WOW! ‘Tis the season for sick kids, exhausted parents and days off work/school! Cold season and sickness bugs are in full flow… So heres a few natural methods you can try to get yourself back onto the road to recovery!!!
Conventional Medicine: If you’re a conventional kinda guy/gal, then paracetamol or cold and flu tablets, some nasal spray and tons of tissues are the way forward.
However, if like me you prefer to practise prevention daily and take a more natural route to build your body and immune system up for the future, you could try the other options below:
Practise Self Care daily: Self care is paramount! Its a fundamental component to leading a happy, healthy and long life, as without our health, we cant enjoy any of the things life has to offer! How do we do this?
Nutrition is key! Flood your body with nutrient-dense whole foods and quality calories (think fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains) to support your immune system. You want to try and consume 10 fist-sized portions of fruit and veg a day. If you cant manage that (who can??) then using wise whole food supplementation would help you bridge that dietary gap.
Check out our HEALTH section for evidence-based products to help you support your immune system and DNA.
Chow down your natural Vitamin C – not through vitamin tablets, but by eating citrus fruits. Taking 8g of vitamin C daily can shorten a cold by 19%, according to research from the University of Helsinki.
Prioritise sleep: This ensures your body repairs on a cellular level each day and is thus at full capacity when fighting off viruses.
Keep your Vitamin D levels up: Vitamin D is essential for our bodies and our immune system, yet we can only really get Vitamin D through exposure to the sun – so dreary old English weather makes most Brits Vitamin D deficient. Synthetic isolated Vitamin D tablets are not the best solution – unless of course its a high quality liposome oral spray with Vitamin K2, such as the one supplied by www.atmanclinic.co.uk
So, during the summer months, it’s actually recommended to get a little morning sun for 15 minutes to your skin, in order to absorb some much needed Vitamin D from the UVB rays, and in winter months, opt for a high quality supplement as per above.
Stay Hydrated: One of the keys to staying healthy is to stay hydrated. Water is THE only nutrient that has been shown to enhance performance for all activities concerning your body. Water helps to carry oxygen to your body cells, which results in properly functioning systems and unblocking mucus. It also works in supporting our vital organs (particularly kidneys) which then remove toxins from the body, so drinking more of it help prevents toxins from building up and having a negative impact on your immune system.
Another way that drinking water boosts the immune system is by collecting bacteria from the body and transporting it to the lymph nodes, where that bacteria is destroyed like the parasite that it is. Think of a glass of water as a waterfall, cascading into your body – the more that you manage to consume and within normal guidelines, the more work your lymph nodes can do.
An accurate amount of how much water to drink is found like this: Take your body weight and divide it in half, then drink that many ounces per day (plus more if you work out, are really active, are pregnant, nursing, or are fighting an illness or disease).
Go Herbal: Western medical herbalist Marie Mulcahy suggests a ‘tisane footbath’, which involves dunking your feet in a hot tub of infused herbs. You can use either fresh or dried herbs (if fresh leaf, use 3 teaspoons; if dried, use 2 teaspoons) of the following: Peppermint, Crushed garlic, Echinacea, Thyme and Rosemary.
“Make a strong infusion by pouring boiling water over the herbs,’ says Mulcahy. ‘Let the mixture stand for 30 minutes with a cover on top, as this will bring all the essential oils and the active plant ingredients out of the herbs. When cool enough to put your feet in, pour into a bowl with the tisane and steep your feet for 10-15 mins. Do three times a day.” Mulcahy also suggests using the above mixture as a drinkable herbal tea, which you can consume throughout the day.
Blocked Noses: Specifically for stuffy noses, at the start of a cold, taking a hot shower or bath and allowing the steam to build up will help ease congestion, as will a warm flannel over your face – try adding a flew slices of ginger to the water first for a boost, or a few drops of peppermint oil!
Alternatively you can have a face massage, using some essential oils to get things moving! One other remedy is to chew on some horseradish – worth a shot eh?
Make a ‘Fire Mix’: For throats that feel like you’re swallowing razor blades, Mulcahy has a recipe for a ‘fire’ mix. You’ll need the following ingredients:
• Two teaspoons of dried sage leaves
• 200ml of boiling water
• Small sliced cayenne pepper or a pinch of dried chilli powder
• Two tablespoons of good quality honey (raw or Manuka is best as it has the most antibacterial, anti-viral properties)
• Pinch of sea salt
• A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar; organic is key
‘This is a great natural remedy for infection,’ she says. ‘Mix the sage and cayenne or chilli powder in a jug and pour over the water. Leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes, then add the salt, honey and vinegar, and stir well. Gargle this three times a day, or put it, cold, into a small spray bottle that you can spray on the back of your throat as needed.’ Genius eh?
Try Oil Pulling: No, this isn’t just for whiter teeth – it’s an antimicrobial. The remedy, based on the ancient practice of Ayurveda, uses coconut oil to pull the germs from your mouth. Simply swill a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for one minute, making sure you suck it through your teeth and don’t leave out your gums. Spit it out and rinse your mouth with warm water. It really works!!!
Stock Up On Soups: Chicken is supposedly the best as it contains anti-inflammatory properties to get rid of a cold fast. One study found that soup containing chicken, onions, sweet potato, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery stems and parsley, with the addition of salt and pepper, reaped the greatest rewards.
However, if youre a veggie, why not try munching on some garlic? Research shows that they’re best eaten when baked, not raw, and have huge antibacterial properties!
Eat Raw Honey: New health guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Public Health England (PHE) state that a spoonful of raw honey should be your first port of call when battling a cold head on – thanks to its antibacterial benefits. Add to a cup of hot water with lemon and enjoy daily.
Pop A Probiotic: A study by The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey found that people who take a high quality probiotic experience colds that are two days shorter in duration, have symptoms that are 34% less severe, and need to take fewer days off, than people who don’t supplement. For an excellent high performance probiotic, take a look at Flora Syntrophy, via www.atmanclinic.co.uk
I really hope this helps! Theres so much we can do naturally to support our body and immune system: Prevention is ALWAYS better than cure, dont you think?