Having just returned to the office after a bout with a bug, immunity is on my mind. And since reading this New York Times article, I realize I'm not the only one worried about the flu showing up for brides just in time for their wedding day. For advice, I turned to Susan Blum, M.D., a functional medicine doctor based in Rye Brook, New York, and author of the upcoming book The Immune System Recovery Plan (April 2013). (You may have seen her recently on Dr. Oz.) Flu-season brides, listen up!
Build a strong foundation
If you have a solid immune system, you can greatly lower your risk of getting sick. This is by far the best prevention and protection. Remember, only about 10% of the illnesses you see around you are actually from the “flu” and so you also need to protect yourself from everything else.
Start with your gut
70% of your immune system lives in your intestinal lining, so health really begins in your stomach. Good bacteria are key players in regulating your gut and making sure it functions properly. Increase your levels of the good guys by eating an organic yogurt made with live active cultures and low sugar (under 15 grams) every day.
Get a grip on stress
It’s hard to put down the guest lists and crawl into bed, but sleep is one of your most important defenses against nasty bugs. Get your zzz’s and don't overwork yourself during flu season—stress harms your ability to fight viruses.
Beef up on healthy foods
Eat meals that are good for your immune system. This means avoiding processed foods and focusing on fruits and veggies that are rich in antioxidants and vitamins. Support the removal of toxins by eating lots of cruciferous veggies, which boost the detox system in your liver.
Enlist a little herbal help
Herbs like elderberry, echinacea, astragalus, and beta glucan (mushroom extracts) are all powerful immune boosters that stimulate your natural “killer cells”, which are the army of immune cells in your body that fight viruses. Immunoberry Liquid is a potent and convenient blend of all four—one dropper each day in your shake or in a little water is all you need for ongoing protection.
Exercise increases those natural killer cells. But don't overdo it, especially if you’re feeling rundown. This can stress your body and lower your immune protection by suppressing your immune cells.
The easiest way to contract a virus is to touch something that an infected person just put down. Make sure to wash your hands multiple times each day, especially before eating and after exposure in public transportation or communal spaces.
Here's to a well wedding day, with nary a chill or sniffle in sight!
Wedding Wellness is a new blog where we’re exploring the other side to wedding planning—health, nutrition, fitness, and how to stay calm and centered during what’s sure to be one of the busiest times of your life. Follow along!