Monday, June 17, 2024

Swine flu prevention the natural way

August 14, 2009 by Ange  

While the debate over the effectiveness (or not) of Tamiflu and Flu vaccinations continues, a simple fact seems to be ignored; our immune systems are designed to defend and protect us from the flu virus. Flu protection advice concentrates on good hygiene, which is important, but what about boosting our natural immunity? Many factors can cause our immune system to become run down and with the number of Swine flu cases expected to rise again when the schools go back in September, now is the time to make a few simple dietary and lifestyle changes to restore balance and protect you and your family:

  1. Cut down on sugar. Just 100g of sugar will decrease the ability of white blood cells to destroy invading pathogens for up to 5 hours[1]. 100g of sugar is the equivalent of just 2 cans of fizzy drink or 3 small glasses of a fruit juice drink. So sweet drinks really don’t help if you are feeling a bit run down.
  2. Increase intake of fresh vegetables, beans and pulses. These are typically low in most diets yet are rich in important vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients necessary for optimal functioning of the immune system. Eating the rainbow is a simple principle to follow as the colours of vegetables correspond to their phytonutrients content. (check out my earlier post for some juice & smoothie ideas)
  3. Reduce stress levels is something that is easy to write but much harder to do, but there is no doubt that reducing stress will help immunity. Stress reduces something called secretary IgA, an immunoglobulin that neutralizes viruses (and other pathogens) in the mucosal of the gastrointestinal tract[2].
  4. Make time for sleep. It’s time for the body to rest and renew, so if you miss out on sleep, your natural defences may suffer.

I evaluate immune function in clients, via signs and symptoms and some simple tests and find low immune function to be quite common. The swine flu virus appears to reach deeper into the lung tissue and perhaps gastrointestinal tract than other influenza virus[3]. We have a pretty effective mucosal barrier in these areas of the body, in fact 70% of our immune function is found in the gut, but our typical lifestyles can make the barrier function vulnerable and in need of extra support.

If you would like to find out more, I’m running a workshop in September about how to boost the immune system through nutrition. We’ll be talking about specific foods that help, offering simple tests on immune status and introducing some relevant supplements. Please come along and pass the word around. Its on Sunday 13th September, 1.30pm to 3.30pm at Urban Bliss, 333 Portobello Road, £14 per person (£10 concessions), call Urban Bliss on 020 8969 3331 to book, or contact me if you want more details.

[1] Sanchez et al (1973) Role of Sugar in human neutrophilic phagocytosis. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 22:1180-1184.

[2] Yan et al (2002) Multiple Functions of Immunoglobulin A in Mucosal Defence against Viruses: an In Vitro Measles Virus Model. Journal of Virology 76(21):10972-10979

[3] Maines et al (2009) Transmission and Pathogenesis of Swine-Origin 2009 A(H1N1) Influenza Viruses in Ferrets and Mice. Science 325:484-486.


3 Responses to “Swine flu prevention the natural way”
  1. Toni Hunter says:

    A great post, thank you.
    Coincidentally I have written something similar on my blog.

  2. MORPH says:

    Just a brief hello there and to say thanks for discussing your thoughts in this post. I somehow came across your site while researching health and fitness related stuff in Bing… guess I got kinda distracted! Nevertheless I’ll be back again in the future to look at your posts down the road. All the best!

  3. health tips says:

    You got a really useful blog I have been here reading for about an hour. I am a newbie and your success is very much an inspiration for me.

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