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Preventing the flu: Au naturale


The winter season brings about holiday cheer and happiness for the New Year ahead. It also brings about fear of a three letter word that sends people out in droves for injections and cures.


It's the flu and although traditional western medicine calls for the regular flu shot, and in 2009 the addition of the "swine" flu or H1N1 shot, natural and alternative treatments are thriving.


If you fear the flu or just want to protect yourself from your cubicle mate's hacking cough, try the next simple steps to ramp up your immune system and boost your energy during the dreary winter months.


  • Eat right for your body


Green is the new black and that also goes for the world of vegetables. The more natural and organic nutrients your body can absorb, the more likely your body can defend itself from the flu and other wintry infections.


In his book, Flu: Alternative Treatments and Prevention, Randal Neustaedter suggests that one of the most important dietary issues for healthy cell function lies in maintaining the correct balance of fats in the body.


At the top of that list are omega-3 fats from fish oil supplements. Avoiding high fructose corn syrup, which depletes the body's ability to defend against infections, and also soy products, which can block the absorption of calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron- are key to defending the body against infection.


For adults supplements of omega-3 fats, vitamin E and vegetables high in antioxidants like tomatoes, broccoli, red beans or blueberries will help to prevent the flu.


  • Cleanse the body and soul


Like your mom always said, wash your hands. Those words will stand the test of time. In the meantime, plain soap and water works just fine. You shouldn't stop at your hands though, washing out your throat and nose will do wonders as well.


Gargle with warm salt water on a daily basis to keep bacteria from growing in your throat and also whip out that neti pot and get to cleansing on your nasal passages. Nasal irrigation with a saline solution or sea salted water has been proven to help millions with chronic sinus problems and will clear out any bacteria that maybe forming in your nose that could grow into the flu virus.


Once you've cleansed your hands, throat and nose, your mind is the next best thing.


Practicing yoga and meditation heighten awareness, health and provide a natural detox process. By gently stretching muscles and joints, organs are massaged and optimum blood supply is seen throughout the body. In turn it helps flush out toxins.


Just ask Midi Johnson, owner of Olde Mill Yoga and Wellness Center in Tatamy. Johnson, whose students can do an unlimited amount of yoga for $27 per month, contends that the benefits of yoga are endless and include: improved flexibility, increased strength, improved posture, better breathing, stress reduction, and heart health among others.


According to Johnson, some studies have suggested that yoga may have a positive effect on learning and memory.  Other researchers have been studying whether yoga can slow the aging process, increase a  person's sense of self-acceptance, or improve energy levels, she said.


Just like you are what you eat, you are what you think as well. The mind-body connection is stronger than can be imagined so think healthy and just be. Namaste.

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