Whether we want to admit it or not, the flu season is upon us. And every year, I try my best to keep my family as healthy as possible. And that’s why I’ve compiled the Top 5 Ways to Stay Healthy During the Flu Season but if you’re reading this and you’re already sick, be sure to read the section about what foods to eat when you have the flu.
Let’s be honest. Sickness happens to even the healthiest. But it also doesn’t have to last for weeks either. I’m actually writing this the day after my 3-year-old threw up in the middle of the night. I’m not sure what the reason was because she’s completely fine now. But goodness, there’s nothing worse than seeing your little one sick.
So today I want to share with you ways I help boost my family’s immune system and keep illness away. Or at least reduce the amount of time they are sick. Plus, foods to eat when you do have the flu, the importance of rest and hydrated, plus so much more.
It’s been really simple tweaks we’ve made but they have had a huge impact. Especially for my husband who has an autoimmune disease and has an already compromised immune system. He catches everything. So it’s important to keep his immune system functioning well.
If you’re already sick with the flu, this next section is for you. It will help you learn what foods to eat to nourish and heal your body.
Foods to eat when you have the flu
I know it’s so tempting to buy a milkshake when you have the flu or grab something else that’s full of comfort. But your body will feed off of the sugar and processed food instead of healing itself.
I strongly believe food has the power to heal our bodies. When you’re sick it’s all the more important to nourish your body with as many nutrients as possible. Grab nutrient-dense foods like the ones I mention below. They will give your body energy and help fight off the flu.
Broth is one of the most nourishing foods you can give your body when you’re sick. It’s nutrient dense, easy to digest, and helps boost your immune system. Bone broth reduces inflammation in the body and helps it heal faster when you’re sick.
Please note, not all broths are created equal. A lot of store bought bone broths aren’t real. They use lab-created meat flavors and also add MSG which is a neurotoxin. You can easily make your own at home. I’ve included an easy recipe below that you can use.
If I’m not going to make my own bone broth, then I absolutely love buying organic bone broth from Bru Broth. Bru Broth uses incredible organic ingredients, and it tastes amazing. Even my 3 year old loves it. My favorites are Hug in a Mug and Beet Blush. But I haven’t had one that I didn’t love. You can order some here.
Chicken Noodle Soup
There’s just something about chicken noodle soup that is so comforting. And guess what the base of chicken noodle soup is: bone broth. No wonder it’s known to be a go-to when you’re sick with the flu.
I love making a big batch of chicken noodle soup then freezing it so when someone is sick I can just take it out of the freezer to thaw. And if you don’t want noodles, I love adding diced sweet potatoes instead. Be sure to add lots of carrots and celery to get in extra veggies to heal your body.
Broccoli is packed with nutrients. Just one cup provides your daily needs for vitamin C. Broccoli is also a great source of calcium and iron. So if you’re making Chicken Noodle Soup it might be a good idea to add in some broccoli too.
Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens are another great way to get in vitamin C and vitamin E. Vitamin E is another vitamin that’s known to help boost the immune system and it’s also an antioxidant.
I recommend adding some greens to a smoothie to mask the taste if you’re having trouble eating with the flu. Try this Cherry Chocolate Smoothie or learn how to create your own Power Smoothie. If you’re able to eat solid foods, enjoy a salad or make some kale chips to get the immune boosting nutrients your body needs while fighting off the flu.
This one may surprise you but garlic has actually been used for centuries to heal a variety of ailments. I remember being shocked when I first heard that garlic had so many health benefits. Add garlic to your chicken noodle soup or eat raw to really enhance your immune system.
It’s so easy to become dehydrated when you have the flu, especially if you are both throwing up and experiencing diarrhea. It’s critical to stay hydrated when you’re sick. Try drinking some of the following to stay hydrated:
Hot tea (caffeine free)
Water with Nuun tablets
Nuun tablets have electrolytes and are perfect for when you’re not feeling well or want something other than water. You can get them at most local grocery stores or grab my favorite flavors here.
I recommend staying away from juice or other sugary sports drinks even though they have added electrolytes. Sugar suppresses the immune system and that’s the last thing we need when we’re sick with the flu.
Let your body rest
This is harder for some than others. But it’s so important to let your body rest. Take time to let your body heal itself. Your body heals itself during sleep so take an extra nap or two to help your body heal from the flu. Plus, a nap will give you some relief from the aches and nauseousness.
If you’re having a hard time relaxing try taking a warm bath or rub some lavender essential oils on the bottom of your feet and neck. Magnesium also helps relax your body and can help you fall asleep. I love drinking a glass of Natural Vitality (a magnesium drink) to help calm my body and encourage rest.
5 Ways to Stay Healthy During the Flu Season
You may be reading this and wondering how to keep from getting sick during the flu season. The below vitamins/supplements are what I stock up on during the flu season to keep my family and myself healthy. And if we do happen to get sick, our bodies are able to fight it off a lot faster. So it’s worth taking preventive measures to keep your body as healthy as possible.
If you read my article about the best supplements to give your family you know how important I think a probiotic is. Our health starts in the gut, but most of our guts are not healthy. This is why it’s so important to take a probiotic. I even take a double dose if I’m feeling sick to give everything an extra boost. My girls take a daily probiotic as well. They love taking it too and often remind me in the mornings that they need to take their vitamins. We use Garden of LIfe. They are chewable and easy to take. On the bottle it says for children 4 years and older so I cut one in half for Iylee since she’s only 3.
Noah and I take Ancient Nutrition Probiotic and I love that we don’t have to keep it refrigerated.
Most adults are sadly deficient in Vitamin D. Direct sunlight is the best way to absorb this important vitamin. I love sitting outside for 10-15 minutes, without sunscreen to soak up Vitamin D. But unfortunately, I can’t do this all year round. So we supplement with a liquid Vitamin D. We all take Pure Mountain Botanicals liquid Vitamin D because it’s fast absorbing, easy to take, and free of any fillers or questionable preservatives. Because we are stuck inside for the winter, I double up on the dosage during the winter time to ensure our Vitamin D levels don’t get too low. I actually just started this year giving Vitamin D to the girls and think it’s so important to give it to our kids as they are stuck inside too and not getting enough sun exposure.
You read about bone broth above in the section about what to eat when you have the flu but did you know bone broth can help keep you healthy too? I love having a cup a day during the flu season to help keep my immune system healthy and ready to fight off any sickness that comes its way.
This is something that I give my girls every day even if it’s not the flu season. But I really make it a point to not forget their vitamins this time of year so they are able to fight off any illness and have all the vitamins and nutrients they need each day. They love taking Smarty Pants Multivitamin because they taste like candy. And they love them so much they usually remind me in the mornings. Or they’re sad that I forgot and make sure they get them in the afternoon. A vitamin that I don’t have to force feed and made from quality ingredients is a big plus in my book.
Vitamin C is another one that we give our girls only in the winter time or when sick. I swear liquid vitamin C helped my girls fight off illness during the flu season and kept their symptoms from getting worse. I ended up buying 3 bottles at one time because I didn’t want to run out...a little aggressive but I truly believe it helped!
Vitamin C is known to help fight against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling. You can get Vitamin C from different food sources. Fun fact: 1 cup broccoli actually has the same amount of Vitamin C than an orange!
The girls take Child Life Liquid Vitamin C. I love liquid vitamin C because your body absorbs it faster. The girls love the orange flavor. If I sense a cold coming on or different times during the winter I give a little higher dose to keep our little girls healthy.
Noah and I take this Garden of Life Raw Vitamin C. We love this brand because it has no synthetic binders or fillers, artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, or additives commonly used in tablets. We take this daily during the winter months to boost our immune system and fight off the flu and colds. It’s the perfect Vitamin C for the adults in your family.
But it costs too much
You may read this and think, “but all these vitamins cost too much.” It definitely is an investment. But I believe in being preventative because that has lead to fewer doctor visits. And fewer doctor visits means less money spent on office copays and fewer sick days. So when you really think about it, you’re spending less money.
And if you can’t afford every single vitamin I listed, just choose a couple. Order just the probiotic and Vitamin C to help support your immune system during the cold and flu season. And instead of buying your bone broth, you can easily make it at home. Plus, it freezes well so you can store it in the freezer until you really need it. Below is how I make my bone broth at home.
Easy Bone Broth Recipe
Chicken Bone Broth
chicken bones (Cook a whole chicken, take the meat off and use the bones for the broth.)
4 celery stalks, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
4 garlic cloves
2 onions, chopped
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
4-6 filtered water, I usually just fill the rest of the pot with water
Place all ingredients in a big stock pot and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and let simmer for 24 hours.
Once done cooking, pour broth through a fine strainer or colander. I typically put the colander in a large bowl and then pour the broth through the colander and then the bowl catches all the broth without a mess.
Chill the broth. Add to mason jars and store in the fridge for 4 days or the freezer for up to 6 months.
You can reheat the homemade broth on the stove and pour in a mug for a cozy drink. Or I love using my homemade broth for soups or different recipes too.
With the flu season upon us, you want to be sure you’re taking every step to remain healthy. But no one is perfect though. It can be difficult to fight germs all winter long. But I hope these Top 5 Ways to Stay Healthy During the Flu Season will help you and your family avoid the sicknesses so many suffer from this time of year.
Avoid the doctor office visits, keep your sick days, and feel amazing this flu season!
I’m curious, how do you stay healthy during the flu season? Comment below what you do to fight off illness.