Cold & Flu Season Returns… Here’s how to support your system!
By Wellness Expert, Kyle Buchanan
And just like that, it’s fall once more! The leaves are changing colors, the air is getting crisp, and we’ll be curled up by the fire before we know it!
While many of us are still working from home, and life is not yet back to normal, families and friends have been reconnecting and gathering a little bit more than we did last year. And with that, the regular cold and flu season, which we essentially skipped over last year as a result of being in isolation, will also be around once again!
It’s important that we continue to support our immune system on a daily basis as we get into the regular ‘sniffle’ season. Below are some of my foundational tips to support your body’s spectacular immune system.
Here are some things you can do on a daily basis to keep your immune system in tip-top shape:
- Keep processed sugar to a minimum. Nutrition and the immune system are intrinsically linked. Feed your body the right stuff, you create a solid foundation; feed it the wrong stuff (processed sugar being a huge culprit), and you create a constant uphill battle. Sugar has the ability to depress the immune system and curb immune-system cells for hours after consumption So even though it may taste sweet, sugar can have a sour influence when it comes to immune health.
- Remember to take your Vitamin D. We’ve heard about this vitamin a lot over this past year, and for good reason – it’s a critical vitamin when it comes to supporting immunity. Being deficient in this crucial vitamin can make you more susceptible to infections 2, so remember to take it every day, especially as we get into fall and the sunny days are behind us!
- Include more fermented foods in the diet. These foods are rich in good bacteria that help nourish your microbiome – and a happy microbiome supports a happy immune system. Some of my favourites include sauerkraut (I aim for a forkful a day!), miso, yogurt and kombucha.
- Try to reduce your stress load. I know this is easier said than done, but chronic stress (as a result of a high-stress job or a consistently chaotic schedule for example) suppresses the immune system and puts a lot of wear and tear on the body. While you may not be able to quit your job or change your schedule, I encourage you to take a few moments to calm your body throughout the day. Breath work, meditation or spending time in nature are great ways to decompress.
And when you do get that ‘inkling’ that something is creeping in (we all know that feeling where we feel that something isn’t quite right and you may ask is it cold or flu?), and if you fear that either one of these is happening, think of relieving your symptoms with my go-to’s to add in some extra support:
- Have Oscillococcinum on hand. I’ve been using this remedy since I was a kid, and it continues to be the first thing I take whenever I feel the slightest hint of something coming on. Oscillococcimum is a homeopathic medicine from Boiron Laboratories used for the relief of flu-like symptoms (like body aches, headaches, fever and chills); it also helps reduce the duration of flu symptoms, and I continue to find it incredibly effective.
How I recommend taking it: at the onset of symptoms, dissolve the entire content of 1 tube does, and then repeat twice more at 6-hour intervals. Find it in pharmacies, natural stores or Boiron Canada website: Oscillococcinum | Boiron Canada
- Increase Vitamin C rich foods. Your body uses up more Vitamin C when it’s fighting an infection, so I always increase my vitamin C foods when I’m not feeling a hundred percent. Foods like raspberries (I always keep frozen raspberries on hand!), blueberries and bell peppers are some of my favourites to snack on for an added Vitamin C boost!
- Take time to properly rest. Sleep really is the great healer, and is essential for helping your body repair. So if you feel your body needs rest and you suspect a cold or flu is near – please honour that feeling! I like to think of this time as ‘plugging’ your body into its charging station so it operates at maximum efficiency. Especially when we’re not feeling our best, it’s vital to give sleep the priority it deserves.
Lastly, if you do get sick, when cough and cold are here, these are some of my favourite tips:
- Amongst Stodal sirups for the relief of dry or wet cough, if I’m dealing with a myriad of symptoms like nasal congestion, runny nose, dry or wet cough and/or sneezing – my go-to is Stodal Multi-Symptom from Boiron Laboratories. Like Oscillo, I’ve been using Stodal syrups to help soothe symptoms throughout my life, and I truly do swear by them. When actively dealing with those sorts of symptoms, I recommend taking 15 mL Stodal (using the pre-measured cup provided), 3 to 5 times a day! You also can find children Stodal Syrup for cough and cold symptoms or honey-based, from Boiron Laboratories in pharmacies, natural stores or Boiron Canada website: Cold & Cough | Boiron Canada
- Sip on some Ginger tea: Ginger is one of my favourites. Not only does it help soothe the tummy, its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help support and strengthen the immune system 3 This is my top beverage of choice to sip on through the day if you’re battling the cold or the flu.
- Include Zinc Rich foods – Zinc is interesting and helps in a myriad of ways during an infection, supporting the immune system but also keeping it in check, making sure it doesn’t spin out of control. You see, we want our immune system to do its job in helping us feel better, but at the same time, we want to keep the inflammatory process in check to prevent out-of-control inflammation that could cause damage. Zinc helps to control this balance! 4 Zinc-rich-foods like pumpkin seeds, almonds, and poultry are good options to have on hand to support the system.
As we head into a more regular cold and flu season, it’s important to remember that our immune system is always on guard protecting us and keeping us safe and healthy. It’s paramount in today’s world to support this valuable system and take the steps necessary to ensure it has all of the nourishment to do its job properly. You two make a great team!!
Kyle Buchanan is a registered nutritionist, speaker, actor, and the Resident Wellness Expert on Canada’s “The Morning Show.” He has a passion for spreading holistic health and wellness advice to as many as possible; from television audiences and conference attendees to online readers and video watchers. He also has his own private practice, working with clients worldwide on their journey to feeling their absolute best. For more information, check out his website Nutritionist & Wellness Expert | Kyle Buchanan or his Instagram page!
Note: this post was created as part of a limited liability partnership with Boiron Canada. This partner (Boiron Canada) has no purview over my post. All opinions expressed on this blog are my own, and are for informational purposes only.
Note: these homeopathic medicines may not be right for everyone. Always read and follow the label.