The flu can really knock you out, but several natural strategies have the ability to rally the immune system and lessen the severity and recovery time if you do get sick.
Upping your intake of mushrooms boosts your levels of lymphocytes, which are blood cells that defend against viruses. To fend off infection, consume two servings of mushrooms a day and supplement with 1,000 mg of a mushroom extract called AHCC every day throughout cold and flu season (peak flu season is December-February), according to Dr. Fred Pescatore, an integrative physician based in New York City. In one study, AHCC doubled white blood cell counts within one day and cut flu incidents by 50 percent.
Elderberry syrup can lessen the severity of cold and flu symptoms and help you recover faster. The anthocyanins in elderberry syrup keep viral cells from reproducing and it has been shown to increase the production of proteins that help lymphocytes coordinate their attack against infection. To get the benefit, take 1 teaspoon three times a day according to Andi Lynn’s Elderberry company. For an added assist, cook with garlic. Research suggests garlic dials down infection by 58 percent because compounds in the herb have antiviral properties.
To re-energize your immune system after a bout of flu, eat fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, or take a probiotic. More than 70% of your immune system is found in the gut, and these foods supply the probiotic bacteria that recharge the system. The British Journal of Nutrition found that boosting levels of probiotic bacteria reduced annual sick days by 31 percent.
Source: First For Women magazine