I was on Facebook this morning, and it seemed like there were a large number of posts where friends were talking about being sick. It is that time of year, and flu season is upon us. It is no fun to be under the weather, and sickness can be prevented if we listen to our bodies and follow the tips below.
These 10 tips will build up your immune system and hopefully fight off that nasty bug that is just waiting to inhabit your body.
1. Sleep – I cannot stress this one enough. If you are starting to feel a cold or flu come on, sleep will be your savior. Try to get 8 hours at least for a couple nights. This will allow your body to fight any potential invaders on its own.
2. Eat healthy foods – be on your best behavior when it comes to your diet. That especially means eliminating refined sugars and flours, alcohol, dairy and anything processed (best to stick to foods that are in their pure form…veggies, whole grains). Sugar and alcohol are especially important to eliminate as they lower the immune system’s ability to fight invaders. Dairy is another important food to eliminate as it encourages the production of mucous (sorry to be a bit graphic, but it’s true).
3. Eat Your leafy greens – leafy greens are so packed full of nutrients and they help to detoxify the system. They will also build up your immunity. If you feel a cold coming on, cook up a large amount of kale, collard greens, mustard greens, or any other of your favorite greens. Although this may sound weird, drink the water you have used to boil the greens after you are done. When you cook greens, many of the nutrients cook out into the water. Drinking the water will give you an extra boost of nutrients.
4. Take Echinacea – This is helpful for building up the immune system. Echinacea is available in tincture form (drops), capsules, or as a tea. I like the tincture form best when I want a very potent dose. The tea is also nice. Celestial Seasonings makes a nice echinacea tea that also has eucalyptus in it.
5. Bombard yourself with Soups and Teas – Soups and teas are especially healing and will also loosen any congestion that you may have. Make sure you make brothy soups and avoid the use of cream. Add ginger, curry or cayenne to your soup. These are anti-inflammatory and will soothe the throat. Cayenne will break up congestion and clear the sinuses. You can also make a tea out of ginger by adding a couple pieces to some boiling water with a little honey. Garlic and onions are also great to add to soups as they have anti-viral/anti-bacterial properties. Sea salt can be added to your soups as well to act as a nice disinfectant for the throat.
6. Try a Neti Pot – If you feel congestion coming on, you can buy a small teapot like device especially designed for nasal irrigation. I know this sounds like a really good time, but it will help immensely. You can get this at Walgreens and fill it with a sea salt and water solution. After using your neti, rub a little sesame oil in your nasal passages. This prevents your nasal passages from drying out and becoming irritated (this is often how colds start). Be sure to use purified water (not tap water) in your neti pot.
7. Avoid Citrus – Most people think that they should drink orange juice to prevent the onset of a cold. This is because of the vitamin C it contains. However, many people do not know that citrus can increase the production of mucous. It is a great food, but it should be avoided when a cold is beginning or in process.
8. Take Vitamin C capsules and/or zinc lozenges – These will help to prevent a cold. I usually take at least 1000 mg of vitamin C when I feel a cold coming on.
9. Eucalyptus and Peppermint oils – if you begin to get a little congested, take a hot shower and put a few drops of eucalyptus and peppermint oils in the bottom of your shower. This will open your sinuses and will feel great!
10. Sweat – The best way to sweat if you are about to get sick is through a far infared sauna. This is a particular technology of sauna that is especially gentle on the body. Although it is gentle, you will still get a great sweat which will help you to detoxify and support the immune system. Make sure to bundle up on your way home (especially covering the neck and head) since you will be wet from the sauna. There should be a spa in your area that has a far infared sauna. Make sure to not do heavy exercise as this may tire the body and prevent it from fighting off a flu.
If for some reason you are not able to prevent sickness, continue to follow the tips above. If you have a cough, a vaporizer is a wonderful thing to have. It will help you fall asleep so you can get the rest you need to heal.
Also, remember that stress will greatly hinder the healing process. So if you should get sick, this is your body’s way of telling you to slow down and take it easy for a while. Do some nice things for yourself like a hot bath or watch your favorite movies. You will be back in fighting shape in no time!