We are in the thick of it, right now. The honeymoon period of winter has come and gone, and we are now at the point where we need a pep talk to get ourselves outside. Never mind convincing a little person that it’s fun to play in the snow, especially when it’s too deep for them to even walk in it. We’re mostly inside, sharing our coughs and sneezes, and I bet you can name a few people who’ve been hit by the flu already this year- even people who received the vaccinations.
I recently read an article that stated that having the flu is actually a symptom of vitamin D deficiency. While I don’t intend to jump into that debate today, I do recognize that the timing of our designated flu season corresponds with the time of year where we’re receiving the least amount of sunshine. The article continues to direct us to go tanning, or take supplements in order to optimize our vitamin D levels. Hm. Probably not going the tanning route, might consider the supplements… but of course I want to know- what about food sources? I continued reading…
There are very few vegetarian food choices where one can glean enough vitamin D to make a difference- (primarily shiitake) mushrooms, (gallons of) ricotta cheese. Eggs, and fortified milks and cereals are your best bet. Continue reading, and my understanding became more clear- as it is synthesized by the body through exposure to sunshine, it can really only be found in our cells and that of pastured, grass-fed animals (read: animals that are outside eating what they’re supposed to eat. Not CAFO raised animals eating GMO corn- that’s another blog.) Fermented cod liver oil is hands down, the #1 recommended form of vit D supplementation. (Yes, I’m shuddering. But I’m thinking about it.) It’s also readily available in fish and tuna (Pacific varieties- apparently the Atlantic has been depleted?) And organ meats- places in the body where the exchange of nutrients occurs are going to contain the highest levels of vitamins and nutrients because it’s stored in those cells as it continues to travel to the rest of the body.
So what do we conclude? As we do our best to arm ourselves against the flu, the colds, and whatever else our bodies are fighting against, we can begin by washing our hands. Hand washing is the single most effective habit we can instill in our families. Anytime you enter a new space, wash up, or at least use some sanitizer. Keep your hands away from your face- don’t bite hangnails, don’t rub your eyes. Stay hydrated to keep the mucous thin and flowing. Get enough sleep (still working on that!). Eat a wide variety of healthy food choices to give that immune system ammunition. And last, but certainly not the least- get the hell outside whenever you can. Stick your face in the sun and smile as it showers you with immune boosting vitamins- even when the wind blows.
Stay healthy- and don’t forget to feed our feathered friends while you’re outside- they’re hungry too!