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Support for flu and viral variants

The top news agencies around the world and the CDC are warning of a more dangerous flu season this year, and for many years to come.[1] [2] [3]

And, on top of that, we now have a new variant of that other virus that shall remain unnamed.

With all that impending doom and gloom, it’s a wise idea to use vitamins and minerals that have traditionally been used to support the body in preventing and lessening the duration and severity of the flu, and other respiratory conditions, including the notorious c-vid.

Of course, I always advise people to focus on eating real food first, and to use supplements as a supplement to an already healthy diet.

Below are my top vitamins and minerals for flu and “viral variant” season, and the foods where you can find them occurring naturally.

Vitamin C has long been touted as a savior for respiratory ailments. It’s water-soluble and is found in MANY fruits and veggies.

It’s a powerful antioxidant that strengthens the body’s immune system by protecting cells from free-radical damage.[4]

The body does NOT make vitamin C, so you need to get it from external sources like your food and/or supplementation.

If you choose to supplement with Vitamin C, below is a list of the negative reactions if you take too much:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Headache

The upper limit is 2000mg per day[5]. If you experience any of the above symptoms, reduce vitamin C supplementation.

Food sources of vitamin C include:

  • Fresh fruits and berries
  • Naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles and kimchi[6]
  • Fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, and thyme (thyme has the highest concentration of vitamin C out of all of the culinary herbs)[7]

Here is my favorite way to get a healthy dose of delicious Vitamin C and respiratory support during flu season (without any negative side effects).

Thyme Honey and Lemon Tea Recipe

The next top vitamin on my list, and I’m sure it’s on yours too, is Vitamin D.

It’s pretty clear, at least in the health and wellness circles, that low levels of vitamin D have been correlated with a higher risk of flu and respiratory infections.

And, modern medical science is hip to that as well.

An article in the National Institutes of Health stated, The Archives of Internal Medicine reported that 24% of the participants with the lowest levels of 25[OH]D in their serum (less than 10ng/mL) had recent upper respiratory tract infections. In contrast, only 17% of those with the highest levels in their serum (greater than 30ng/mL) had recent infections. Of those with serum levels in between, 20% reported recent upper respiratory tract infections. These associations held regardless of the season. Notably, the relationship between vitamin D and respiratory tract infections seemed to be even stronger in people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The important discovery of a possible association between vitamin D and respiratory tract infections provides a strong rationale for clinical trials to confirm this finding.”[8]

My recommendation is that you do NOT wait for the clinical trials to “confirm this finding” that ample levels of vitamin D are associated with a lower incidence of respiratory tract infections. Start upping your D now.

If you are looking for supplemental Vitamin D to boost your internal stores quickly, I highly recommend fermented Cod Liver oil. And, remember to take it with vitamin K-rich foods like grass-fed butter. Vitamin K works synergistically with A&D-rich foods to enhance uptake and absorption of minerals.[9]

Below are some healthy food sources of vitamin D:

  • Fatty fish (trout, salmon, black cod, mackerel)
  • Pastured eggs
  • Pastured and/or grass-fed butter

And, of course, here is one of my favorite vitamin-D-rich fatty fish recipes for you. OMG… it’s totally delish!

Miso Marinated Black Cod Recipe

Next on my list of essential nutrients for flu (and other viruses) season is Quercetin. This is a plant pigment (flavonoid) that gives many fruits, flowers, and veggies their rich color.

Some foods with high concentrations of naturally occurring Quercetin include:

  • Sage
  • Parsley
  • Leafy greens
  • Black and green tea
  • Grapes
  • Dark cherries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Bilberries
  • Elderberries

According to Mount Sinai research, “Flavonoids, such as quercetin, are antioxidants. They scavenge particles in the body known as free radicals which damage cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals. They may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage free radicals cause.”[10]

This is especially important after sickness as your body works on healing and repairing the damaged cells.

If you want to get a BIG dose of quercetin pick up an Elderberry Elixir or Elderberry oxymel and make this yummy cocktail that I prepared in my recent holiday cooking class.

As an added bonus, Elderberry is also rich in Vitamin C, so you get a double whammy of support.

Elderberry Spritzer Recipe

And, last but not least, the importance of getting enough Zinc cannot be understated.

Modern medical science understands this, but I have yet to see the role of zinc and immunity and how it inhibits viral replication, including C0vid and all of its many variants, on any mainstream news station.

A series of studies coming directly from the National Institutes of Health and National Library of Medicine, states:

“The results of reviewed studies have shown that zinc and some zinc-dependent proteins are involved in anti-viral defense and immune regulation in the respiratory tract. It seems that zinc can reduce the viral titer following influenza infection. Zinc may reduce RSV burden in the lungs. Zinc can be effective in reducing the duration of viral pneumonia symptoms. Zinc may enhance the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in reducing mortality rate in COVID-19 patients. In conclusion, zinc has anti-viral properties and is important in defending against respiratory viral infections and regulating the immune response in the respiratory tract.”[11]

So, get some darn zinc into your body for the sake of your health.

Below are good food sources of zinc:

  • Grass-fed beef and lamb
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Almonds and Cashews

Try this Lentil Stew with Crispy Kale recipe for a good dose of zinc. And, remember to soak the lentils otherwise the phytic acid will bind with zinc and inhibit absorption.

Remember to get a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals from your food first, and use supplements for additional support.

Wishing you many happy, healthy, delicious and, nutritious meals!

[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2021/09/17/flu-season-2021-might-be-worse-due-to-covid-when-to-get-flu-vaccine.html

[2] https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2021-10-14/is-a-really-bad-flu-season-on-the-way

[3] https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/08/health/influenza-season-doozy/index.html

[4] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-benefits#1.-May-reduce-your-risk-of-chronic-disease

[5] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/vitamin-c/faq-20058030

[6] https://bodyecology.com/articles/sauerkraut-is-a-superior-source-of-vitamin-c/

[7] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-foods#TOC_TITLE_HDR_9

[8] https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/low-vitamin-d-levels-associated-colds-flu

[9] https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/on-the-trail-of-the-elusive-x-factor-a-sixty-two-year-old-mystery-finally-solved/

[10] https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/quercetin

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8349606/