Preventing and Fighting the Flu

Creative Commons License photo credit: Iain Farrell

If you’re sick of getting sick with the flu or bad colds, I have some very good news. There are things you can do to prevent and fight the flu that are very effective. And some of them will likely be things you haven’t heard before.

Each person is different and as such you should only add supplements after checking with your doctor and WebMD to make sure it doesn’t interact with other medicines you take or conditions you have. These remedies are for adults. Check with your pediatrician for safely using any of these suggestions with children.

Preventing the Flu

I learned several of these tips from the Dr. Oz show on preventing and fighting the flu. So far this season I have been very healthy while taking them. I’ve linked to the exact ones that I currently take.  These five supplements are a power combo to help ward off illness:

Sickness Prevention Pack

NAC – Nac-Acetyl Cysteine

Take 600 mg / day. N-acetylcysteine is a powerful antioxidant that can help you prevent and/or get over flu symptoms. Take NAC supplement each day with or without food.


Astragalus is a ancient Chinese herb. It is used to help stimulate the immune system and ward off illness. Use 1 dropper of the extract in a cup of warm water or tea each day. If you have a cold or the flu, you can take astragalus three times a day. (tastes like sweet prune juice. I recommend just taking it directly on the tongue. It’s not bad at all.)

Vitamin D3 & Vitamin C

Taking vitamin D supplements may help prevent the flu. Take 1000 IU per day in summer and 2000 IU per day during the winter months when the sun is less strong. (People who get adequate vitamin D are also significantly less likely to get cancer. Your doctor can check your levels.) Vitamin C helps to repair and regenerate tissues, protect against heart disease, aid in the absorption of iron, prevent scurvy, and decrease total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides, protect against a variety of cancers by combating free radicals, and helping neutralize the effects of nitrates. Supplemental vitamin C may also lessen the duration and symptoms of a common cold; help delay or prevent cataracts; and support healthy immune function.


The yellow spice turmeric is a robust disease-fighting herb that is used by both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. It’s great to cook with. (Try it in chicken soup!) It works by increasing levels of a certain protein that help the immune system fight off bacteria and viruses. Turmeric also has manganese and potassium, which help support your immune system. If that wasn’t enough, turmeric also improves digestion and promotes heart health. Taking Turmeric in pill form makes it easy to incorporate this superfood daily.


This is a relatively new supplement. It is found naturally in marine organisms such as microalgae, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp, crayfish, and crustaceans. It is the organic pigment that gives these creatures their pink color. It was recommended by Dr. Mercola on the Dr. Oz show recently. Recommended daily amount: 8mg/day. Dr. Mercola said it is his #1 recommended supplement as it is tens and hundreds of times more powerful than other antioxidants! It has been shown to:

  • Reverse the signs of skin aging
  • Act as a powerful anti-inflammatory
  • Enhance energy and stamina
  • Support optimal joint and muscle function
  • Boost immune system strength
  • Protect the brain and eyes


Buckwheat Honey

Buckwheat honey is high in antioxidants and iron. This is a dark and flavorful honey. It has many immunity-boosting properties. Take 1-2 teaspoons a day during cold and flu season. Try it right off the spoon,  add it to a hot drink, or try my favorite: drizzled on plain Greek yogurt with some walnuts.

Remember to eat lots of MUSHROOMS  any chance you get. Mushrooms are so powerful. They literally keep germs from growing inside the body. They also contain selenium, a mineral that supports the immune system. And the bonus is they stop tumor growth too! Also try mushroom tea. My favorite is this Reishi tea that is mixed with green tea. It has the most delicious flavor. I also like to keep dried mushrooms on hand so I can cook them anytime I want and don’t have to worry about forgetting them in the fridge. (If you like mushrooms and haven’t tried chanterelles – you must try them! They are delightful!)

Other Flu Prevention Strategies

Get a Flu Shot. It’s not too late. Dr. Oz recommends it for anyone over 6 months old. That’s good enough for me. I’ve been doing it every year for the last 4 years and it really helps!

Get Adequate Rest. Get 7-8 hours of sleep or the amount that your body needs to not be tired. Being tired lowers the effectiveness of your immune system. Here’s what to do if you are tired.

Reduce Stress.

  • Change what you can – free your calendar of unnecessary commitments. Use that time instead for doing things that rejuvenate you.
  • Change your reaction to things you can’t change – try daily meditation to improve your reaction to stressful events. (also try a “meditation nap“)

Fighting the Flu

As I mentioned, I’ve been very healthy this season, I think due to the flu shot and also due to the preventive supplements I’ve been taking. However I’ve had an “almost” cold twice this season – slight headache and slight stuffiness but only at night. I boosted my regimen with these additional steps and so far, no full fledged colds. Here are the steps:

Neti Pot. I swear by this. It helps moisten  and clear out your nasal passages. Follow the easy instructions. I like this set because it comes with the salt packets premeasured.

Extra Vitamin C and D. Take an extra 1000 mg of Vitamin C. You can take extra D too.

Echinacea Tea. At the first sign of a cold, start drinking this tea, a few cups a day. Once you are better, stop taking the tea. It is meant to be a short term remedy.

Warm Soup. Like warm tea, this soothes your throat, heats up your body which helps fight off the germs and keeps your body from having to expend energy to keep warm.

Fever. This is one of your body’s natural defenses against germs. During the day, if you’re somewhat comfortable, it is ok to let a fever run for a little bit. You’ll be allowing your body to kill the germs faster. General rule of thumb is 102 F degrees or less. But listen to your body. If you feel horrible, check with your doctor and take something to reduce it. At night, it’s better to reduce the fever so you can sleep, than it is to let the fever run and not get good sleep.

Steaming Hot Shower or Bath. This will help add moisture back to your nasal passages which makes it easier for your body to defend against germs. It will also help you rest. This is also good as a preventative method.

Zinc Lozenges. These have shown in studies to reduce the duration of a cold. I have found this to be true for myself.

Influenza Resources

Dr. Oz Show on Preventing Flu

Dr. Oz on Astaxanthin

WebMD – to check information on supplements.

CDC – facts on the flu and how to prevent it.

Here’s to your health!

Please Share

Please share your favorite cold/flu remedy and prevention tips! How have your fared this season?

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