How to STAY HEALTHY during the COLD and FLU SEASON!
As the weather changes and fall blows in, the cold and flu season will not be far behind. Start building your health now so that you will be able to ward off illness. After all, we are only as healthy as our defenses allow us to be. I am going to share several EASY tips to ensure that you stay healthy!!
H is for Hydrate
It is important to stay properly hydrated. 70% of our cells are made up of water. Poor hydration weakens the body's immune system.Clean water is also important. Chemical disinfectants, pesticides, and derivatives of pharmaceuticals are common contaminants of the municipal water systems. Well water can be high in pesticides, and heavy metals like lead, cadmium or uranium. All of these toxins affect your health in a negative capacity. Have your water tested and consider investing in a water purification system. There are several options depending on your filtration needs. The best choice is a whole home filter, which filters your drinking water, your showers, your laundry and lawn water. There are also sink filtration, shower filtration, or tub balls that remove chlorine and other solvents. The cleaner your water supply, the cleaner your water within.
E is for Eat Well
We are what we eat. THIS IS A FACT, unfortunately. The food we put into our body should be foods that make us thrive. We have to consider the PURPOSE of food, which is to provide FUEL for our body and to give us ENERGY. We need to eat plenty of foods that are ALIVE and full of vitamins and minerals and enzymes like raw fruits and vegetables. We need to eat COLOR and VARIETY so that we get an array of nutritional support. Avoid sugar and processed foods. Packaged foods do not have much nutritional value and they often contain loads of sugar. DID you KNOW that 1 tsp of sugar reduces the immune system by 70% for about 4 hrs?? Sugar causes the body to become acidic which feeds inflammation. Sugar causes dysbiosis in the gut, which promotes yeast/bacterial overgrowth. Processed foods also contain a lot of chemicals and preservatives that all have negative health effects. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store or visit the farmers markets. Load up on fresh celery, onions, and carrots for making broths. Eat foods that grow locally, that are in season and fresh. FOOD IS MEDCI
A is for Air (Clean AIR)
The air quality inside our homes can play an important role in keeping us healthy. The Environmental Protection Agency has done several studies showing that the highest concentration of chemical air pollutants are inside, not outside, the home. Why? We fill our air-tight homes with man-made carpets, cleaners, furniture, fragrances, and etcetera. These products are all made from petrochemical products, solvents, and formaldehydes! If we live in older homes, especially here in Houston, there is tendency for mold which can cause respiratory issues, digestive issues, immune suppression and a variety of other health issues. Viruses, bacteria and other infectious agents linger in air that is stagnant and not filtered properly as well. Cleaning up your air supply can dramatically reduce your expose to toxins, molds, and disease causing pathogens. Here are a couple tips for creating a healthy indoor environment:
1. Remove/Avoid sources of pollutants · carpeting, candles, paints, household cleaners, pesticides, molds, perfumes, etc.
2. Purchase good air purification systems · Austin Air, Blue Air, IQ Air
3. Incorporate plants that clean the air · Mass cane, Pot mum, Gerbera Daisy, Striped Dracaena, Ficus · These are the top 5 plants, identified by NASA, to clean the air.
L is for Love
Love and nurturing help us to feel more relaxed, more safe, and help us to lower our stress response. The immune system and the "stress response" are directly related. In fact, it is well-established that high cortisol levels suppress secretory IgA, an important immunoglobin that is found in our saliva and our gut. Love and nurture yourself, your spouse, your kids and whomever else you feel compelled to love. Research has proven that the more you practice feeling the emotion of love, the more lasting the effects.
T is for Tummy Support
Approximately 70% of the immune system is derived from the GI Tract! This is why our GUT is often referred to as our 2nd Brain. Stress, anxiety, and fear are all emotions that tend to weaken the digestion. Sugar, inappropriate diet, bacterial imbalances, and parasites can also weaken the digestive health. Make sure to take extra care of you digestive tract and consider using digestive enzymes, probiotics, and/or glutamine for extra support. To see my entire GUT HEALTH BLOG, click here...
H for Hydrotherapy, Herbals, and Homeopathy
Hydrotherapy is an old naturopathic therapy that is very effective for boosting the immune system. The purpose hydrotherapy is to heat the body in order to increase lymph flow and to increase your white blood cells (this is your army again invading bacteria or viruses). Hydrotherapies strengthen and heal the digestive system, help to normalize circulation, sooth the nervous system, stimulate elimination and detoxifying processes, and stimulate our "vital force" or life energy. Hydrotherapy has a sedating action and many patients report that they sleep much better after the treatment.
Herbals provide excellent immune support! Herbals can be prepared in many forms: Teas (decoctions/Infusions), Tinctures (liquid extract), syrups, or for topical/inhalation purposes. A couple good immune boosting herbals that you can find at local health food store include:
Elderberry - Elderberry is my favorite herbal for kiddos (and adults)! It is a powerful antiviral and Immune booster. It is full of antioxidants and it tastes yummy. It can be given as a preventative during the cold or flu season or used in higher doses for acute illness.
Astragalus (Huang Chi) - Astragalus has been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Astragalus has been shown to enhance and strengthen the immune system. It enhances cytotoxicity of NK cells, potentiates interlekin-2 cell cytotoxicity, and enhances T Cell function
Yarrow (Achillea) - Yarrow is known for its diaphoretic action. It can reduce profound fevers. It is astringent, cleansing and cooling in its actions which means that it helps to clear congestion and inflamed tissues, while reducing heat or fever. Yarrow can be taken internally or brew a tea for Inhalation and steam.
Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Thyme,and Rosemary are all great anti-microbials for the respiratory tract and help to clear congestion. They are also great for cleaning and disinfecting also. Purchase good quality essential oils and you can use them for cleaning, inhalation or steam, and you can ingest them internally (if they are FOOD grade).
Homeopathy - "energy medicine”.Homeopathy is based on two principles. The Law of Similars (like cures like) and Minimal Dosing. Homeopathy is a great tool for you and your family. It is the most gentle form of medicine but can be one of the most effective when used correctly. You can readily find homeopathy at health food stores or online so don't be afraid to experiment.
My favorite homeopathic remedies for the cold and flu season:
Boiron's homeopathic "Oscillococcinum” (Use to treat symptoms OR as a preventative).
If you are coming down with a cold or flu and you feel very chilly, heavy, slow and achy then Homeopathic Gelsemium 30c might be indicated.
For deep bone pain/ache use homeopathic Eupatorium 30c.
For coughs that are sticky and non productive, accompanied by paroxysms of deep cough consider usingAntimonium tart 30c.
When you are sick and you feel extremely irritable, nauseous, and chilled then you will likely need Nux vomica 30c.
If you feel weak, sweaty, and hot but seek more heat then Arsenicum alb. 30c. is your remedy.
These HEALTH-ful tips will surely help you and your loved ones stay healthy this cold and flu season!
Erica Campbell, ND
(This information is intended for educational purposes only)