“The Best Defense is a Good Offense!”


5 Ways to Combat Cold & Flu Season Naturally

By Maria Tabone

12/17/2012 | 02:44 PM


‘Tis that time of year again when, in addition to holiday cheer, comes cold  and flu season! The good news is that some simple steps towards prevention can  keep you healthy all year long and safe from those nasty, contagious  bugs.

1)  The first line of defense is to maintain a healthy immune system  year-round.  A good start is eating a proper diet  including seasonal  vegetables (sweet potatoes, winter squashes, kale, spinach, collard greens and  carrots are best in winter), and also beans, nuts, whole grains, lean proteins  and healthy fats.  Try to incorporate red peppers since they are  packed with vitamin C.  And eat your mushrooms! They are wonderful immune  boosters and good for the respiratory system.

2) Minimize sugar as best you can.  I recommend total  elimination, but as a realist–and especially at this time of year with sweet  treats aplenty–we set ourselves up to fail with an all-or-nothing approach.  Enjoy what you eat but don’t overdo the bad stuff.

 3) Winter is a great time for staying indoors and indulging in your  hobbies, which also helps if you suffer from the winter blues. Enjoy social  connections that bring you joy but try not to over-schedule yourself.  Yoga  and tai chi are great for bringing the body back to balance, along with  meditation which calms the mind.  Keep in mind that excessive, high-impact  exercise can sometimes hinder your immune system if you are already exhausted  and depleted. Most importantly, when you get sick your body is telling you it  needs to be recharged, so honor that and be kind to yourself by resting.

4) Below are some great natural remedieswhether you are sick or you feel something coming on.  As always with any  herb or supplement, consult with your doctor first since certain herbs may  interact negatively with prescription drugs. Also, when buying herbs make sure  they are standardized and buy organic whenever possible.

Andrographis– This Ayurvedic  herb has been called the “Indian Echinacea.”  Researchers in  Britain have found significant benefits for colds when using andrographis, and  people recovered quicker without any side effects. This herb stimulates immune  function and can stop viral growth.

Astragalus – This Chinese herb has antiviral and immune boosting properties.   It increases the activity of white blood cells which are responsible for killing  viruses.

Yin ChiaoThis has been a very highly respected Chinese herbal formula for  hundreds of years.  It needs to be taken at the very onset of a cold or flu  (within the first two days).  It strengthens the body if taken at the first  sign of illness.  It is believed by Chinese herbalists that the germ from a  cold or flu will take a few days to really enter the body. Taking Yin  Chiao  can provide the body what it needs to heal before the germ  progresses any further.

Echinacea Echinacea  stimulates the immune system and acts as an antibiotic.  It is very  effective when you feel a cold coming on. If you are allergic to Ragweed you may  have a reaction to Echinacea since it is in the same family. Also, you should  not use it if you have an autoimmune disease.

ElderberryElderberry is effective for stopping a cold or the flu and will speed up your  recovery time. The berries contain compounds that prevent cold and flu  viruses from invading and infecting cells. It also offers protection  against respiratory viral infections. It can be taken as a syrup as well.

Garlic –Raw garlic has  antiviral and immune stimulating properties available.  Chop two cloves a  day at the onset and do that until symptoms start to subside. You can add that  to salad dressing or clear broth to make it easier to take. 

Ginger – Ginger helps sinus  and chest congestion. It’s also great for nausea. You can make a big batch of  ginger tea by putting 4 inches of fresh ginger root in 8 cups of water  with 3 cloves (clove is very good for colds) and boil for 20 minutes. Strain out  the ginger and clove and add some honey or maple syrup – delicious!

Eucalyptus  essential oil A potent antibiotic and antiviral,  eucalyptus is excellent for treating colds, flu and sinus infections when used  as a steam inhalation.  Boil water, add 2 drops, and breathe in the steam  with a towel over your head.

Neti Pot – Viruses can enter  through the tiny hairs in your nose, so if you are prone to getting  colds in the winter use a neti pot to clean your sinuses regularly.   Using a saline solution mixed with water will help relieve congestion and  prevent the virus from entering.

5) Lastly, soups,  stews and hot foods are excellent during cold weather because they warm  the body.

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