If You Still Get A Cold Or Flu: 7 Tips
You’ve been taking all of my recommendations to heart, right? Maybe so, perhaps not. So what if you get sick anyway? If you are new to the world of holistic health and radical good nutrition, trust me, any small changes for the better will pay off! But, it may take some time before you see a marked difference in being able to ward off
common viruses. I’ve heard that the things you do this year to improve your immune system actually yield the biggest payoff next year. My own experience has been that, after recovering from food sensitivities and way to much junk food, as well as learning some long, hard lessons about stress, I am, indeed, finally noticing a huge difference. I have actually succumbed to a virus only once in the past 3 years.
At the moment, however, there are sick people at my house who need my help. My husband is a pretty healthy guy, but when a stomach bug gets him, he’s really frustrated. I’ve been doing all sorts of things to help my family heal more quickly, and to be less miserable while they fight off the sickness. I want to share some of my favorite tips with you today.
1) Drink plenty of liquids, but not just water. Warm liquids, like herbal teas, water with lemon juice, chicken or miso soup are a help to your immune system – partly because they help you keep warm. Sipping these slowly will help you stay hydrated, and the herbs will help fight any infection. I’m using the word “warm” because some practitioners believe that keeping the water just below the boiling point is better for immune health. Also, in the case of miso soup, cooking the miso will kill the beneficial bacteria.
2) Keep the mucous membranes moist. In our dry, Colorado climate, or any place that is being artificially heated, a humidifier can help with this. I also have my family moisturize the inside of the nostrils, using either coconut oil or similar non-toxic moisturizer. Take care to test a tiny amount before coating the entire area, in case you are sensitive. If the moisturizer burns slightly (or a lot!) use something else.
3) Rest and sleep. This should seem obvious, but we adults have lots to do, and we sometimes make things even harder on ourselves by not heeding our bodies’ many messages, such as “MUST…SLEEP…NOW.”
4) Use garlic, cinnamon, and ginger. Garlic and cinnamon are naturally antibiotic. Use any way you can tolerate them, but fresh, raw minced garlic is best. Cinnamon does well mixed with a bit of local, raw and unfiltered honey. Mix into herbal tea or eat off the spoon. Ginger has long been known to help against nausea and headache. Mince and steep it in near-boiling water for tea, or put it in juice. Which brings me to my next tip.
5) Make fresh vegetable juice, and drink it within 15 minutes. Your body does not need a lot of food when fighting off a short-term illness. However, the potential to become dehydrated exists, especially if you have a fever or are vomiting. Fresh juice is highly nutritious and easily digestible. Use greens, such as celery, spinach, kale, Swiss chard or cucumber. Add a little carrot and/or beet (a little because these are full of sugar). Then, add useful ingredients such as half a lemon or 1/2 inch piece of ginger root. A handful of chopped parsley helps, too. Last, you may want to include a bit of fruit, for flavor, such as apple or grapefruit. Keep it to a small amount, like 1/2 of a small apple. Mix about 2 parts juice to 1 part water, or add warm herbal tea to dilute.
6) Consume cultured foods. (You knew I would say this, right?) Remember that miso or chicken soup I talked about? Add a few tablespoons of lacto-fermented sauerkraut or winter beets. (Remember to never cook them, as heat destroys beneficial microbes.) The miso, as I mentioned, is also cultured. I would not recommend yogurt or kefir, at least for a few days. But after that, go for it. Why? See my last tip.
7) Avoid any foods that will aggravate your body. This would include processed foods, white flour, sugar, or products made with these. Leave out dairy products as they cause your body to create an abundance of mucous, and are difficult to digest. (Cultured dairy can be added back soon!) Obviously, avoid any food that you know you have a hard time tolerating or digesting. This frees up your body to focus more energy on healing, and less on dealing with the crud you may think you want to eat for “comfort.”
There are, of course, many other helpful tips for navigating illnesses due to viruses. I have tried to stick to the easiest and most important, in my mind, at least. I also found a fine post by a lady whose work I greatly appreciate, Wellness Mama. You can read it by clicking here. She includes most of the same things I list here, but her post is a lot longer and she has many valuable pointers on this topic. Get well soon, my friends!