- Why this Australian problem could mean bad news for us in the UK
- How to halve your chances of getting a respiratory infection this winter
- Is your microbial community diverse enough?
When you think of Australia, what springs to mind?
You might think of tropical reefs… sand and surf… rugged outback landscapes… weird and wonderful wildlife.
But for many medical experts, it’s all about flu statistics.
Not quite the clichéd idea of life ‘down under’ is it?
However, Australia is an early warning signal for health experts in the UK.
See, they have their winter in our summer…
And like us, they have flu outbreaks in winter, too.
So what happens during flu outbreaks in Australia in the wintertime (AKA: our summertime) can tell us a lot about what may happen to us in the next six months.
And this year it’s not looking great.
During the Australian winter, there was an outbreak of serious flu that killed 147 people. And there have been 94,000 cases of this virulent strain since January. That’s compared with only 12,000 cases last year.
Quite a rise!
To give you an idea of the potential effects, back in 2015 a particularly bad flu season increased the registered deaths in England and Wales by 28,189 (5.6%), the largest percentage death rise since 1968.
This is why a top NHS doctor has warned that a nasty flu epidemic could hit the UK this winter.
While it’s not worth panicking, it’s something we should take seriously, particularly elderly or vulnerable people with serious illnesses.
How to defend against flu the natural way
The most obvious advice is to wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze – all the usual stuff we get told in order to stop the spread of illness.
However, I want to give you an essential guide to fortifying your defences against flu.
Partly to help protect against it but also to help you cope with it better if you get it.
Now, as you know from my many letters on the subject, vitamin D helps your overall immune system and a lack of vitamin D in the winter months is a problem for many people.
Vitamin D primarily comes from our body’s response to sunlight, so get as much natural sunlight as you can and take up daily walking if possible.
If you eat meat, I’d advise you to up your intake of oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. Also red meat, liver and eggs.
If not, I’d recommend a supplement like this: Vitamin D
Unlike most non-food-based forms of vitamin D, this latches on to vitamin D receptors in the body and helps your body better absorb the vitamin and deliver it to the right places.
Back in 2017, a study published in the British Medical Journal showed that daily vitamin D supplements could prevent more than three million people a year falling ill with a cold or chest infection.
In fact, it can HALVE your chances of getting a respiratory infection.
On top of that, having a good supply of quality omega-3 oils is essential for keeping your immune system strong during the flu season.
Krill oil has more antioxidant strength than regular fish oils, thanks to its levels of astaxanthin, so worth trying that – click here to find out more: Krill for Winter Health
You should also consider this…
Is your microbial community diverse enough?
A healthy, balanced gut is essential for a strong immune system. So it’s a good idea to increase the diversity of microbial life inside your gut. To do that you should try to eat the following:
- Cultured dairy products like buttermilk, yoghurt, and cheese
- Fibrous foods like leeks, beans, mushrooms, onions
- Fermented foods like apple cider vinegar and pickled vegetables
- Plenty of raw fruit and vegetables
Also choose a wide variety of grains including oats, rice, barely, and quinoa. Get the wholegrain versions whenever you can.
At the same time, try and cut down on refined carbohydrates where possible. These are bad for the balance of your gut flora.
Try and replace processed and refined foods with whole foods and raw foods.
It doesn’t mean you have to live on rabbit food – treats and special occasions are fine. It’s more about trying to increase the microbial life inside your stomach to give your immune system a boost.
Same goes for sugary foods. Sugar encourages the growth of pathogenic bacteria, yeast, and fungi. These make your immune system vulnerable to attack by a respiratory virus.
And there’s one more surprising natural food solution.
The fat that protects against flu infections
On Sunday, I’m going to tell you about a particular kind of fat which has long been used in many cultures as a medicine for fever, flu, infections, coughs and colds, asthma, skin infections, ulcers, wounds and tiredness.
Not only that…
It can lower bad cholesterol, reduce your appetite, speed up metabolism, feed damaged brain cells and fight infections that are resistant to antibiotics.
This is why it’s at the vanguard of research into diabetes, Alzheimer’s and HIV.
It could be a really handy weapon in your fight against the may winter nasties that attack us each year.
I’ll tell you all about it in a few days’ time.
Yours as always