Hope everyone had a nice long weekend!
It’s still veeeerry cold outside, which reminds me that cold season is still around. The immune system is one of the most interesting systems in our body, and thankfully there are lots of things you can do to keep yours strong and healthy. If you do catch a cold, the goal is to boost your immune system to enhance what it does naturally. We don’t want to suppress anything! Coughs and fevers are awesome. A cough is better out than in, and fevers are a natural way of killing viruses!
Daily activities to boost your immune system:
– eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. There are tons of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in these foods to keep your body strong and defend off any viruses. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water to help flush out your system!
– omit sugar – sorry guys, this is hard. But fun fact – something like 1 tbsp of sugar shuts down your white blood cell activity for about 4 hours. OMG!
– sleep – your body does all its repairing and healing when you sleep.
– exercise daily – a small walk, stretch, or yoga pose will help keep your heart pumping strong, circulating blood (and therefore nutrients and oxygen) to all the parts of your body, helping all your cells work better!
– dry brush yourself before having a hot shower. “Dry brushing” is a technique used to stimulate your lymph system, which is how your white blood cells get around your body. Your white blood cells are the ones that attack and kill bacteria and viruses, so getting our lymph system circulating means we will have strong immunity! Any brush-like material will work (those bath brushes, or even a loofa). Basically just get naked and start lightly brushing your dry skin in tiny strokes, like this chick below:
The immune boosters:
If you feel you’re about to get a cold, here’s what I recommend:
– probiotics – these are good bacteria that naturally reside in your intestines. 80% of your immune system is in your gut, so the healthier your gut is, the healthier you will be!
– vitamin D – we are lacking sunshine in the winter, and people get colds often only in the winter….hmmmm….coincidence?
– vitamin C – probably the most popular anti-cold remedy. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, protecting your body from any damage. It also supports your adrenal glands, which are exhausted by stressful situations.
– echinacea – a lovely herb that literally blocks the virus from attaching to your cells. It also enhances the activity of your white blood cells
– beta glucans and mushrooms – beta glucans are molecules (kindof fibre-like) that are naturally present in mushrooms, specifically medicinal mushrooms like Reishi, Cordyceps, and Chaga. Beta glucans enhance your white blood cell activity.
The virus killers:
You’ve already got a cold. Now what?
– goldenseal – a powerful anti-microbial herb. Really bad tasting but really works! It is called “King of the Mucous Membranes” because of its affinity for healing the throat and nasal passages. Don’t use longer than 15 days in a row.
– oil of oregano – very powerful anti-microbial. Only need 1-2 drops under the tongue at onset of symptoms. It kills everything so if you are taking oil of oregano, be sure to take some probiotics as well to replenish anything that might be killed by the oregano. Also comes in capsules!
– garlic – everything is better with garlic! Probably one of the strongest anti-bacterials in our food system. Cut a clove of raw garlic into quarters, and swallow the pieces with a glass of water. Your body will love you! Your friends might not, however……you will smell like garlic.
– honey! Raw honey is full of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and immune-boosting properties. It is naturally anti-microbial and very soothing for a sore throat or cough. Dissolve a teaspoon of raw honey (or manuka honey) in your mouth and let it melt down your throat.
– aromatherapy! Having a stuffed up nasal passage is literally the worst. Smelling essential oils like eucalyptus, peppermint or cinnamon can almost instantly open up your nasal airways. Sometimes I smell these right out of the bottle, or for an extra spa-like experience, make your own steam by pouring boiling water into a mug then adding a few drops of essential oil. Put your face overtop of the mug so the steam rises onto your face and into your nose (but don’t get burned!).
– herbs like elderberry, marshmallow, mullein, plantain, licorice, and astragalus are all immune-boosting and soothing to a body dealing with a virus. Read the labels before trying new herbs!