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How to Avoid Getting the Flu

Evidently we are having an early and intense flu season. Not the kind of holiday gift anyone wants. So here are a few suggestions to help prevent getting ill:

SLEEP enough. Yes, there are parties, relatives, visiting, yummy holiday food, movies, end of the year to do lists. However, even healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night…and many folks need more that their usual amount in the dark time of the year. Do not skimp. If you feel tired, nap or go to sleep a little earlier. Check in with yourself: do I really want to do whatever it is that I’ve planned and said I’ll do. Taking care ahead of time: prevention is easier than curing, though not always as much fun as pushing ourselves…until we get sick!

In the Chinese medical system, winter is about nourishing our kidneys, as well as keeping them physically warm. Try eating a bit more of the following foods: cranberries, spinach, sesame seeds, sardines, broccoli, garbanzo beans, garlic, parsley, celery, and fish (especially Pacific salmon). Green tea, lemon water, shiitake mushrooms, ginger, and vinegar are very nourishing and helpful.

Drink enough water, and hold the ice. Now is the season for warm teas, bone broths, and soups.

Moderation: not too much protein, sugar (well, I am hardly going to say none, as even I eat the Christmas cookies my 84-year-old mom bakes), starches or fast food. Try substituting winter squash, pumpkin, yams, sweet potatoes, and purple potatoes for bread and sugary starches.  Go ahead and add a small amount of molasses, raw honey or maple syrup to your yams or baked apple and call it desert instead of ice cream or other cold sugary sweets.

Herbs that boost immunity: Astragalus, Suma, Rhodiola, Jiaogulan, Tulsi (Holy) basil, Brahmi (Bacopa), and most medicinal mushrooms. If you feel something coming on, or have been exposed to coughing and sneezing, take Echinacea, Elderberry and/or Olive leaf.

WASH your hands and keep them away from your face.

Laugh. Take time for yourself. Breathe deeply. Walk. And for some helpful tips on how to stay healthy if you are out in public places, check out this article from Rodale HERE.

Happy Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year! May this season be a healthy and happy one for you and all whom you love.