During the winter months when sunlight exposure is minimal but exposure to cold and flu bugs is inevitable, it is important to have a strategy to help you and your family ward-off unwanted viral infection by boosting your immunity. There are many simple natural but effective solutions to help you prevent and treat your cold and flu symptoms. Some medications can be suppressive and overly potent, leaving you in a more depleted and imbalanced state, therefore it is always best to make lifestyle changes and use natural health products first. Here is what I have found effective!
Throughout the cold and flu season it is paramount that you are getting enough rest & exercise as well as proper intake of certain nutrients. Here are some simple suggestions to promote a healthy immune system capable of warding off unwanted viruses and/or decrease the intensity and duration of illness if you do fall sick.
1. Drink your lemons. Lemon is the ideal food for restoring acid-alkali balance. Drink freshly squeezed lemon juice in water, or adding it to tea, salad dressings (in place of vinegar), baking or cooking. Lemon helps maintain the body’s internal “climate” at a pH that supports healthy bacteria instead of harmful bacteria and viruses, which thrive in more acidic environments. Apple cider vinegar is another great way to improve your body’s alkalinity, but the taste of lemons is much more pleasant for children.
2. Drink plenty of water. Most headaches occur because many people still aren’t drinking enough water! Headaches and thirst are both signs of dehydration. You should be drinking, in daily ounces, half your body weight in pounds. ‘Water’ can include spring/filtered water, herbal teas, and 100% not from concentrate fruit and vegetable juices diluted with water.
3. Stop drinking coffee. Not only does caffeine promote dehydration, but it robs your body of minerals and vitamins. If you drink coffee, make sure you drink an additional two glasses of water per day for each cup of coffee you consume.
4. Decrease or avoid refined white sugar all together. If you do only one thing to boost your immune system, eliminating sugar will do the trick. You will see noticeable results in your energy levels, weight distribution, immunity and your ability to think clearly when you break the cravings and stop eating refined sugar. Honey is a great substitute as it has added immune boosting properties. Other healthier sugars such as agave and stevia do exist, but avoid artificial sweeteners; they are even worse than cane sugar.
5. Eat plenty of protein. Protein is a building block for a healthy body, mind, and immune system. Diets low in protein tend to be high in carbohydrates which convert readily to glucose, spiking blood sugar and stressing the pancreas and the immune system. It is important to choose healthy sources of protein such as beans, lentils, hemp seed hearts, fresh water fish, organic free-range eggs, organic chicken, and grass fed beef (lean cuts).
6. Stock up on raw fruits and vegetables for their antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and enzymes. The nutritional content that you receive from raw fruits and veggies is unparalleled. Many vitamins, including C, are antioxidants and will protect cells – including those of your immune system – from damage by toxins in the environment. Dark-coloured produce (berries, kale, and broccoli) tend to be higher in flavonoids, polyphenols and other antioxidants. The perfect source of minerals is seaweed. Add seaweed to your rice as it cooks to help reap some of the benefits from your sea vegetables.
7. Spend some time out in the cold. Exercise can make a noticeable difference to your health and happiness by releasing endorphins. Most of us spend 90% of our lives indoors, inhaling filtered air and other people’s germs, so take every opportunity to get outside. Time spent outdoors in the cold also stimulates the thyroid gland.
8. Supplement your diet with some key natural health products.
- Vitamin C: a very potent antioxidant and perhaps the key nutrient in treating viral conditions.
- Oil of Oregano: has powerful antiviral and antimicrobial activity.
- Echinacea: enhances immune function and dries up mucus.
- Vitamin D: an amazingly effective antimicrobial agent. It is now believed one potential symptom of vitamin D deficiency is catching a cold, flu, or other infection. The best source of vitamin D is direct sun exposure; if this is not possible oral supplementation is advisable.
- Beta-Carotene: protects and heals mucus membranes.
- Zinc: soothes and heals sore throat and is an immune booster.
9. Heal with Homeopathy. Undergoing a constitutional case taking and commencing your constitutional remedy is the first step to improving your immunity & immune response. Remember, it IS healthy for children to catch approximately 5 viruses a year (adults approx. 2) because this is how we build natural immunity. Thus, it is not coming down with an illness that is a sign of imbalanced health, but rather the duration and how successful your immune system fights a virus that can point to lower immunity. There are general homeopathic remedies that can help treat basic symptoms of cold and flu in an acute illness, as well as many specific remedies that a professional homeopath can prescribe for more intense and long lasting illnesses. Other preventative strategies include Oscillocccinum OR Influenzinum and Oil of Oregano. Talk to your homeopath for more information.
If you have any questions or concerns about your health book a 15 minute complimentary information session at K-W Homeopathic Wellness Centre today. Homoeopathy can help you heal!
Andrea Hauser, Homeopath