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What is the Best Diet for Flu Season?

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how to stay healthy in winter

As we enter the season of holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas) and move on to the New Year, a main concern on people’s mind is getting healthy. This usually involves many resolutions to exercise more and eat better, and this isn’t just for weight loss. This time of year is also prime flu season, and taking proactive steps to optimize the family’s diet can improve your chances of fighting off cold and flu viruses quickly.

Luckily, there are some simple suggestions that can help bolster the body’s defenses against untimely invaders. Most of these are safe for kids as well, and just generally good practice.

Immune-Boosting Diet for Cold & Flu Season

The old adage “you are what you eat” has never been more true. As the percentage of the population that is medically classified as overweight or obese rises steadily, it is no surprise that rates of cancer, disease, and other medical issues are rising as well.

For optimal health, I recommend a diet of high-quality proteins, abundant sources of beneficial fats, and adequate amounts of organic or locally grown vegetables, if available. You can also add certain supplements and herbs that can help support the body in fighting illness.

Proteins

One of the disadvantages of the low-fat diet that has been promoted by the medical community for so long is the lower intake of protein that often accompanies it. Proteins are necessary for virtually every function the body performs.

Additionally, a low-fat diet is often a high carb diet, as foods like whole grains and starchy vegetables are considered “healthy” low-fat foods. This high carbohydrate diet can contribute to insulin resistance, obesity and eventually diabetes if continued over long periods of time.

As proteins are vital for every function of the body, they also perform an important role in immune function and weight maintenance. Antibodies are specialized proteins that help defend the body from illness and bacteria. Proteins are necessary for cell division which is vital in healing and growth, and proteins in the form of hormones and enzymes regulate chemical reactions in the body.

The adult body needs one gram of usable protein for every 2.2 pounds of body weight. This means that a 180-pound man would need around 80 grams of protein a day and a 145-pound woman would need about 65 grams a day.

I give a full list here, but good sources of healthy protein include the following:

  • organic grass-fed beef
  • free-range chicken
  • organic raw dairy (if tolerated)
  • real-food protein powder
  • pastured eggs
  • homemade bone broth and soups

Bone broth and soups made with bone broth are also a great way to bolster the immune system, which is why chicken soup is often associated with recovery from illness. Even if making soup from scratch isn’t in the cards, there are companies that make broth the real-food way and have quality ingredients.

Fats

This may sound foreign to you if you have followed a low-fat diet in the past, but more and more studies are proving that eating fat does not make you fat. In fact, recent research is showing that adequate fat intake is vital to weight loss. Fats provide concentrated energy and are important building blocks in hormones. Fats carry the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

As Dr. Mercola explains here , studies show that fats, including the much feared saturated fats, contribute to immune strength, bone strength, and can protect the liver. For optimal immune function, it is important to get adequate fats from healthy sources. A good rule of thumb to follow is to eat only fats that are minimally processed and from healthy animals or plants. These will be saturated and monounsaturated fats.

Some of the best sources of healthy fats include the following:

  • olive oil
  • coconut oil
  • avocados
  • nuts/seeds
  • krill oil
  • raw dairy
  • pastured eggs

Avoid vegetable oils which are polyunsaturated fats, hydrogenated fats, and trans fats. These fats are dangerous to the body.

Vegetables

I don’t think I will have to do much to convince you that vegetables are healthy and important for optimal health and weight loss! The important thing is to get organic or locally grown vegetables whenever possible as organic varieties can contain up to three times the nutrients of conventional vegetables.

For weight loss and immune function, it is important to avoid eating too many starchy vegetables like potatoes and winter squash and to focus on:

  • greens (spinach, lettuce, kale, mustard greens, etc)
  • peppers
  • tomatoes
  • hot peppers
  • garlic
  • onions
  • celery
  • asparagus
  • cabbages
  • broccoli
  • mushrooms (technically a fungus)
  • green beans
  • snow peas

I get my vegetables in by drinking veggie smoothies and eating a salad or two green vegetables at every meal. The Wahls Protocol is another super-smart and simple way to pack more vegetables in the diet.

Avoid Sugar (and Other Empty Carbs)

I have talked about the health risks of sugar in the past and why I generally avoid it. Sugar is naturally present in many foods (like fruit) but on its own it contains:

  • no nutrients
  • no protein
  • no healthy fats
  • no enzymes

Digesting sugar actually pulls minerals from the body so you could even think of sugar as an anti-nutrient. Sugar intake is linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, insulin issues, and cholesterol issues among other health problems.

But it is especially important to avoid sugar when you’re sick or trying to avoid catching an illness. A 1973 study found that eating sugar (but not other forms of carbohydrates) plays a role in suppressing the immune system.

White flour and other processed grains can have the same health issues that sugar does, like spiking blood sugar. Stay away from all “white” foods when you’re fighting a bug or trying to avoid catching it.

Cold & Flu-Fighting Supplements

When you’re fighting an illness, especially if you’re not able to eat much, supplements can help support the body’s natural defenses. Here are some of my favorite supplements when someone in my family catches a cold or flu.

Saline Nasal Rinse

A saline rinse is a great way to help decongest the nose without resorting to pharmaceuticals. It’s so gentle that you can use it on kids and infants too. I make my own with Himalayan salt and warm water, but I’ve also used this one for convenience sake.

Xylitol Nasal Rinse

While saline nasal rinse can be effective for some cases of congestion, xylitol may be better. A 2011 study found that xylitol mixed with water is more helpful in treating congestion than saline solution. Xylitol nasal spray can be used in the same ways saline spray can.

Vitamin C

Perhaps the most well-known vitamin for cold and flu, vitamin C is helpful for boosting the immune system. My family uses a real food form of vitamin C made from camu camu and acerola cherry. Read more about the benefits of vitamin C here.

Zinc

Healthy levels of zinc in the body can help make a cold or flu virus less severe and shorter lived. In fact, one sign of zinc deficiency is recurring minor illness (like colds and flus). There is some debate about whether zinc supplementation is beneficial in all cases, so I opt for a low-dose zinc lozenge when we are really trying to boost immune systems.

Soup Detox

I recommend doing a soup detox twice a year to eliminate built-up toxins and other things that make the body less than healthy. Doing a cleanse like this helps reset the body so it’s at optimal performance (and the recipes are easy and actually delicious too!). We’ve even done this soup detox as a family. I just serve extra protein and carbs for the kids on the side at each meal.

Bee Propolis

Bee propolis is the glue that holds the hive together and protects it from invaders of all kinds. Bee propolis is antibacterial and antimicrobial, making it a great remedy for sore throats and other cold symptoms. It’s also anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and cancer-fighting. My favorite way to get it is in this honey or this propolis throat spray (great for preventing or soothing sore throats!).

Vitamin D

Another thing that helps weight loss and flu prevention is to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D. More and more research is showing the importance of vitamin D in maintaining weight, preventing disease, and for optimal mental health.

The best source of vitamin D is that which is naturally produced by your body when exposed to sunlight in moderation, though this can be difficult in winter months. If you are unable to get 30 minutes of sunlight a day, supplementation may be necessary. If you choose to supplement, opt for vitamin D3, a more assimilable and healthy version than other forms.

Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it can be dangerous if taken in excess. Consider having your vitamin D levels checked by a doctor before beginning any supplementation, though vitamin D obtained from sunlight is considered safe.

Herbal Teas

Herbal teas are a great way to stay hydrated during an illness, but they have medicinal purposes too. Many common herbs are helpful in treating mild illnesses like colds and flus.

Here are a few of my teas to boost the immune system:

  • Mint – Great for digestive issues (including morning sickness!)
  • Chamomile –  A soothing and relaxing herbal tea that’s rich in magnesium
  • Sage – This herb has antiseptic and astringent properties making it perfect for fighting infections like colds and flus
  • Nettle Leaf – This herb is highly nutritious, especially paired with red raspberry, and can offer nutrients when you’re not feeling like eating
  • Elderberry – We also make homemade elderberry syrup to help ward off illness

Best of all, many herbal teas are safe for kids and a great way to offer some extra comfort and vitamins when kids do come down with something.

Garlic

Science supports what so-called “old wives’ tales” have known for a long time: fresh garlic has potent antimicrobial and antiviral properties. I crush a few cloves and take it raw in a spoonful of honey, but I’ve had to get more creative to get some of my kids to take it. See this post for a full list of garlic benefits and creative ways to sneak garlic into the family diet.

The Body’s Best Defense: A Healthy Diet!

We can’t help what germs go around during the cold and flu season, but we can protect ourselves by taking care of our bodies. Real food supports the body’s natural defenses and can help you stay well (and recover more quickly when you do get sick!).

How do you keep from getting the flu? Share your tips below!

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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