How to Avoid Colds and Flus

December 4, 2017

The colds and flus are going around. How do we keep our immune systems healthy? Learn about ways to stay well by eating real food.

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KATE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. I’m Kate Crosby, nutrition educator and counselor and I am really pleased to say I made it through Halloween and Thanksgiving without getting a cold, the flu, or even a sinus infection. That was one of my goals for the fall. But boy, you and I know so many clients and friends who've been sick this fall with some virus that lasts for a month or two.

BRENNA: Oh my gosh, yeah. People in the office, clients coming in.

KATE: Coughing and coughing. So today, we want to share our immune-boosting strategies so you can get through the month of December virus-free. So, I've got to ask you, did a virus catch you this fall? Well, as you heard, my friend and colleague, the researcher, licensed and registered dietitian, Brenna Thompson is joining us today. Brenna, I know what works for me, but why don't you tell us about the research. What does it say?

BRENNA: Well, there is a lot of research about colds and flus. Actually, I ran across an article that describes how some people prepare for a cold and flu season. Now, it's not exactly how Kate prepares or maybe even how I prepare for it, but it's how a great number of people prepare for the cold and flu season. Now, you may have noticed when you were out shopping recently that everybody had a cart full of orange juice, tissues, cough drops, cold and allergy tablets, hand sanitizers, and cough syrup. Well, this is how they are preparing to get sick. So, in fact an article in The Wall Street Journal pointed out that the cold and flu season has become a big moneymaker. So, here's an example: back in 2012, Clorox distributed 30,000 extra cases. Yes, you heard me right. 30,000 extra cases of disinfecting wipes to six states that had been hit by the flu.

BRENNA:Hmm. Well, we at Nutritional Weight & Wellness take a slightly different approach to avoiding those colds and flus. We're not preparing ourselves to get sick, but rather we're preparing our immune systems to stay well. So, with this stay well message, we always start with food. So I think we need to really look at how much sugar is safe for us to eat. The American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons of sugar per day. But let me tell you, even dieticians and nutritionists can sometimes be tricked into eating more sugar than they had intended. In fact, just a couple of days ago I was shopping and I forgot my water bottle at home. So, I thought, well I'll just pick up some iced green tea. Sounds kind of refreshing and I needed something to drink. So, I bought the iced tea, opened it, took a sip, and “Whoa!”, I thought to myself, “What is in this tea? It's tastes so sweet. What's going on?” Well, I had forgotten to look at the label. So, I looked at the label and found this particular iced green tea had 46 grams of carbs in it. Now, I know the math, but I'm going to share it with you listeners right now. When you consume four grams of carbs it turns into one teaspoon of sugar in your body. Well, this means that the 46 grams of carbs in my iced green tea equals a whopping 11 and a half teaspoons of sugar. And, really, all I wanted was a bottle of plain iced green tea, not a bottle full of sugar. So, sometimes food manufacturers may be tricking you into eating or drinking more sugar than you want or more sugar than is good for your immune system. So, are you asking yourself, “Why is sugar so bad for my immune system?” Brenna's going to tell us the research on that.

BRENNA: Well, I'm not sure if you realize that simple sugars, including table sugar, agave syrup, high fructose corn syrup, honey, and yes, even maple syrup cause a 40 to 50 percent drop in your white blood cells’ ability to kill germs. So, when you eat those cookies or if you get tricked into drinking some sweet tea, or even I like to occasionally get a latte and I usually do a coconut milk latte from one of the big coffee stores, and I know that there's a little bit of sugar in there, I don't add the big pump sweet-flavored stuff. But I know the coconut milk has a little sugar. And one day I kind of thought, “Well, I wonder what this does to my blood sugar when I drink it.” I measured it and so typically you're under 100 before you eat something and I have a little glucometer I just keep around to demonstrate to clients. So, I drank my latte. We were out shopping, got home, it had been about an hour, not quite. I think in about 45 minutes I tested my blood sugar and I was up to 119. And there's not even that much sugar in there. It's like maybe a couple teaspoons. So, I was even shocked to see that my blood sugars had gone that high. That's how tricky it is. So, imagine if I had gotten a latte full of the pumped syrup stuff.

KATE: You would’ve had many, many teaspoons of sugar. Your blood sugar would have been up higher and higher

BRENNA: Higher and higher and my immune cells’ ability to kill those germs would have been super suppressed because that immune suppressing effect of the sugars starts within 30 minutes after eating or drinking a product containing sugar. So, this immune suppression can last for up to five hours. Think about that. For up to five hours after eating sugar, your immune function is reduced by about 50 percent.

KATE: Wow. So think about this. Maybe your grandchild comes to your house from daycare with a runny nose. And you just ate a large oatmeal raisin cookie with your afternoon coffee. Now, you might be at risk for catching the virus from your grandchild because that large oatmeal raisin cookie contains anywhere from five to 16 teaspoons of sugar. It just depends on the size and the ingredients that are in that cookie. Eating that oatmeal raisin cookie will no doubt compromise your immune system. That's what Brenna is talking about. It kind of paralyzes our immune system. So, your grandchild's runny nose could very likely become a cold for you. So, when your grandchild's runny nose turns into a cold for you, you've got to ask yourself, is it really worth engaging in that risky behavior of eating that large oatmeal raisin cookie with all that sugar that suppresses my immune system?

BRENNA: And there might be people out there saying “Yes!” Sugar is a risky behavior. But there might be other people who are thinking, “Oh, I do eat a lot of cookies” or “I do eat an afternoon muffin or treat.”

KATE:  Or you might have a and a glass of juice or something. That's just pure sugar.

BRENNA: It's just pure sugar, and maybe this is getting you to kind of think, “Oh, this is why I'm getting all of these colds.” So, one of my top recommendations to avoid colds and flus this winter is to limit your consumption of sugar and processed carbs. Now, we know that this can be hard, but I know for myself, I really do try to stay below six teaspoons of added sugar. And people might be going, “Well, gosh, six teaspoons. Is that a lot, is it not a lot?” And maybe tablespoons makes more sense to you because six teaspoons is the same as two tablespoons. And what the American Heart Association recommends is no more than six teaspoons of added sugar a day. And that might sound like a difficult task because it does mean cutting out nearly all of the processed foods because even savory processed foods like breads, bagels, those turn into sugar and a lot of times they have sugar added to them. Now, many of you might be thinking, “How do you do that?” During this cold and flu season and the holiday season I do try to practice what I preach, which means I eat six times a day. And I start my day off with a really good lumberjack-style breakfast of a couple of eggs cooked in butter, because butter makes it better. And then I might have a sausage or maybe I've got leftover taco meat, leftover shredded chicken to go with it. Also, I take a bunch of kale or spinach and some butter and then if you're eating at my house, there's always hot sauce. Then I get to douse everything in hot sauce. And maybe a little extra butter, and then of course my cup of coffee with some heavy cream in it.

KATE: So, there's very little sugar and I don't hear any processed foods in that breakfast.

BRENNA: No. So, that's the breakfast that really starts my day. Listeners, you might not know this about me, but I grew up on sugar. And I didn’t make these changes overnight. But when I grew up, I was eating cereal and bagels and my favorite, toaster strudels. The ones where you put them in the toaster with the glaze. So, I have to tell you though, when I eat real food breakfasts like the one I just described, I don't crave sugar. I don't feel tired. I don't get crabby, which my husband appreciates, and I don't get sick.

KATE: You know, Brenna, I think it's time for our first break. So, I just want to remind you you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. So, some of you might need some help getting through the holidays. We've received a lot of requests for this kind of nutritional support during the holidays. So, we created a class and decided to offer a class called holiday Habits Habits Habits. Maybe those traditional Christmas cookie exchanges pull you off track. So, what could you do? Some suggestions are maybe instead you make roasted nuts this year, or maybe you volunteer at a food bank or go cross-country skiing with friends, assuming we have snow. So, come join us and let's talk and we'll give you lots of ideas of how to get through the holiday season. We'll be right back.


BRENNA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Last week at a national nutrition conference, many of our nutritionists and dietitians learned that most of us are deficient in vitamin A. When you have a low vitamin A level, you have a lower immune function. The conference presenter recommended eating liver to increase your Vitamin A level. You and I love it, but we understand there are many other people out there not willing to eat liver frequently enough to make a difference. So, here's another idea. Maybe you take cod liver oil. Cod liver oil is a wonderful source of vitamin A. And just one to two teaspoons per day will help support your immune function to fight off those colds and flus. Or, if you happen to have one of the co-ops near you here in the cities, you can get really, really good liverwurst, which is something my grandma would feed me when I was a little kid.

KATE: Before we went to break, Brenna, you were talking about one way to help boost your immune system is to really watch the amount of sugar that you're eating. Limit it. So, that's number one, but number two is eat butter! Brenna and I both know that real butter, especially that butter from grass-fed cows, supports our immune function. Why is butter so good for the immune function? Well, let me backtrack a little bit here. A few Saturdays ago at the Menopause Seminar that I was teaching, I told the women that I sometimes eat chunks of butter right off the knife when I'm feeling stressed or when I sense I'm coming down with a virus or I've got low blood sugar. And I want to make it really clear, I want to make sure everybody understands that butter does not raise your cholesterol, nor does it make you gain weight. The culprits that create that high cholesterol or weight gain, those are things like sugar and those bad fats like corn oil and cottonseed oil that are found in so many commercially-baked items like muffins and stuff. Those are the things that are going to raise your cholesterol and can make you gain weight. So, Brenna, tell us how butter actually supports our immune system.

BRENNA:Well, author Sally Fallon Morrell said in her book, Nourishing Fats, no one has studied butter as much as Dr. Westin A. Price, which is probably very true. And especially butter from grass-fed cows. He found that that was very high in vitamin A and Vitamin K. And we know that vitamin A and Vitamin K support the immune function by helping us utilize all of the minerals that we consume, which in turn helps our brain function better and our immune system stay strong. They also are really important for bone health. So, when we eat butter, especially that butter from grass-fed cows, we stay well both mentally and physically. And as long as we are talking about butter, I'd like to throw in a little science. So, butter is described as the perfect fat for our cells. And I always love talking to clients about this because butter is composed of about 50 percent of that solid, saturated fat. But then another 30 percent of the fat that makes up butter is mono unsaturated fats. And that's the fat that we usually think of when we think of like olive oil or avocados. And then about another 13 percent or so is something called short and medium chain fatty acids, and these types of fats, these MCTs, have been found to increase people's metabolism. So, the body uses those short and medium chain fatty acids from butter. You can also get it from coconut oil, which you hear us talk about all the time, as well. We use those MCTs for energy and we don't really store them as body fat. So, despite what everybody says, butter is actually great for weight loss.

KATE: Those medium and short chains are going to boost that metabolism.

BRENNA: So, are you thinking to yourself, “Did that dietician say that eating butter would help me lose weight?” Well I did. And you can, so go put that butter on your broccoli and lose weight.

KATE:  It's these short and medium chain fatty acids in butter that also support the immune system. They're ideal for fighting cancer. Many of our dedicated listeners probably remember that I had breast cancer some 20 years ago. I make it a point to eat enough butter to support my immune system. A friend of mine who also had breast cancer said, “How else can I get butter in?”

BRENNA:  Just be like Kate and eat it off the spoon. So, butter provides another type of immune support. The saturated fatty acids in butter also have anti-microbial properties that kill off pathogens like viruses, bacteria, and fungus in our intestinal tract. Now, we could go on and on and on about how butter supports your immune system because, well, butter is just highly protective against disease.

KATE: It is. Boy, because I like butter so much, and I believe eating it has really helped keep me cancer free for over 20 years, I want to share a little more information on butter. Butter also can be a great source of vitamin D. Now, butter from grass-fed cows can be a great source of vitamin D. But if the cow has been kept inside with little or no sunlight, then the amount of vitamin D will be less.

BRENNA:  Of course, as we've mentioned on numerous Dishing Up Nutrition shows, that vitamin D supports your immune function, and a low vitamin D level will compromise your immune function. So, have you had your vitamin D levels checked? Where do you want them? You really want them to be between 50 to 80. But a lot of labs, a lot of doctors, will say that 30 is fine.

KATE:  So always ask your doctor’s office for the exact number. Don't let them say you’re normal and it was fine. You want to know, and then bring it to your nutritionist, and then we can help you figure out how much vitamin D you might need. Most of us do need vitamin D every single day.

BRENNA: Especially if you live here in the Midwest and it's cold and a lot of people just work inside even during the summer and we just never see the sun. So, as you have just heard, butter supports your immune system in numerous ways. So, to avoid colds and flus this winter, we highly recommend that you eat butter. So, sauté your spinach in butter, put some butter on your sweet potatoes, eat it off the knife for a spoon like Kate. And what's really funny is I hadn't even thought about this the other day and for some reason I was standing in the kitchen and I was just like still kind of like hungry or I'm just not feeling satisfied. I was like, “I want some butter.” I just took a butter knife and ate it and I was like, “Oh, I feel so much better!”

KATE: You're suddenly satisfied. And you talked about coconut oil earlier. Coconut oil is also great for our immune system in a sense. It doesn't boost our immune system so much as protect us.

BRENNA: Yeah, that coconut oil has the medium chain triglycerides in it to help support your metabolism, but it also has another fat in there called caprylic acid. And that caprylic acid really helps surround the bacteria or the viruses and then it just kills them off and then you poop them out.

KATE:   There you go. So, in addition to limiting your sugar consumption and eating butter and coconut oil, there are other lifestyle habits that you can follow to have a better immune function. Top of the list, at least in my list, is getting adequate sleep so that you can avoid those colds and flus this winter. And that means eight to nine hours most nights. Now, that might be a stretch for some, but boy, you're going to feel a whole lot better and your immune system is going to work really well. So, Brenna, let's take a few minutes here and do our sleep and health inventory with our listeners.

BRENNA: I think we should probably do that when we get back from break.


BRENNA:  Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If your child is exposed to colds and flus at daycare or school, sometimes their immune system needs a little boost to get through their symptoms. I recommend a product called Imu-Max which is a children's formula that contains Echinacea angustifolia and Propolis extracts in a pleasant-tasting liquid. It is actually really pretty delicious. So, this product is safe for children and contains no harmful additives or chemicals. Clients tell us all the time just how effective it is.

Caller number one was curious to know how I test my blood sugar at home. I don't have diabetes and they apparently don't either, but I just went on to and I just ordered a glucometer that also came with like 50 or 100 test strips and it got shipped to my house two days later. Then any time I run out of strips again I just go onto Amazon. I find the ones that go with my meter and just reorder them and it's much, much less expensive than going to a drugstore and trying to do it from there.

KATE: Good advice. We also had another caller, someone who sort of has a cold and a runny nose. When we're dealing with this, I mean, first of all we have to really look at diet, what you’re eating, and look at the amount of sugar that's in there. And remember, Brenna talked about her lumberjack-style breakfast. Lots of eggs, meat, and some spinach maybe sautéed in butter. That's what you start with. And then eat periodically, six times a day to get that immune system working. Yeah, having protein, fat, and a carb. But there are a few other things that Brenna and I were thinking about that we often use. Our diets are, as you probably imagine, pretty good. One that I like a lot is something called Viracid and I use this the minute I feel like I'm getting some kind of a virus or something just doesn't feel right. There is a loading dose written on the package. I don't usually go that high. This depends on what I'm feeling like. But I might recommend that for clients who've waited a little bit too long and then the virus has started to set in, taking anywhere from three to six a day to begin with and then maybe back off and go back to three a day. And then every once in a while, if I feel like I'm getting sick, I just pop one capsule. I really don't know what's in Viracid off the top of my head, but it's a bunch of herbs and some other vitamins and nutrients. So that's one that I like. You've got another one now.

BRENNA: Yeah, I really recommend the Biocidin Spray. I have a neighbor who has chronic asthma allergies and then she's very susceptible to bronchitis. So, she, for the past year, has been using the Biocidin Spray anytime she feels something coming on and that has really helped keep her much healthier than she has been in the past. I just feel like when you're spraying it into that area it's kind of more localized into that upper respiratory and it works immediately. It works really, really fast. With the runny nose we had kind of two other thoughts here. My favorite is spicy food.

KATE: That's right a lot of people love spicy foods to kind of knock out those colds.

BRENNA: Anytime my husband feels like he's coming down with something or getting kind of clogged up, we just make really spicy ground beef or ground turkey, brown up in the skillet, lots of coconut oil and lots of veggies in there, and then he just gets to put all the sriracha on it he wants.

KATE: There you go. Another one is using a product that we have called Liquid Advantage, which kills viruses, fungus, and bacteria. It's very strong. It's very bitter. Not for the faint of heart. Do not put it on your tongue as it is. You've got to dilute it. You could start with 5 or 10 drops of that in water a couple of times a day once you feel like you're getting a cold or a virus. It's pretty potent stuff. If you feel like you're getting a sore throat, put it in a glass of water, gargle it, spit it out. It's great. And it's not expensive. Inexpensive supplement.

So, before we went to break we were talking about sleep and the importance of sleep for boosting your immune system. So, we have this sleep and health inventory that we like to do with our listeners. At our Nutritional Weight & Wellness class on sleep we go through 23 different sleep related health concerns. Today we're only going to cover about 10 of these. So, grab a pen and paper and jot down some of these questions, because these are all related to a lack of sleep. The first one is: Do you feel fatigued and sluggish all day? That could be just from a lack of sleep.

BRENNA: That's actually really funny because so many clients will say, “I'm so tired!” And then you ask them, “Well how much sleep are you getting?” “Oh, five hours.” Well, that's not going to work. Or, question number two: Do you have aches or pain in your joints and muscles? That inflammation goes up with a lack of sleep.

KATE:  Or, another one is, do you have a poor memory? Because that can also be from a lack of sleep.

BRENNA: Do you have sugar or carb cravings? I think a lot of our nutritionists always get a lot ramped up before the radio show. And we never sleep well beforehand. We just get so excited to be here! But then I do find that on those days I'm like, “Oh, after the radio show I deserve a treat!”

KATE: That's not our normal. Or do you drink coffee all day long just to stay awake? Well that might be because you're not sleeping enough.

BRENNA: And then all that coffee could be making you not sleep! Are you a person who gets frequent headaches?

KATE:   Thinking of your client who wakes up with a headache or maybe you are gaining weight. Well, Brenna, you and I know that sleep is key to weight loss. Yes, we get many of our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss clients who come in and they've corrected their diet and they've eaten very well for six weeks, eight weeks, a year. But no weight loss. And they're very discouraged. Brenna and I then ask the next question, “So, tell me, how is your sleep?” And they tend to roll their eyes and go, “Not so great.” And we find out later that they're sleeping four or five hours a night.

BRENNA:  Yeah or maybe they think their sleep is fine and they think they can run on five hours.

KATE: Exactly. But it's never going to work. Not for weight loss. You need a good eight to nine hours.

BRENNA: Question number eight: Do you have a lot of anger or irritability?

KATE:  Oh, that mood part, yes, or feeling confused and can't concentrate again. Lack of sleep can be the reason for all of this.

BRENNA: And, of course, question number 10 here: Are you experiencing frequent colds and viruses? Are you sick all the time?

KATE: You’ve got to get your sleep.  That's what our immune system rebuilds itself. So, I've got a little suggestion. If you're a person who has trouble getting to sleep, I suggest you put a five-milligram sublingual melatonin tablet under your tongue. Sublingual because it will be absorbed quickly to go right into your bloodstream. We find that most of our clients will fall asleep within about a half an hour of taking that sublingual melatonin. I just want to clarify that melatonin supplementation is safe and it actually helps to detox the brain.

BRENNA: That's an interesting concept. It's helping detox your brain.

KATE: Cleaning it up, there. Some of our clients are going to need only one to three milligrams of melatonin to fall asleep, whereas others might need 10 milligrams. So, you're going to have to try different doses to determine what's best for you. And, of course, it's always best to start with the smallest dose and then work your way up.

BRENNA:   And in the Nutritional Weight & Wellness offices and on our page, we have melatonin in one milligram and five milligram. So that's all tablets. And I always tell people, if you're going to start something like that, start it on a Saturday, maybe a Friday so you can see the effects. Especially with melatonin, just to make sure it doesn't make you kind of groggy the next day in case you're just a very sensitive person. So, if you have trouble staying asleep through the night, we would also recommend starting out with about 400 milligrams of magnesium glycinate before bed. Now, magnesium glycinate relaxes you and your muscles, so it can help with those leg twitches or those Charlie horses. It also supports a good memory, good brain function, good blood sugar control, and good sleep. Now, we find that a variety of other minerals may also be necessary for a good functioning immune system. However, you really have to start with sleep. Eight hours of sleep a night is key to keeping your immune system strong.

KATE:  So, on that note, Brenna, we should take our third break here. Let's do that and when we come back we'll talk a little bit more about magnesium.

So, you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. If you are feeling the holiday stress, I recommend that you take the time to listen to Cassie and Kara. Next Saturday they're going to talk about what you can eat to lower your stress levels. Remember, I eat butter to lower my stress and my cholesterol numbers are all in the normal range. But to minimize stress, keep this in the forefront of your mind. Eating sugar equals stress. Eating real foods in balance equals calm, but alert with a sense of well-being. We'll be right back.


KATE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. So, before we went to break we were talking about getting enough sleep and we gave you a couple suggestions. If you can't fall asleep, taking some melatonin can keep yourself relaxed during sleep. Magnesium is a wonderful supplement to help you stay relaxed. But, I find some of my clients will come in and say that magnesium gave them diarrhea. And I have to ask them, well show me what you're taking because it's the form of the magnesium that they're taking that will usually cause the diarrhea. Typically, magnesium glycinate doesn't cause diarrhea. So, many people think it's the magnesium that's triggering all their problems, when sometimes, it's what they're eating. Especially if they're chewing a lot of gum. The gum and the breath mints are full of sugar alcohols that can cause diarrhea. So, the sugar alcohols xylitol and manitol are well known for giving people digestive problems like gas and bloating as well as diarrhea.

BRENNA: And, Kate, we actually have a couple of questions here. So let's see if I can get through them before we have to wrap up today. Good morning, Diane, you have a question for us?

CALLER: Oh hi. Thank you for taking my call. I'm a longtime listener and client of yours and I love your show and on one of your shows recently I think Kara mentioned a product for allergies, like if you're sneezing a lot and scratchy throat.

BRENNA: I think she talked about the D-Hist.

CALLER: That's what I was wondering about. Is that something that you sell?

BRENNA: Oh yes, absolutely.

CALLER: OK. So, if I go onto your website, where would I find it?

BRENNA: If you go to and you click on the products link and then you can in the little search bar either search “D-Hist” or if you go under the little allergies tab it'll pop up.

CALLER: OK. Well thank you so much. I really appreciate your show and I've learned so much from listening to your show and being a client of yours and you've really helped me with my health and my family's. So, I thank you.

BRENNA: Awesome! I am so glad to hear it, Diane.

KATE: That's why we do what we do. We love it.

BRENNA: Another recommendation, we briefly mentioned this one, is Bifido Balance, and the bifido bacteria that we use in this product is a really good probiotic, and research tells us that 70 percent of our immune cells are located in our intestinal tract. And probiotics have been shown to enhance immunity and calm down immune challenges such as the common cold or other viral infections. And clinically we have found that when clients take this probiotic bifido bacterium two to three times a day, they have a much stronger resistance to colds and flu as well as fewer other digestive problems.

KATE: Absolutely. There's a lot of extensive research done on bifido bacterium that we want to share. Research has found that about 10 days after a baby is born, more than 90 percent of the microflora in breastfed babies’ intestines is bifida bacterium. This abundance of intestinal bifida bacterium is one of the reasons that babies are so resistant to infection.

BRENNA: But they can only get it if mom has good bacteria and can pass it on to the baby. And there's actual scientific evidence that demonstrates bifido bacterium supports the natural killer cells’ activity. We call those NK cells, which in turn reduces the incidence of influenza and fever. So, bottom line here: bifido bacteria supports your immune function.

KATE: Absolutely. As we get older or your child is no longer breast fed, then the level of bifido bacterium slowly decreases. So, we believe it's always important to take bifido bacteria daily, especially to boost your immune system. And you can take a pill. You can also take the powder because we do have a powdered form. So, maybe you have a child that you want to give it to, or if you hate swallowing capsules you could take it in the powdered form. You just mix in a little water and drink it before your meals.

KATE: For people who really have a tough intestinal tract or need a lot correction, taking that and putting it in your water bottle and just bathing yourself in it throughout the day is another great way of getting it in.

BRENNA: Yeah. And you can also eat good bacteria in the form of yogurt or kefir. Sauerkraut can be a good one, especially if it's like the Bubbies sauerkraut where it hasn't been heated too high. So, you can find that in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. People are really into drinking kombucha these days.

Kate, it's been good to be on the show with you this morning. Let’s just kind of recap here how to avoid the colds and the flu this winter. Number one: reduce your consumption of sugar and processed carbs. Because as Kate put it, sugar paralyzes your immune system.

KATE: Another suggestion we had was eat butter, but avoid those refined oils like soybean oil, corn oil, and vegetable oil. Butter actually supports your immune system, energizing those immune cells.

BRENNA:   Number three: sleep at least seven and a half to eight hours most nights. If you can get to nine, awesome. And if you can't, consider a consult so that we can help you with your insomnia.

KATE:We have lots of different suggestions for that. Our fourth suggestion is to eat butter from grass-fed cows because it will provide you with Vitamin A and Vitamin K, or you could eat liver once a week or twice a week or take cod liver oil daily.

BRENNA:Yes, and maintain adequate vitamin D levels. So again, we want those levels to be between 50 to 80.

KATE: And take the probiotic bifido bacteria several times a day.

BRENNA: Like two to three. So, there you have it. Six tips on how to avoid colds and flus this winter by supporting your immune function.

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