What to Drink to Protect You this Cold & Flu Season

We are halfway through one of the worst Flu seasons in history and the news takes every opportunity to remind us of how bad it is and how we should take precautions to protect ourselves for Cold & Flu season.  Being thirsty, we wondered what we can drink to help boost our immune systems and avoid getting sick.  So we went to some experts and here is what they suggest … and while below is a must read, the answers are not that surprising.  Find out what you can drink to arm yourself against the sickies and spoiler alert, these are all things you can easily get, so drink up!

Andrew Barker, PT & Nutrition Program Coordinator at Life Time San Antonio 281

A general recommendation I tell my clients at Life Time is drinking at least half your body weight in water each and every day. This may seem like a daunting task, but we have to remember our body runs off of water when processing nutrients, absorbing nutrients and even discarding things from the body as well. Along with this, water can also be beneficial in helping us fight diseases and ward off sickness, especially during cold and flu season. Being dehydrated can really place our bodies in a lower immune response, so make an effort to drink plenty of water.

As the flu and cold season moves along, here are several tips for hydration that we need to remember:

  • Yes, drink half your body weight in water each and every day.
  • Avoid sugary drinks at all costs (i.e. soda, high calorie coffee drinks, etc.).
  • If you need electrolytes, find a low sugar electrolytic replacement beverage or dilute the beverage with water to decrease the amount of sugar.
  • Don’t reuse plastic water bottles, get a fresh bottle every time or get reusable water bottle so you’re being green conscious as well.
  • Often times we are not drinking enough to start with, so start off slowly increasing your water intake. Don’t “drown” your body with a lot of extra water if your body isn’t used to it.
  • Find something soothing to drink as well, hot tea or a warm beverage of sorts.
  • Broths are also a great source of nutrients and a great way to get water in as well. Be sure you get a “low sodium” option, though.
  • Be consistent with drinking fluids.
  • Do note that part of the hydration process is flushing our bodies out on a regular basis, so don’t worry too much if you urinate more often.
  • Recognize signs of being thirsty before you get thirsty, including a dry/sticky mouth, dry eyes and blurry vision, headaches, lack of sweat, muscle cramps, dark urine, lack of sweat, etc.…And drink up as soon as you think you have one of these signs – your body will thank you in the long run!

Drinking water always seems like an easy concept, but most of the time we are unaware that we aren’t simply drinking enough. Remember our body utilizes water for so many processes and we are actually 70% water from our tissues to skin. Make the effort to keep healthy in this aspect!

Sophie Jaffe, Health & Wellness Expert and Founder of Philosophie

Cold and flu season is definitely here, so I always encourage everyone to create a “sadhana” (daily practice) to help ward off any bugs intent on taking up residence in your body. First order of business, cultivate good habits that promote a healthy immune system. This includes a heavy intake of fluids and foods high in antioxidants. Health starts from the inside and explodes outward. Second, learn to manage your stress and keep a positive outlook; your emotional state has as much to do with your physical health as do invading viruses and bacteria.

  • I highly recommend bone broth, green juice, mint tea and any herbal tea. Bone broth contains amino acids arginine (essential for immune system and liver function), glutamine (which helps with metabolism), and glycine (which aids in glutathione production and also quality of sleep). Herbal teas can help slow your body down so it has time to boost your immune system.
  • If I end up getting stuck with a cold I always reach for fresh squeezed OJ for the extra burst of Vitamin C. It helps my body feel replenished. Alkaline water can also do wonders for a body in need of healing because it strips the acidity found in tap water. Above all, I increase my intake of Philosophie Berry Bliss Superfood + Protein Blend because it contains camu camu which is one the world’s most abundant form of Vitamin C. Whip up an easy Berry Bliss smoothie or make some tea and stir in some Berry Bee Honey.

Dr. Nada Milosavljevic, MD & Certified Tea Specialist

Dr. “Milo” recommends stoking up on tea to strengthen/enhance our immune system during cold and flu season. Catechins, found in green tea, have antiviral properties. Research evaluating green tea catechins found that they exert multiple effects to reduce influenza infection.
Catechins and the amino acid theanine both appear to support immune function. While tea contains many healthy compounds, these two particular complexes found in tea bolster T-cell function to fight viruses (as well as autoimmune disorders). Current research focuses on one of tea’s catechins, EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). EGCG is a biologically active compound that shows many effects on numerous cellular systems. An animal study conducted in 2011 found that EGCG increased the production of regulatory T-cells in the spleen and lymph nodes. While the response was not as robust as some medications, EGCG also invites less concerns about side effects and toxicity.

Tea research also observes antibacterial properties. Bacteria are another immune system invader that can wreak havoc on our bodies, and cause infection and illness. In 2007, a study looked at the most common bacterial microbe linked to dental cavities, Streptococcus mutans, and whether polyphenols, present in tea, played a protective role in oral health. The results showed that polyphenols made for a less hospitable environment to the bacteria, and reduced its ability to adhere and grow.

 

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