Great information if you're on the fence on whether or not to get the flu and/or H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine!
Please keep in mind the life style changes that are necessary if you are going to decide not to get a vaccine. If you are not living a healthy lifestyle, your body will not be able to fight off disease. All the more reason to give up junk and start eating healthy, whole foods and drinking a lot of GOOD water!
Taken from an article on Mercola.com:
"So how do you stop worrying about the flu vaccine, how do you really prevent flues and more serious diseases? When I give the answer, this is where I lose those who are addicted to "quick fixes," who are lazy, or just plain brainwashed by the pharmaceutical companies, but here it is:
Start focusing NOW on eating properly. That means STOP with the junk foods and fast foods, STOP with the sugary foods, the processed grains, and the trans-fats. That means INCREASE the healthy and essential fats like the omega-3 found in cod liver oil, the good carbohydrates like those in vegetables, and the healthy proteins like those in clean, naturally raised meats (i.e., NOT the kind you typically find in grocery stores) like free-range chicken. That means learn your metabolic type as soon as possible so you know what proportion of fats, carbs and proteins are ideal to build YOUR immune system (and help you optimize your weight, and increase energy, and avoid premature aging).
I guarantee that this and not vaccines and pills are the answer. I have spent over two decades developing my dietary program, and through my respected clinic it has proven to help tens of thousands of people build their immunity, overcome disease (most far more serious than the flu), optimize their weight and increase their energy."
Top ways to fight off the flu (also from Mercola.com):
Probiotics are one of only two supplements that are recommended to all new patients who come to the Natural Health Center that I stared in 1985 (the other being an omega-3 fat supplement). It’s also one of the few supplements that I personally take every day.
In many cultures, probiotic-rich food and drinks, such as the fermented superfoods natto, kefir, lassi (an Indian yogurt drink) and sauerkraut, are an integral part of the daily diet.
If you eat a diet rich in fermented foods like these that have NOT been pasteurized (pasteurization will kill the probiotics), then you will likely enjoy great digestive, and immune system, health.
However, if you find yourself strongly drawn to processed foods or rely on mostly cooked foods, as is commonplace in the United States, the balance of bacteria in your digestive tract will have a hard time staying optimal.
This is most unfortunate because this ratio between the "good" bacteria and the other bacteria is one of the critical factors determining your optimal health, as the good bacteria are essential for:\
The proper development of your immune system
Protection against over-growth of other microorganisms that could cause disease
Digestion of food and absorption of nutrients
The probiotics in your gut also play a role in helping numerous bodily functions, such as:
Digesting and absorbing certain carbohydrates.
Producing vitamins, absorbing minerals and eliminating toxins.
Keeping bad bacteria under control.
Preventing allergies. Friendly bacteria train your immune system to distinguish between pathogens and non-harmful antigens, and to respond appropriately.
Providing vital support to your immune system. Beneficial bacteria have a lifelong, powerful effect on your gut’s immune system and your systemic immune system as well.
Sugar is also an incredibly efficient fertilizer for growing bad bacteria and yeast in your gut, so if you indulge in a lot of it you’re fueling the bad bacteria rather than the good.
Likewise, stress, pollution, and taking antibiotics can further upset the balance in a negative way.
Since helpful bacteria are increasingly absent in most people’s diets, it is important to purposely include foods that contain live probiotic bacteria in your diet, or take a probiotic supplement -- especially since flu season is just around the corner.
Here’s What You Need to Know to Avoid the Flu This Year
Now is the time to start making healthy changes that will keep you virtually immune to cold and flu viruses. If you follow the tips I recommend, you can easily sail through each and every winter (and fall, spring and summer) without so much as a case of the sniffles.
How do I know this?
Because I have not caught the flu in over 20 years, and you can avoid it too -- without getting vaccinated -- by following these simple guidelines.
Optimize your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiency is the likely cause of seasonal flu viruses. Getting an optimal level of vitamin D will help you fight infections of all kinds. In fact, the largest study yet of the association between vitamin D and respiratory infections found people with the lowest blood vitamin D levels reported having significantly more recent colds or cases of the flu.
Eat plenty of probiotic-rich fermented foods, or take a high-quality probiotic supplement to support your digestive and immune system health.
Avoid or Limit Sugar. Sugar decreases the function of your immune system almost immediately and a strong immune system is key to fighting off viruses and other illness.
Get Enough Rest. Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you're tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight off cold and flu viruses.
Have Tools to Address Stress. We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness.
If you feel that stress is taking a toll on your health, consider using an energy psychology tool such as the Meridian Tapping Technique (MTT), which is remarkably effective in relieving stress associated with all kinds of events, from work to family to trauma
Exercise. When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it spreads.
Take a good source of animal based omega-3 fats like Krill Oil, which is crucial for maintaining health.
Wash Your Hands. Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don't use antibacterial soap for this -- antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary, and they cause far more harm than good. Instead, identify a simple chemical-free soap that you can switch your family to.
Also, be careful not to overdo it. Washing your hands too much can actually remove much of the protective layer on your skin and increase your chances of acquiring an infection
And I will add...eat garlic! :D