This time of year, local pharmacies and grocery stores are chock-full of prescription antibiotics, medicinal remedies, and other cures for wintertime colds and flus. In a pinch, and once illness has set in, these options can provide a great deal of relief. But there’s much more that can be done way in advance of taking medications and seeing the doctor to prevent sickness.
Fun fact: our greatest line of immune defense rests inside us!
That's why it’s so important to focus on prevention and creating wellness from within. What we put into our bodies not only provides the energy we need to go about our busy day-to-day lives, it also impacts the natural flora in our gut that provides an incredible amount of protection against all the nasty bacteria and viruses we’re regularly exposed to.
Did you know that more than 70% of your immunity resides in your gut?! Establishing internal wellness through digestive health and an anti-inflammatory diet helps support a strong immune system, but they cannot do this alone. Both internal and external toxins work synergistically to overcome our wellness. Not only do we need to create the healthiest internal systems, it’s also critical that we reduce our exposure to the environmental toxins around us, which chronically work to break down our bodies.
Diet detoxification is the best place to begin an internal wellness intervention. Eliminating non-organic, GMO, and highly processed foods and drinks is essential, since these often contain artificial additives and toxic pesticides that interfere with normal immune functioning. Over time, bodies can become overwhelmed with toxins, having to work twice as hard to combat the effects and leaving little time for the immune system to fight exposure to bacteria and viruses.
In addition to avoiding harmful ingredients, a great way to supplement the body’s beneficial gut flora is with quality probiotics, which assist in maintaining a steady pH and digestive health. Drinking plenty of clean water and natural teas, such as Birds & Bees Family Immunity Tea, also promotes natural elimination of toxins.
Additionally, eating anti-inflammatory foods like nuts and dark leafy greens helps to regulate the body’s inflammatory response. Inflammation is our system’s normal response to cellular level injury and without it we cannot overcome illness. However, when inflammation is persistent, even at low-grade levels, it can actually do severe damage and lead to chronic disease.
What you allow on and around yourself is equally important as what you put into yourself! We’re talking about things like petroleum-based candles with synthetic fragrance, which release toxins into the air you breathe. Also, the everyday household cleaning products, which kill germs but coat our counters in toxic chemicals.
The first step you can take is ridding your home of unsafe cleaning products, with ingredients that are inhaled or absorbed through the skin and into our bloodstream, or ingested accidentally via food placed on countertops, etc. Triclosan, a ubiquitous antibacterial ingredient, is a great example of a harmful chemical our cleaning products (and our immune systems) can do without.
When ingested or inhaled during use, triclosan can lead to liver toxicity and thyroid disruption. Plus, it travels into our water systems and the environment, damaging ecosystems and aquatic life.
The term “superbug” is generally used to describe antibiotic resistance from overexposure to certain antibiotics, and a virus’ ability to adapt and mutate to avoid being killed. However, antibacterial ingredients, bleaches, and other cleaning product additives could potentially be causing the same risks.
Germs change over time in order to avoid elimination by antibiotics or sterilization ingredients. So, if we know that traditional cleaning products aren’t effectively eliminating germs and they’re also toxic to our health…what’s the use?
Luckily, 100% natural cleaning products do not pose the same threat of causing superbugs or compromising our immune systems. We recommend Haven’s All-Purpose Cleaner as the perfect substitute for most common all-in-one household cleaners.
Whether you’re able to take the large leap or simply inchworm toward creating all-around health, your body will thank you. Each step that eliminates external toxic threats and develops wellness from within aids in a naturally stronger, more able immune system. We wish you the best of health this and every cold and flu season.
This post is based on the included links and following sources:
- “Hospitals see surge of superbug-fighting products” by Associated Press on www.usatoday.com, April 29, 2013.
- “14 Inflammation-Fighting Foods” by Amanda MacMillan on www.health.com in 2013.
- “Improve Your Immune System With Food” by Women’s Health Magazine on www.womenshealthmag.com, November 16, 2005.