The Best You

Flu fighting – mom’s natural secret weapons!

Nobody wants the flu. It sucks to get it and it sucks even more to watch the kids suffer through it.

And don’t get me started on when dad gets the flu. Nobody wants that.

From shots to putting an onion in the corner, there area  lot of ideas floating around on how to combat the flu, but those aren’t for everyone. So what can you do to keep your family healthy? We caught up with Dr. Christopher Calapai for some answers. Dr. Calapai, based in New York, is an Osteopath Physician, board certified in family medicine and anti-aging medicine (yes, we love him for several reasons!).

Here are Dr. Calapai’s 15 suggestions for fighting the good fight against the flu. Some of these – like permission to eat fries – you’ll be happy to follow. And none of these will spark nasty feuds on your favourite mom board, so feel free to share the health:

1. Keep your surroundings clean. Wipe surfaces at work, keep your cell phone clean. According to the CDC viruses can survive on a surface for up to 8 hours.

2. Wash your hands frequently. It’s not enough to get wet, wash with soap to kill the germs. And use a hand sanitizer. Remember the workplace and public spaces are a hotbed for germs. This is where the hand washing comes into play.

3. Increase intake of vitamin D, C, E and A. Include foods such as red bell peppers (add to salads), sweet potatoes, chicken soup, salmon and garlic. Research shows that keeping vitamin D levels at 80 ng/ml or so decreases the risk of catching the flu and swine flu.

4. Bring your own lunch. Pack a luch for work. It allows you to control food prep and ensure surfaces are clean. No cross contamination from a sick cafeteria worker for you!

5. Get a full night’s sleep. When you feel run down you’re more susceptible to illness.
(I know… the impossible dream with my two boys playing musical beds all night, but maybe *they’ll* take the doctor’s advice.)

6. Work from home when feeling sick. These days it’s easier for people to work from home at the slightest signs of cold or flu, protect yourself and your colleagues.

7. Eat kimchi! It’s delicious and a great probiotic – which boosts immunity.

8. Add mushrooms to your meal. Packed with selenium, they’re an immunity booster too.

9. Sip green or black tea. Green and black tea are packed with polyphenols and flavonoids, which ward off illness. They also contain L-theanine, an immunity boosting amino acid.

10. Munch on sweet potato fries. Who can argue with a doctor that instructs eating fries? But sweet potatoes are high in the powerful anti-oxidant beta-carotene. They also have B complex and vitamin C as well as iron and phosphorus, helping you to fight off bacteria and viruses.

11. Don’t touch your face – especially eyes.The average person touches their face around 15 times per hour! It’s something we do unconsciously so if we can be more aware of face touching the more we can stop.

12. Soup it up! Chicken veggie noodle and ginger garlic soup help fight flu and sinus infection.

13. Exercise regularly! Doing 30 minutes of moderate cardio per day is optimal to enhance the performance of infection-fighting white blood cells.

14. Go hands free on the smartphone. When we put our phones down and then pick them up or touch them this is where viruses can spread. Using earbuds and cleaning the phone with a device friendly cleaner will help.

15. Lose the booze. You really want to cut back on alcohol consumption during flu season. It dehydrates us and lowers our immunity so our ability to fight off virus is impaired.
(You may not like this one, and we almost didn’t include it – especially with holidays coming up. We’re going to ask the doctor if wine counts!) 

About the Doctor:

Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O. is an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, and anti-aging medicine. Proclaimed the “The Stem Cell Guru” by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S. His stem cell treatments have achieved remarkable results in clinical trials on patients with conditions as varied as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, frailty syndrome, heart, kidney and liver failure, lupus, MS and Parkinson’s. He has worked with Mike Tyson, Mickey Rourke, Steven Seagal, and Gotham’s, Donal Logue; and as a medical consultant for the New York Rangers.