1. EAT YOUR GREENS! Your vegetables are the best way to get immunity fighting nutrients. Your body best absorbs them from real food. Drink a green juice with ginger and lemon, eat organic fresh veggies or buy frozen veggies and eat them frequently. Unfortunately these days we can't rely on our food supply to give us the same amount of nutrients we got 50 years ago. Food is harvested early, sprayed with pesticides and insecticides, gets shipped across the country or the globe, sits in the store, then in your fridge and then you cook it - all actions that reduce the nutrient count. By the time the veggies end up on your plate, the majority of the nutrients may be lost. That's why frozen vegetables are actually a great idea (because they're frozen immediately after harvest and retain their nutrients) and why it pays to buy organic for many. 2. TAKE A MULTIVITAMIN. A daily multivitamin is not needed if your diet is high in fresh veggies, but it adds to your health insurance on days your diet isn't full of veggies and lean proteins. Make sure your multi is a food-based product, which means it is made from food rather than in a lab. Synthetic vitamins aren't absorbed as well as food-based vitamins and usually contain massive amounts of nutrients you don't need and can interact with each other. Products such as Centrum and One A Day are low quality products that often contain versions of minerals and nutrients your body can't even assimilate. Here's a good multivitamin made from fermented foods for men and women 3. TAKE YOUR VITAMIN D3. Adequate Vitamin D3 levels are associated with a reduced incidence of flu and infection. It also lowers your cancer risk and boosts your bone strength. Make sure you're taking at least 2,000 IUs per day of Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and make sure it's not Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), which the body doesn't utilize. Your Vitamin D3 levels are directly linked to your exposure to sunlight. Since that's scarce in the Winter, make sure you take it every day. Get your Vitamin D3 level checked at your next physical. It should be between 50-70 ng/dL for you to have disease prevention levels. Here's a great supplement by Carlson's to boost your levels: Vitamin D3
4. LOAD UP ON VITAMIN C. Vitamin C shortens the duration of your cold but may not necessarily prevent it. Regardless, Vitamin C fights free radicals which is linked to aging and cell strength. Take 1,000mg per day, up to 5,000 mg per day. More than that may upset your stomach.
5. TAKE ZINC. Zinc fights the rhinovirus and prevents it from lodging in your mucus membrane and multiplying there. Studies have shown that lozenges made from zinc acetate or zinc gluconate are most effective. Take 13 mg of zinc every 3-4 hours at the onset of your cold symptoms.
6. SKIP SUGAR. Sugar is an inflammatory food and lowers your immunity within hours of eating it. It lowers your defenses and makes the likelihood of you picking up the flu virus much greater. It also increases the bad bacteria in your gut, which further weakens your immunity.
7. SKIP BOOZE. Alcohol suppresses your body's ability to fight invaders for up to 24 hours of enjoying that glass of vino. Now's not the time for drinking games!
8. QUIT SMOKING. Does that really need explaining...?
The RX Pantry is stocked with some of my favorite go-to supplements to address various symptoms. Please note that you should consult with your healthcare provider about your unique needs as they relate to your current state of health, fitness and goals you want to achieve. By no means are my supplement recommendations meant to replace making lifestyle changes in nutrition and fitness, but are meant to ‘supplement’ what you do on a daily basis.