Staying healthy this time of year can be a challenge if those around you are getting sick.
Sorting through the hundred of products at your local health food store can be quite confusing, so here are my top picks and tips to keep you and your family well this cold & flu season.
Probiotics ( good bacteria) – A large portion of our immune system is in the gut. Intestinal flora play a significant role in our overall health and immunity. Probiotics directly support the immune system. My preferred probiotic comes from Genestra’s HMF line of probiotics.
Vitamin D3 – supplementation is not only effective for cancer prevention but for a long list of other conditions such as osteoporosis, heart disease, autoimmune conditions and cold and flu prevention. Most people in North America likely need at least 2,000 IU/day,
Sleep – Research has shown that there is a direct link between sleep and the immune system. Make sure sleep is at the top of the list of things to do to stay healthy this fall.
Eat Healthy – Sugar prevents the immune system from functioning optimally. Optimize immune system with wholefoods such as quinoa, brown rice, nuts, seeds, juicing and lots of veggies.
Anti-oxidants – research demonstrates that antioxidant are abundant in fruits and vegetables which is why juicing can be so beneficial. Having trouble getting them in? Why not try a food supplement powder such as Oragnic Greens and Reds. Just one scoop is equivalent to 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables.
Wash your hands – it sounds obvious, but many people forget. Hot water and simple bar soap frequently throughout the day is another simple and powerful tool.
What to do if you do get a cold or flu
The symptoms of the cold and flu are numerous: fever, chills, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, and feeling downright miserable. Generally speaking colds come on gradually over the course of a few days with milder symptoms, while the flu, has more severe and intense symptoms such as whole body aches, fever, headache and chills and can last upwards of two weeks.
Rest. This may be hard to do, but it is important to slow down, rest and sleep as much as possible. Our bodies recover and heal during sleep so the more sleep the better.
Herbal Teas -drinking warm herbal tea, like ginger, licorice, slippery elm, and echinacea can help to soothe a sore throat.
Don’t feed a fever – staying hydrated with broths and soups (especially homemade bone broth or mineral rich veggie stock) is a great way to help hydrate the body while providing simple to absorb nutrients.
Vitamin D – Increasing vitamin D3 supplementation during colds and flu
Vitamin C- Lots of research supports the healing power of vitamin C. Most forms of vitamin C on the store shelf are synthetically made. Camu Camu is a wonderful food based supplement that is extremely high vitamin C content. It does come in powder and capsule form.
Probiotics – Supports the re-population of good bacteria in the intestinal tract needed for digestive health and immune system function. My preferred probiotic comes from Genestra’s HMF line of probiotics.
Steam inhalation – boiling some water and pour it into a large bowl with a few drops of essential oils like peppermint, tea tree or eucalyptus. Drape your head with a towel and place your face 8 or so inches above the bowl and breathe in as much as possible through your nose. I recommend steaming for a good 15-20 minutes for best results. You can blow your nose periodically as needed to help decongest the sinuses.
Neti pot – The premise behind neti pots is a simple one, but it’s surprisingly effective. The action of moving water through the the nasal passages works to push mucus out. Meanwhile, the salt in the solution helps to cleanse the environment within the nasal passages. This prevents excess bacterial growth and infection, helping the sinuses to recover more rapidly.
Salt Inhaler – Salt inhalation therapy has been used to boost overall respiratory strength and lung capacity. Studies from the 1800’s found that breathing pure, ionized (salted) air in salt mines could help reduce respiratory problems and the general irritation cause by smoking and air pollution.
Anti-Viral and Anti-Bacterial Herbs – Did you know that there are more than 400 different viruses that can cause infections, including the common cold. Sometimes, bacteria can infect the ears or sinuses during a viral infection — this is known as a secondary bacterial infection. Many antiviral and anti-bacterial herbs boost the immune system, which allows the body to attack the pathogens. Examples include echinacea, elderberry, cats claw, grapefruit seed extract, olive leaf, garlic, goldenseal, wormwood and oregano oil. ( Some herbs interact with medications, so read up on an herb before you begin consuming them)
Anti-oxidants – research shows that antioxidant are abundant in fruits and vegetables which is why juicing can be so beneficial. Having trouble getting them in? Why not try a food supplement powder such as Organic Greens and Reds. Just one scoop is equivalent to 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables.
Wet Socks – this one scares people away, but I promise you it is very effective in relieving congestion and headaches.
Ionic Detoxing Foot Bath – Detoxing foot baths produces millions of positive and negative ions in the foot bath water. Increasing negative ions reduces negative symptoms in humans, and leaves people with an overall increased sense of well-being.
Fisherman’s Friends – Original Extra Strength – this may be an odd one to recommend but this particular formula can be very helpful for temporary relief of cough, sore throat and nasal congestion. (other flavours are available but I DO NOT recommend the them because of the artificial ingredients)
Homeopathics – There are several homeopathics that I work with with my clients depending on their symptoms.
Oscillococcinum – helps reduces the duration of flu-like symptoms such as body aches, headaches, fever, and chills and does not cause drowsiness.
Belladonna 30C – great for managing fevers and throbbing headaches
Coryzalia® – is a homeopathic medicine used for colds and cold symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, rhinitis (acute, recurrent, infectious or allergic).- great for restlessness and aching limbs, feeling to move almost constantly to ease pain, even when trying to sleep.
- work with your holistic health care practitioner to find the right remedy for your symptoms
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AVOID – Dairy, oranges and wheat which have been shown to contribute to congestion
AVOID – Sugar prevents the immune system from functioning optimally. Keep sugary foods as special treats – and away from illness – to optimize both developing and adult immune systems.
Recommendations listed here are generalized and may not be appropriate for all.
Schedule a telephone consultation for individualized recommendations.