action. This has been found in studies to be highly effective against viruses - as effective as Tamiflu. Note: Do not take high doses if you are on the contraceptive pill or using a cheap vitamin C supplement.
I've tried to keep it simple and easy-to-follow today for you but there are plenty of other immune boosting foods and lifestyle choices out there so if you've got your favourite ways to keep clear of colds and flus then do pop them in the comments below, I'd love to hear them and they'll be so helpful for our readers.