10 Natural Ways to Avoid the Cold & Flu
Avoid Cold and Flu Bugs Naturally
Keep cold and flu bugs at bay with these natural strategies that boost your immune system. Skimping on sleep, healthy food and water, laughter and healthy friendships, can weaken your immune system putting you at risk for every cold and flu virus that comes your way.
Avoiding illness, especially colds and flu in winter, is possible when you take a healthy approach to living. Take control of your life with these 10 natural ways to prevent and treat colds and flu.
Adopt Healthy Lifestyle Habits
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
– My grandmother, a very wise woman.
Eat a healthy diet of “real food.”
You might also consider supplementing your diet with whole food multi-vitamins & minerals, and also extra vitamin C. Probiotics are especially important to keep your gut bacteria healthy. It’s said 80% of your immune system is located in your digestive system.
Get your vitamin D.
When the days turn dark (unless you live in Johannesburg!) and sunlight is in short supply, vitamin D levels can drop dramatically; putting you at risk for a myriad of health problems. From mental health issues including depression, impairment to muscles, bones, heart, circulation and more. Virtually every cell and tissue needs vitamin D for its well-being.
When sunlight is in short supply you have two options to get this vital health producing nutrient:
Supplementation – How much and what kind?
Tanning Bed Use – How much do you need and what type is safe and effective?
Are you at risk of vitamin D deficiency? What are the signs of deficiency? How much do you need?
Understand why vitamin D is critical to your health and how you can easily get the amount you need here: Vitamin D: Crucial to Your Health.
Washing Your Hands
Wash your hands with warm water and soap only. And keep your hands off your face. You can drastically reduce the likelihood of viruses entering your body by refraining from touching your eyes and mouth. Be zealous with kids. Train them well and they will habituate a healthy practice of keeping their hands clean.
Avoid Anti-Bacterial Soaps
Cold and flu viruses are not bacteria. Anti-bacterial soaps and antibiotics for that matter, may contribute to the creation of antibiotic-resistant bugs, and are not effective in killing cold and flu germs. Many anti-bacterial soaps and gels contain triclosan, a known endocrine disruptor. In 2014, the state of Minnesota banned its use in all antibacterial cleaning products.
NRDC Natural Resources Defense Council
Triclosan and triclocarban are antibacterial chemicals commonly added to consumer products. In laboratory studies, they have been shown to disrupt hormones and can encourage the growth of drug-resistant bacteria or
Keep your recovery room clean and tidy.
If you’re well enough, make sure your bed is neat, clothes are picked up and there is no garbage or dirty dishes sitting around. For those of you that don’t mind a bit of disarray, I have this to say, “What’s in the mind is reflected in your environment.” If you disagree, that’s okay. It is what it is.
Avoid touching surfaces when out and about. And insist others wash their hands well when coming into your home.
Cough into your elbow. Encourage others, especially children to do the same.
Drink ½ your body weight in ounces of pure, filtered water.
Exercise is especially important when outside temperatures keep most of us indoors. Physical activity promotes healthy brain chemicals and stimulates the immune system. Dance, do yoga, whatever you can to stay active.
Your thoughts are everything.
“As you think so shall you be.”
Be mindfully aware of what you are telling yourself. Be thankful for everything and endeavor to train yourself to see the blessings in everything.
Invest in Yourself
I cannot begin to tell you how powerful and important this is to your well-being. Caring and nurturing your “Self,” strengthens your immune system and creates an overall healthier physiology.
What can you do to invest in yourself?
Adopt Good Habits we have discussed:
1. Food & Water (Diet)
4. Mental Attitude
Nature/God has given us a plant for our every need. Eating naturally grown whole foods that nourish your body, are your best defense against cold and flu germs. Junk foods and artificial beverages weaken your body’s defenses, making you susceptible to any bug that may come your way.
While we know good hygiene plays a large part in staying healthy, there is much more to avoiding colds than washing your hands. And while cleanliness happens on the outside, your inside is even more important when it comes to warding off cold and flu germs. What you eat, drink, and even think, will determine your ability to resist viruses any time of the year. Yes, your thoughts are very important when it comes to your well-being. Negative thoughts lead to poor food and drink choices, lack of exercise and an unhealthy body.
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Prevention & Treatment Therapies
Fasting is highly beneficial when you’re feeling ill. Your body will heal quicker when toxins are removed and the body’s digestive system can get a much-needed rest. For more on this ancient practice of healing and its miraculous benefits, see the article Benefits of Water Fasting.
As mentioned previously in the Good Habits section of Part 1, getting adequate water into your system is vital to your healing and well-being. It is essential for the body’s repair and maintenance. Whether you’re healthy or under the weather, keep a drinking glass nearby at all times. Peruse our article Ten Tips to Drinking More Water.
A lack of water can cause memory loss, fatigue, dementia and a host of other “dis-eases.”
Hot herbal teas such as chamomile, peppermint and lemon balm have a multitude of medicinal benefits and are soothing to the throat in addition to containing many vitamins and minerals.
Garlic is perhaps one of the most powerful “super foods,” on the planet. It's not only the strongest antibiotic, it's also anti-viral, anti-germicidal, anti-fungal, and contains anti-inflammatory properties as well. Garlic has many medicinal qualities, and if you do not currently eat it, start. Fresh is best. If you cook it, let it rest for several minutes before using in your recipes. For best potency add it towards the end of the cooking process.
This potent herb has anti-viral compounds that specifically fight rhinoviruses, the leading cause of the common cold. Ginger is included in almost all our green and fruit drinks. I slice up fresh pieces and add to my teapot.
Whether it's in a tincture form or dried, ginseng has been shown to stimulate the immune system. It's an effective and safe means for preventing acute respiratory illness. It can also can cut the severity of cold symptoms.
Although not related to ginseng, it has similar effects including immune-boosting anti-viral properties.
Maitake, Reishi & Shiitake Mushrooms
Mushrooms rev up your immune system and defend against a number of viruses.
This immune strengthening anti-viral herb has been used for a millennia in Chinese medicine.
Cough & Sore Throat Drink
I've been making this concoction for friends and family for decades. It is soothing and increases the body’s pH which is crucial to maintaining good health.
Pour ½ c. of very hot, pure water into a cup. Add the juice of half a fresh organic lemon, 1-2 T. raw, unfiltered, preferably local honey and 1-2 t. organic apple cider vinegar, with the mother (Bragg’s is possibly the best).
Drink a tablespoon at a time. Keep this mixed up and drink a spoonful as needed. Be mindful with children as they will want a lot of honey. Honey has medicinal qualities, however, they really need the vinegar and lemon. Everyone, especially children, are hardwired for sugar/sweets.
Anti-Flu/Cold Remedy & Treatment
In a glass or quart jar, pour 1-2 cups of just-to-boiling water in a cup. Add your favorite herb tea bag, 1-2 T. of raw, unfiltered honey and ½ t. cayenne powder. Sip it slowly.
When my kids looked like they were slowing down, I’d have them take this drink. My oldest used to say, “Mom, we don’t dare get sick around here!”
Cayenne is called the king of herbs for good reason. It has anti-fungal properties, digestive aid, anti-bacterial, soothes upset stomach, irritating coughs, and sore throats. Similar to other herbs, it provides vitamins and minerals, specifically vitamin c, much needed when the immune system is weak and the body is struggling to heal.
Our ingenious creator gave us a plant for virtually every ailment that afflicts humanity.
“And its fruit shall be for food and its leaf for medicine.”
Here’s a list of food that is healthy for you. Including these in your diet will help to keep you healthy, especially during the “germ season.”
Mountain Rose Herbs
Sage Woman Herbs
The information contained herein is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment in any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition.
Always consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional or exercise program.
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The information on this site is not intended to replace the advice of a holistic healthcare provider who may be familiar with your individual health-related issues.