Over the past few weeks, I have received quite a few questions about how to stay healthy and keep your immune system functioning well in the winter. I thought I would try to answer the most popular questions in one post.
What are some things I can do to stay healthy this winter?
While I cannot go through everything, here are some great things to start with:
Wash your hands frequently and properly.
Hand washing is one of the easiest ways to keep yourself healthy.
Here is the proper way to wash your hands (1) :
Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Do not rely on hand sanitizer.
While it may be better than nothing, it is not even close to being as effective as hand washing.
Do not use antibacterial soaps.
These have not been shown to be effective and can actually contribute to antibiotic resistance.
Get Enough Sleep!!!!
I cannot overstate the importance of this.
Sleep is an essential part of staying well and critically important to keep your immune system functioning properly.
According to Dr. Bruce Corser, medical director of the Sleep Management Institute, "Sleep loss increases an individual's vulnerability to infectious diseases, "Even a mild disruption in sleep can reduce the body's immune response and lower your natural resistance against illnesses such as the flu." (2)
Eat a healthy diet.
It should be a varied diet with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods.
As the old saying goes: “An apple day, keeps the doctor away.”
Avoid processed foods.
These are some of my favorite immune supporting foods (There are lots of other good foods as well):
Nice warm homemade chicken soup (aka Jewish Penicillin)
Raw garlic and onions
Raw pumpkin seeds that are grown in the USA.
Most pumpkin seeds, even organic ones, come from China.
They are a rich source of zinc.
They are a rich source of vitamin C.
Avoid grapefruit if you are on prescription medications, as it can interact with a lot of them.
They are rich in vitamin C and bioflavonoids.
Whole Pastured Eggs
They are rich in vitamin E.
They are rich in selenium
They are rich in Beta Carotene
Unrefined Cod liver oil
Rich in natural vitamins A and D, as well as omega-3.
It must be unrefined cod liver oil, not the heavily refined and flavored kind you get at stores.
Exercise is a natural cold and flu fighter.
Studies have shown that combined with a balanced diet and plenty of sleep, 30-45 minutes of aerobic exercise 4-5 times a week can actually decrease your risk of getting a cold by 20-30%. Regular exercise will boost your immune system and stabilize insulin levels leaving your body feeling strong and working hard to fight off the germs. (3)
Walking the dog is great exercise, if you don't have one, go adopt one!
Your body needs enough fluids in order to function properly.
When you are sick or have the flu you are more at risk for dehydration. So drink up.
Some good sources of fluids are:
You can add things to it like cucumbers, lemon slices, strawberries, mint, etc to give it a nice flavor and nutrition boost.
Avoid those that have sugar or flavoring added.
Coffee and tea contain caffeine, which can be dehydrating so they should not be counted as fluids.
Our bodies need to rest. We never stop going.
Take a break.
Take a deep breath.
Watch a funny movie.
Laugh with a friend.
Pet your cat.
Read a good book.
Walk the dog.
Take your kids to the park.
What type of face masks and respirators actually provide protection?
The FDA has cleared the following N95 respirators for use by the general public in public health medical emergencies (4):
3M™ Particulate Respirator 8670F
3M™ Particulate Respirator 8612F
Pasture Tm F550G Respirator
Pasture Tm A520G Respirator
You can buy these at stores such as Ace Hardware, Home Depot, and Lowes. Make sure to buy the correct model numbers from those brands.
I cannot stress enough that you should not buy these online from websites like Amazon, eBay, and other third-party sellers. There are so many counterfeit ones being sold on those websites.
It is very important that you wear a mask. Any type of mask will be helpful in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Remember you are doing it to help protect others, not just yourself.
Social distancing and mask-wearing are the two best ways to help prevent the spread.
Are there any supplements that can cure or treat the coronavirus?
This is the question that I have gotten the most.
Coronavirus is a newly discovered virus.
There is not much research at all on it.
Good research takes time.
Anyone claiming to have a treatment or cure for it is being extremely dishonest.
Please ignore anyone selling products or claiming to have treatment regimens that will cure it.
Do your part to stop the spread of misinformation and refuse to forward or send along articles or advertisements that claim to treat the coronavirus.
One popular group is passing around a document claiming that intravenous or high dose vitamin C will cure or treat the coronavirus, yet, they do not have one properly done clinical trial or study to support this - Just vague claims.
They should be ashamed of themselves.
What are your favorite supplements to help stay healthy in the winter?
While there are many supplements that are good for keeping you healthy these are my top five:
1. Unrefined Cod Liver Oil
This is not the heavily refined, flavored stuff you get at the store. Unrefined cod liver is not stripped of all of its wonderful nutrients such as natural vitamins A and D. Most cod liver oil processing strips these out and then add the synthetic ones back in, which is not at all the same thing. This is the old school, real deal stuff.
Much of your immune system resides in your gut. Keeping your gut microbiome in shape is one of the easiest things you can do to stay healthy.
3. Elderberry Syrup
Elderberry is a wonderful immune system tonic. It is rich in some pretty incredible compounds such as anthocyanidins.
The problem is that most elderberry syrups have more sugar than pancake syrup or contain glycerin made from palm oil, which is awful for the environment.
Having that much sugar kind of defeats the purpose.
Elderberry gummies are a joke. There is so little elderberry in them, they will not do anything for you. Just say no to gummy vitamins of all kinds.
It is important when taking any supplement that you take enough for it to actually do something. Taking a 10th or 20th of a needed dosage is just wasting money.
My favorite Elderberry syrup comes from a group of farmers in North Carolina. They produce wonderful elderberry syrups with no sugar or glycerin added.
Do you know where your elderberry syrup comes from? We do!!
3. Black Garlic
Black garlic may seem like black magic, but in fact, it is produced using a 4,000-year-old simple caramelization (not fermentation) process that takes place over one to two months which transforms raw garlic into a beautiful black bulb that has more than quadruple the antioxidant punch of regular garlic and is so deliciously sweet it’s often used in dishes by the world’s most renowned chefs.
The process requires the garlic to be aged in a humidity-controlled environment at high heat (from 140° to 170°) that does not allow microbial action to take place. This natural process happens through the enzymatic reaction that increases the antioxidant levels using zero additives or preservatives. The breakdown of the enzymes in the garlic renders it sweeter and less pungent than raw garlic.
It is quite an amazing product. Do not buy garlic products that claim to be odorless or garlic oil softgels. These have little to no benefit.
Unlike most black garlic supplements that are produced in China, ours comes from small a group of farmers in Texas:
Mesquite Field Farms
Buenno Tierra Farms
Homestead Heritage Farms
Talking Tree Farm
Lucky L Ranch
Do you know where your garlic supplement comes from? We do!!
5. Mushroom Extracts.
Mushroom extracts are some of the oldest and most amazing health supporting supplements.
The problem is that most mushroom supplements are either just ground up mycelium or come from China.
Our mushroom are made from 100% fruiting bodies and are wild-harvested in the woods of Maine, California, and Peru.
Do you know where your mushrooms come from? We do!!
I put together a package that contains all five of these amazing supplements. You can see it here:
I hope this blog has answered a lot of your questions.
If you have others feel free to email me at Josh@joshboughton.com.
Thanks so much for reading!
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, they are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
These statements are not intended to replace the advice of your healthcare practitioner.