Are you feeling wiped out after the holidays? It is no wonder! In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, most of us veer from our normal routines. In doing so, we do not get enough sleep, we eat more convenience foods that are high in calories and low in nutrition, we get less exercise, and we are often overscheduled and overstimulated (holiday parties, crowded malls, big family get-togethers). This is a recipe for disaster and decreased immune function.
If you are feeling down and want to get back on track, keep reading for some easy solutions.
13 Easy Ways to Combat Colds and Flu
- Get more rest. That’s a no-brainer, right? But are you getting enough restful sleep each night? Are you taking the time to rest and recuperate when you’re feeling down? If you have small kids and think rest is an unobtainable luxury, ask for help. Getting yourself healthy needs to be your top priority. I can hear you saying, “yeah, whatever”, but I promise you it is time for a mindset change.
- Take a steaming hot Epsom salt bath. Rest and relaxation is a must when you are sick. Rest is critical in recharging the immune system. The hot water will induce sweating, expelling toxins from your body while the steam relieves congestion. The Epsom salts will soothe aches and pains and will pull more toxins out of your body. Grab a good book, a cup of Epsom salts and lock yourself in the bathroom. Need directions? Dissolve 1-2 cups of Epsom salt in a hot bath. Pretty easy. Be sure to hydrate afterward! Epsom salt is easy to find in local grocery and drug stores, but if you don’t want to leave the house, here is an inexpensive brand to try.
- Drink more water. Another no-brainer, but are you getting the daily requirement of fresh filtered water? The daily requirement is 1/2 your body weight in ounces. Example: If you weigh 150 pounds, you should have 75 (1/2 of 150) ounces of water a day. When you are sick, you need even more than the daily requirement. You especially need more when you currently have or are recovering from a fever. Get your water bottle, fill it up and sip all day long. Squeeze in some lemon juice for added flavor and a boost of vitamin C.
- Drink an immune-boosting elixir. Add some fresh ginger (about 1/2 inch) to boiling water and let steep several minutes. Add some lemon juice and honey (about a tablespoon each). Sip and enjoy. This one works wonders for me. I was sick with flu-like symptoms a few months after my youngest was born. It was a long and cold winter in 2014, school was canceled at least once a week, and we were cooped inside all the time. I was nursing and didn’t want to take any medications, but I drank this concoction several times a day. A few days later, I was back to normal. Well, as normal as you can be with a newborn and 2 school aged kids cooped up inside day after day.
- Drink green tea. You’ve probably heard some of the benefits of drinking green tea. Aside from containing powerful antioxidants, it has been shown to enhance immune function (specifically T cell function). Brew a pot and take a mid-afternoon break. Adding lemon to tea increases it’s healing benefits, and it gives you an extra dose of vitamin C.
- Boost your vitamin C intake. Vitamin C contains antioxidants that are well known for fighting infections. Avoid processed and pasteurized orange juice. Opt for whole foods rich in vitamin C like bell peppers, dark leafy greens, kiwifruit, broccoli, berries, citrus fruits, papayas, pineapple, Brussels Sprouts, cantaloupe, and cauliflower. This time of year, citrus fruits are in season. There’s a reason for that! It’s nature’s way of ensuring you get enough vitamin C during cold and flu season. Eat an orange for a refreshing snack. Its aroma alone will lift you up. Looking for a supplement? Try this one.
- Take Oscillococcinum. This is a homeopathic medicine that helps to relieve symptoms such as fatigue, aches, fever, and chills. You can find it here.
- Put peroxide in your ears. Seriously. I know this sounds weird, but it works. I have used this method with myself and my kids with great results. Refer to Dr. Mercola for more details. articles.mercola.com>sites>2002/03/13. Start by placing 3 drops of hydrogen peroxide in each ear (one at a time) and allow to bubble for 5-10 minutes. Drain that ear and move on to next ear. The peroxide will feel cold in your ears and it will feel weird when it bubbles, but it works! If you or your children have ear tubes, do not do this. Consult your ENT physician for suggestions.
- Use Essential Oils, aka, Nature’s Medicine. The best oils for fighting germs and relieving symptoms are Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Sweet Orange, Lemon, Lavender, Frankincense, and Myrrh. You can put a few drops of these oils into a diffuser. This will help clean and purify the air in your home. It will also help clean and purify you as you breathe in the molecules. You can also dilute your favorite combination of oils in a carrier oil, like fractionated coconut oil and rub into your skin. Some good places are around your lymph nodes and the soles of your feet. Start your experiments with small doses of essential oils because they are very powerful!
- Eat more garlic. The healing benefits of garlic are almost endless. For colds and flu, we look to garlic for its strong antibacterial and antiviral properties. Eating garlic crushed and raw offers the most healing potential. However, if raw garlic is too potent for you (it is for me!), add garlic to as many cooked recipes as possible. If you hate peeling and chopping garlic, there are prepared versions in the grocery store, including dried garlic powder. Of course, the more processed the garlic, the less potent it becomes. But you have to start somewhere. Sprinkling some dried garlic powder on your food is better than not using garlic at all. Although not as effective, garlic supplements are also available. You can find one here.
- Take vitamin D3. Most of us are deficient in vitamin D, especially this time of year in the northern hemisphere when there is less sunshine and we spend little time outdoors. Vitamin D is used by the immune system to reduce inflammation and increase antimicrobial proteins. You can find one here.
- Take Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra). Elderberries are high in antioxidants, bioflavonoids, vitamins A, B and C and specific proteins that prevent cold and flu viruses from invading and infecting a cell. They are especially high in anthocyanins which have been shown to increase immune responses and protect mucous membranes. You can find it here.
- Get more probiotics. Our guts are made up of many strains of bacteria, both good and bad. When the bad bacteria start to outnumber the good ones (like when we eat too many processed foods or take too many pharmaceutical drugs), trouble starts to happen. Improve the ratio of good to bad bacteria by eating more probiotic-rich foods like kefir, unsweetened yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, and kimchi. You can also take a good quality supplement, like this one.
Use your natural talents, intelligence, and common sense…
Human beings have been treating colds and flu with natural remedies since the beginning of time. Wide use of antibiotics and pharmaceutical drugs are fairly new to human evolution. However, there is a time and place for everything. Always seek trusted medical advice before taking any supplements. Trust your intuition and use whatever healing method will work for you, be that traditional, conventional, alternative or any combination.
Do you have a favorite method to combat colds and fu? Please share in the comments. Your tips could make a huge difference in someone’s life!
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Download my guide, 10 Simple Steps to Naturally Insane Immunity, to boost your immune system to protect you and your family during the dreaded cold and flu season.