Flu shot, or not? DNAinfo recently spoke to naturopathic practitioner Nicole Egenberger, who said that it may not be necessary to turn to the syringe if you can augment your daily intake of natural immune boosters. In fact, taking the natural route in lieu of a medication-based strategy may keep you healthier all year around.


“One of the best defenses we have against running into all those viruses is to improve our bodies’ ability to handle them,” said Egenberger. Of course, for those who still doubt the power of the natural route to health, there is always the much-debated flu shot, which is recommended by the majority of medical experts. However, considering there are many distinct strains of influenza, the shot may be ineffective for many.

Related: New York City Mandates That All Children Under 5 Receive Flu Vaccinations

Whether or not you choose to get a flu shot, there are many ways to strengthen the immune system with natural products. According to Egenberger, there are several natural immune boosters that, if taken regularly, should keep you healthy over the frigid, flu-invested wintertime.

As part of a balanced diet designed to ward off the flu, the naturopath recommends upping your daily intake of probiotics, elderberries and mushrooms. Probiotics inject good bacteria into the intestines to fortify the defense system and elderberries are full of antiviral properties, which can help avoid sickness or at least reduce or shorten the duration of the cold or flu.

Mushrooms are also a very important part of any diet because of their immune system-boosting abilities. “Shiitake in particular raises your white blood cell count and the natural killer cells that go after those viruses,” Egenberger said. Additional naturopathic recommendations include taking a cold shower to increase white blood cell circulation and reducing the intake of sugar, which can limit the ability of white blood cells to fight sickness.

Also for those wanting to keep healthy this winter, exercise is a major factor. Regular exercise boosts oxygen circulation through the body, while also increasing white blood cells and speeding up the lymphatic system, which is also known as the body’s sewer system.

Via DNA Info