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Natural Immune Boosting Tips & How to Avoid the Cold and Flu


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Learn WHY we tend to get sick in the winter months and natural, easy ways you can boost your immune system to avoid the common cold and flu. Functional nutritionist Kristin Thomas of Thrive by Food breaks down her favorite tips.

Published in: Health & Medicine
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Natural Immune Boosting Tips & How to Avoid the Cold and Flu

  1. 1. IMMUNE BOOSTING TIPS Feed your immune system and fend off the cold and flu this winter!
  2. 2. Who am I? Kristin Thomas - Founder, Thrive by Food I am a certified health coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P) specializing in digestive and autoimmune health. Inspired by my own health journey, I became certified at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition (FDN) to fulfill my life's purpose as a healer. Today, I help patients find their own path to digestive wellness using natural, practical and individualized diet, lifestyle, and supplementation techniques.
  3. 3. Agenda ➔ Why We get sick in the winter of all seasons ➔ How You can boost immune health even in the dead of winter ➔ Where To go to get immune-boosting superfoods
  4. 4. The average adult gets the common cold 2-4x/year 5-20% of the population will get the flu each year Sources 1. CDC 2. WebMD
  6. 6. 1. We spend more time indoors
  7. 7. Why this is bad for our immune system ● Lack of sunlight exposure ● Stale air ● Recirculating germs
  8. 8. What you can do ● Get outside - even if for 5 minutes - everyday ● Open the windows on “warmer” days ● Invest in an air purifier ● Use air purifying plants (aloe, snake plant) ● Keep the house cleaner than usual Tip Don’t let the winter slow you down -- get creative and you can find ways to support your immune system no matter the weather!
  9. 9. 2. Sedentary Lifestyle
  10. 10. Why this is bad for our immune system ● Slows down lymphatic system ● Reduces detoxification ● Reduces energy capacity ● Weak body = weak immune system
  11. 11. What you can do ● Move every day, even if at home (jumping jacks, rebounder, push ups, squats, running up the stairs, “quick feet”, etc.) ● Invest in a gym membership ● Commit to a regular workout schedule (e.g. 7am 4x/week for 40 minutes) ● Set an alarm on your phone to get up and move every 30 minutesTip Just because you can’t run or get active outdoors doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do indoors!
  12. 12. 3. The holidays
  13. 13. Why this is bad for our immune system ● Travel ● Stress ● Desserts and indulgences ● Less leafy greens and antioxidant-rich foods
  14. 14. What you can do ● ● ● ● ● Tip Enjoy the holidays, but aim to strike a balance to keep your body healthy.
  15. 15. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
  16. 16. 6 Ways You Can Boost Your Immune System Year-Round ➔ Eat a clean diet ➔ Optimize digestive health ➔ Get enough sleep ➔ Stay hydrated ➔ Vitamin D ➔ Echinacea
  17. 17. 1. Eat a Clean Diet ● The food you eat either helps your body defend itself or adds fuel to the fire ● Processed and fast foods high in sugar and unhealthy fats are lack nutrients to feed your cells and keep the immune system strong ● Focus on eating whole and organic foods (fruits, vegetables, complex carbs, pasture-raised meat and wild caught fish)
  18. 18. ● Strawberries ○ High in the flavonoid fisetin, which help protect T-regulatory cells from damage ● Sweet potatoes ○ High amounts of Vitamin A, which regenerates cells, boosts neutrophils, macrophages and natural killer cells ● Lentils ○ High amount of folate, which helps make and repair DNA, positive effect on immunity ● Parsley ○ Rich in the flavonoid apigenin, which is detoxifying and anti-inflammatory ● Leafy greens ○ Rich in a broad range of nutrients and minerals ● Pasture-raised, grass-fed meat ○ Purest source of protein, a building block of the body Clean Food Options
  19. 19. ● Eating foods that are in season guarantees freshness and helps your body adapt to the changing climate ● Buying direct farms near you is an easy and fantastic way to do this! Eat Seasonally
  20. 20. 2. Optimize Digestive Health ● Good gut health is the foundation of overall health ● 70% of the immune system is located in the digestive tract - to fend off invaders, you need a healthy gut ● Feed and populate good bacteria with: ○ A high quality probiotic ○ Probiotic-rich foods -- sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir ○ Drink bone broth for collagen and gelatin, seal gut lining ○ Reduced stress
  21. 21. 3. Get Enough Sleep ● 30% of our population has insomnia (source) ● Just ONE night without proper rest quadruples your risk of catching a cold (source) ● When you sleep, body repairs, detoxes and rejuvenates ● 8 hours/night; get to bed by 10pm ● If sleep isn’t easy for you, work with your healthcare professional to optimize ● Establish a nighttime routine to wind down
  22. 22. 4. Stay Hydrated ● Flushes out toxins, keeps cells hydrated and strong ● Drink 72 oz of water/day ● Keep a water bottle with you at all times ● Set alert on your phone
  23. 23. 5. Ensure Adequate Vitamin D Levels: ● The majority of the US population is suffering from chronic, low levels of Vitamin D because we don’t get enough exposure to the sun. ● Research shows that low vitamin D levels are linked to higher rates of cold, flu and respiratory infections (source) ● Vitamin D is produced in the body by sunlight ● Regulates the expression of over 2,000 genes, including those of the immune system
  24. 24. 5. Ensure Adequate Vitamin D Levels ● Many physicians believe that current recommended daily amounts of vitamin D are far too low, and that 2,000* rather than 200-400 units per day is better ● If you’re already not feeling well, take 2,000* units of Vitamin D3 per kilogram of body weight once a day for three days ● You can also order home testing kits to test your vitamin D levels ● *Check with your doctor what dosage is right for you
  25. 25. 6. Boost Immunity with Echinacea ● Echinacea acts as an anti-inflammatory, which can help reduce bronchial symptoms of cold and flu and fight off infections ● Best to take it at the first sign of illness. ○ 1,000 mg* of Echinacea root tincture 2-3x/daily ○ Five to six cups of echinacea tea on the first day of symptoms, and then 1 cup a day thereafter ● An extract of echinacea was tested in a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial in 2013. Researchers found that the echinacea effectively treated respiratory tract infections in the short- and long-term, and didn’t cause the same resistance as a popular flu medication, oseltamivir, often causes (Source: NCBI) ● *Check with your doctor what dosage is right for you
  26. 26. What to do when you get sick...
  27. 27. Cold & Flu Busting Remedies ● Increase your Vitamin C intake ○ Take 1,000* milligrams of vitamin C daily to ward off a cold or the flu and up to 4,000* milligrams daily if you come down with a cold or the flu ○ Eat whole fruits and vegetables - especially those that are in season ○ *Check with your doctor what dosage is right for you ● Drink Hot Liquids ○ Mix hot water with lemon, honey, and cinnamon. Honey and cinnamon help prevent mucus buildup and keeps you hydrated. Lemon detoxifies. ○ Make a ginger tea and add raw honey for antibacterial benefits
  28. 28. Cold & Flu Busting Remedies ● Increase Probiotic Intake ○ Your gut is the largest part of your immune system ○ Support it to stop a cold in its tracks ○ Recommended to double up on your probiotic and load up on gut-friendly fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut
  29. 29. Cold & Flu Busting Remedies ● Oregano oil ○ Oregano oil = potent natural antibiotic and antiviral ○ Diffuse as needed during illness or dab a tiny amount (diluted 1 part oregano to 4 parts carrier oil) on the feet ● Apple cider vinegar gargle and drink ○ Mix 1 tablespoon of raw ACV in water, gargle at the first sign of illness and repeat hourly until symptoms disappear ○ Alkalizes the body and helps kill viruses and bacteria
  30. 30. Cold & Flu Busting Remedies ● Remove white foods ○ At the first sign of illness, completely remove all white foods from the diet: ■ Grains ■ Sugars & sweeteners ■ Milk ■ Cheese & dairy ■ Soda ○ Often highly processed, these foods suppress immune function and slow the body’s healing ability ○ Instead, eat homemade chicken soup or broth or drink hot liquids to keep strength up
  31. 31. Load up on Immune-Boosting Foods ● Garlic (antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal) ● Ginger (warming food, it can prevent a cold from coming on in the first place) ● Blueberries (a huge antioxidant) ● Red bell peppers (ounce for ounce, these peppers have twice as much vitamin C as any other source!) ● Broccoli (not only has vitamin C, but A and E plus antioxidants, vitamins and minerals) ● Probiotic-rich foods (organic yogurt, fermented veggies, kefir) ● Honey (reduces mucus secretions and coughs) ● Citrus fruits (grapefruit, oranges, lemons)
  32. 32. Immune-Boosting Smoothie ● 1 ½ cups almond or coconut milk ● 1 cup organic kale ● ½ cup fresh parsley ● ½ red pepper ● 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger root ● 1 teaspoon raw honey ● 1 scoop maca powder (optional, but gives an extra immune boost!)
  33. 33. “Flu Shot” Drink Drink preventatively ½ cup 1x/day and if you do come down with a cold or flu, 2-3x/day. ● 1 minced garlic clove ● ¼ tsp turmeric powder ● ½ tsp ginger powder ● ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper ● 1 ½ cups organic pineapple juice ● 1 tbsp raw honey Blend together and store in a sealable jar. Drink ½ cup a day during flu season or if you’re already getting sick, have it up to 3 times a day.
  34. 34. Thank You! Instagram: @Thrive by Food Website: Email: