Last week I posted about the very  important things to avoid in your environment and lifestyle if you want to keep yourself and your family from getting sick this winter. But I left one important “don’t” off the list that I’ll address quickly before getting into the 8 most powerful things you can do to strengthen your immune system.

The one thing I left off the list last week was: Don’t get the flu shot!  I know that saying this will subject me to some controversy, as this is a heavily debated topic. So before I go into detail, let me first say that I respect anyone’s educated decision to get the flu shot. The right answer is the one you make after educating yourself on all aspects of the matter. The conclusion I have personally drawn is that it does more harm than good, and everyone I know who has taken the time to understand the facts now forego the shot. Why?

  • It’s a Crap-Shoot At Best. In theory, the flu shot doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. “The flu” is constantly and rapidly mutating. Every season, it morphs into a new bug that is unrecognizable by the body, which is why we’re able to get the flu more than once in our life. Flu vaccines are developed to protect against last year’s flu strain, along with 5 or 6 more strains that the CDC guesses will be going around this year. But there are hundreds of strains that could become prevalent, so chances are pretty slim that you’re being vaccinated for the right flu. In their own words, the CDC admits it’s a crap-shoot: “It is not possible in advance of the influenza season to predict how well the vaccine and circulating strains will be matched, and how that match may affect the degree of vaccine effectiveness.”
  • Even If It Does Work, the Harm Outweighs the Benefit. Most flu vaccines still contain over 250 times the safe limit of mercury declared by the Environmental Protection Agency. Children and fetuses are most susceptible to damage from neurotoxins like mercury, because their brains are still developing, yet pregnant women and small children are pressured to get the vaccine every year. Even if your particular shot doesn’t contain mercury, there’s an almost certain chance it contains:
    ~Known carcinogen (cancer-causer) formaldehyde
    ~Aluminum (linked to Alzheimer’s)
    ~Ethylene glycol (check the back of your antifreeze bottle)
    ~Detergents and antibiotics
  • Does the Flu Shot Cause the Flu? Although there are some exceptions, it seems that everyone I know who receives the flu shot ends up getting the flu at least once that season, and many who don’t get the shot enjoy the winter season flu-free. However, I do not believe that the flu shot causes the flu. But it absolutely decreases immune system function, leaving you vulnerable to any bugs that you may have already been introduced to. Just yesterday I saw 2 friends on Facebook mention that they were sicker than a dog, and that they hoped it wasn’t because of the flu shot they had just received the day or two before. 

If you already got the flu shot, please don’t fret

What’s done is done. Stress and worry will damage your immune system almost as quickly as getting the flu shot. We’re all learning together, and it’s important that you be patient with yourself and your current level of education. THE GREAT NEWS is that what I’m about to share with you will not only do a better job of preventing the flu than the flu shot, but it will also help you immediately repair the immune system damage done by the shot. Please share this article with anyone you know who receive the flu shot by choice, or by requirement (hospital employees, etc.), as it will help ensure they stay healthy this year.

The 8 Most Powerful Things You Can Do to Ward Off the Flu (and any other illness)

1. Get excellent nutrition

Every nutrient affects the immune system. Get as many servings of fruits and vegetables as possible. Make sure you’re also getting healthy fats from nuts, seeds and oils, and incorporate beans and unprocessed whole grains every day. Meat portions should be kept to 3-4 oz. of lean, preferably organic servings.

2. Exercise

Exercise raises your body temperature slightly and multiplies your white blood cells, among causing other changes that fortify your immune system to battle unwelcome bugs.

3. Relax

Some stress is good. It keeps us on our toes and performing at peak. But when we allow stress to overcome us, it can be incredibly harmful to the immune system. You know when it’s time to clear your plate and relax. Make it happen. As a result, there will be more of you to give to your family, your job, and your community.

4. Get a Humidifier

If your home has less than 30-40% humidity, a humidifier will help your family’s immune system greatly. Turning down the heat just a couple of degrees can help too, as heat dries out the air you breathe.

5. Wash Your Hands

Using NON-antibacterial soap, vigorously wash your hands in warm water for 30 seconds. Teach your kids to sing the ABCs or the Happy Birthday song twice while they scrub, to ensure they wash long enough. Teach them to cough into their elbow instead of their hands, and to use tissues whenever possible. Disinfect surfaces that are touched most frequently: doorknobs, light switches, faucets, toys, phones and handheld electronics. Use non-antibacterial disinfectants such as lemon or oregano essential oils diluted in a spray-bottle of water.

6. Get plenty of Vitamin D 

There’s no way to know how much Vitamin D you need without a blood test, but most of us are D deficient. Adults over age 18 can start with 5,000 units of D3 per day, but I suggest you get a blood test if you feel you need even more than this, as many people need 20,000 units or more per day in order to replenish the deficiency. Your blood level of 25 OH D should be 60ng/ml. Your health care provider can recommend an appropriate dosage. When your D3 levels are high enough, your immune system will be very strong, and depression will be lightened notably. I don’t recommend giving vitamin D supplements to children, as they aren’t as deficient as adults, and too much D can be harmful. Daily green smoothies and as much sunshine as possible will keep them strong.

7. Sleep 

You know the drill. At least 7 hours, every night. I know. I get it! It’s difficult to do nowadays, when we have so much going on. But sleep is just as critical to your health as anything else on this list. If you have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, please don’t ask your doctor prescription sleep aids such as Ambien or Lunesta. There are some fantastic herbal sleep supplements that will reset your circadian rhythm within a couple of weeks, and you will soon be able to sleep through the night on your own. I recommend Deep-Z if you suffer from sleeplessness.

8. Probiotics

You can’t get too many probiotics. They naturally occur in sprouted and fermented foods such as any sprouted grain, nut or seed, greek yogurt, kefir, etc. You and your kids can also take probiotic supplements. Look for one with at least 5 different strains, and at least a couple billion organisms per serving. I talk about probiotics in detail, including how your immune system is located in your intestines here: What Are Probiotics, and Do You Have More Than One Brain?

Part 1 of this immune system series is here: Avoid These Immune System Killers

I would love to hear from you on this topic. Have you ever experienced a winter where your family seemed to be sick every other week? Have you implemented these things and then had an illness-free winter?