I had always been one of those “lucky” people.
Or so I thought.
I had attributed it to having ‘OCD – like tendencies’ to wash my hands often and keep them clean. There is something to be said for being conscientious of what your hands touch ex:(riding public transit, touching door handles, handling money etc) and to wash them before they touch your face or before eating food.
I have noticed that over the last couple years my stress levels have been higher and energy levels have been lower, and that I have experienced an increase in cold and flus. My hand washing has helped but I still ended up getting more sick compared to the past.
I am not saying that I am getting sick constantly, (I actually still rarely get sick… knock on wood), but it is a slight increase compared to just a couple years ago (when I wasn’t in school, juggling work, juggling a home, starting a new business and all that other fun stuff).
Washing our hands is SUPER important but it can only get us so far, as our immune system strength plays a HUGE role in our defense against cold and flus. Today we will be digging into how to strengthen our immune system as well as looking at some natural remedies for a cold or flu.
Let’s get the show on the road and dive in! ?
11 Ways to strengthen your immune system and avoid a cold or flu
- Get enough sleep! Sleep 7-9 hours if you can;
- Try to avoid major immune system compromisers such as stress and inadequate diet (check in with yourself occasionally and think about how you are doing in these areas);
- Manage your stress (practice stress reducing techniques ex: walking, working out, yoga, journaling or whatever is something that you enjoy);
- Keep your liver strong and healthy (lemon water, dandelion and milk thistle are great liver supporters!);
- Echinacea boosts the immune system (taken short term, no longer than 3 months);
- Eat a colourful diet with nutrient dense foods (think fruits, vegetables, whole grains, organic good quality protein sources) and LOW in processed foods and alcohol;
- Eat vitamin C rich foods as vitamin C is extremely important for our immune system! (think bright coloured fruit and veggies);
- Consume zinc rich foods such as wheat germ, oysters, pumpkin seeds, sunflowers seeds, mushrooms as it helps to support your immune system;
- Consume plenty of garlic (I promise your breath will be amazing!). Garlic contains germanium which is a trace element that is immune system supporting and it contains selenium which has many functions, one of them being immune system support;
- Avoid immune system bashers such as sugar, processed foods, alcohol, high fat animal products;
- Get regular exercise (not only does it lower stress but it can actually boosts your immunity) (but don’t over exercise as this will have the opposite effect) Listen to your body!
Natural remedies to help you beat your cold or flu
- Replace fluid loss. This can also help to lower your body temperature if you have a fever;
- Drink plenty of warm fluids (broths, soups, water, teas, juices) try to avoid foods until your fever breaks;
- Avoid taking any iron/zinc supplements as they are not properly absorbed while a fever is active;
- Try to avoid temperature changes at home;
- Let the fever run its course (Allowing a low grade fever to run its course can actually be a good thing as an elevated temperature helps to combat infection).
- Try to not block your body from doing its job of expelling and detoxifying (runny nose, sneezing etc), try to allow the secretions that contain the virus to naturally flow out of your body instead of blocking them using antihistamines;
- Taking a mixture of echinacea with goldenseal has been shown to provide immune system support and natural antibiotic capabilities;
- Ginger (think ginger tea) can help the common cold!
- Help your lymphatic system get rid of the excess garbage (consider dry brushing, plenty of fluids, warm baths);
- Take vitamin C at the first sign of a cold as it can help shorten or even stop the cold in its tracks;
- Drink plenty of warm broths (which will also help to keep your body hydrated);
- Try to be somewhat active as this will help to move your fluids/mucus around and get you better faster!
- Avoid mucus forming foods such as dairy while you are sick as your body is trying to remove excess mucus;
- Buy a new toothbrush as they can harbour viruses;
- Cayenne helps to keep the mucus flowing and supports the removal of congestion;
- Be patient, take care of yourself and you will be better soon!
And of course, remember, if you do end up getting sick, wash your hands and everything that you touch as you don’t want to get anyone else sick! It may be a good opportunity to lay in bed with a cup of tea and catch up on your fave show and take it easy until your bug is gone. By resting, your giving your body a chance to do its job and get you better faster! ?
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Till next time (don’t forget to wash your hands),