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5 Natural Ways to Avoid the Flu

Are you looking for ways to avoid being struck down by the flu? Although complete immunity can't be guaranteed, we have put together some top tips that might just protect you from getting sick this flu season.

Incredibly, the flu pandemic of 1918Ė1919 killed more people than the First World War.

And today, between 9.2 million and 35.6 million cases of flu arise each year in the United States.

Flu is responsible for around 140,000Ė710,000 hospitalizations and 12,000Ė56,000 deaths annually.

It is a highly contagious respiratory illness that is caused by influenza types A and B viruses. Flu activity often begins in October in the U.S., peaks December through February, and sometimes lasts until as late as May.

Although flu and the common cold share many symptoms, they are vastly different.

For example, symptoms of cold arise gradually and are milder than those of flu, whereas symptoms of flu come on quickly, are intense, and may result in severe health problems such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, and hospitalizations.

Naturally prevent flu. Flu shot alternatives.

Yup. Itís that time of year againÖ

Your pharmacy or doctor has probably already tried to push the flu shot on you. Especially if youíre 65 or older.

It turns out flu shots were only 9 percent effective last year against the H3N2 virus in adults over 65 years of age. New studies even show seasonal flu shots may actually increase your risk of getting the flu.1

But there are steps you can take to naturally boost your immune system without the risk of becoming sickóor worse.

Here are the top 5 ways to naturally prevent catching the flu this season:

1. Vitamin C: Vitamin C doesnít just help prevent the flu. This powerful antioxidant makes symptoms go away quicker if youíve already caught the flu. One study shows that multiple 1,000 mg doses of vitamin C daily can reduce the appearance of flu and cold symptoms by 85 percent.2

Youíll find vitamin C in citrus fruits of course. But try foods like red bell pepper, broccoli, kale, and kiwi. All of these have more vitamin C per serving than an orange.3

But during flu season, you probably want some extra support. So we suggest you supplement. Make sure to look for fat-soluble versions of the vitamin, such as liposomal vitamin C.

2. Vitamin D3: Vitamin D3 is a major player in fighting the flu virus. One study shows that a low daily dose cuts flu risk by 42 percent.4 Just 1,200 IU of vitamin D3 per day is effective at preventing the flu. But less isnít always more.

A safe dose of vitamin D3 for most adults is 4,000 IU per day.5 Whole food sources include mushrooms, eggs, and wild-caught, cold-water fish.

3. Glutathione: We recently told you about glutathione because itís one of the most powerful antioxidants around. Itís an amino acid made naturally in the body. It clears free radicals and toxins from the body. Better yet, glutathione completely protects cells from the flu virus.6

You can help your body create more glutathione by supplementing with its precursor, l-cysteine. You can also increase your levels by eating grass-fed beef, avocados, and broccoli.

4. Licorice Root: This isnít the candy. The active ingredient in licorice root is glycyrrhizin (GR). Studies show GR protects you against infection by creating T cells. In one study, animals infected with high doses of influenza virus A2 were given either GR injections or nothing at all. The animals that didnít get the GR died within 11 days.7

Long-term use of GR can have some side effects, including an increase in blood pressure. For this reason, most licorice extracts donít contain GR.8

Try using licorice root to brew the occasional hot tea. It will boost your immune system and soothe a sore throat.

5. Elderberry Extract: Elderberries are packed with phenols that strengthen the immune system. The anthocyanin in elderberries helps to prevent inflammation as well. This may help you prevent flu infection this season.

But itís elderberry extract that really shines when it comes to reducing flu symptoms. One study shows taking 15 mL of elderberry extract four times a day stopped flu symptoms four days sooner than a placebo.9

Donít let the ďexpertsĒ bully you into getting a flu shot. Their low rates of success put your health at risk. Not to mention the side effects.

Fighting off the symptoms of the flu naturally is quicker, safer, and even cheaper than a flu shot.

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