Three things are certain in life: Death, taxes and the flu. Both the common cold and the flu are viral infections that can’t be cured by medication, though symptoms can be mitigated. As with many of life’s problems, time and rest is the greatest healer. It comes for us all eventually, but the best way to stave off a viral infection is to keep in tip-top shape.
The immune system is a complicated network of reactions that, to this day, is not completely understood. Taking care of your whole body can give it the best chance to do its job. Keep your healthy lifestyle choices consistent. Avoid smoking, eat a balanced diet, make time for a good night’s sleep and exercise regularly. Even a half hour walk every day can make a world of difference to your body.
Multivitamins: Especially if you follow a restrictive diet, a good quality multivitamin can help you get the vitamins or minerals you’re missing.
Omega-3 fatty acids: If you don’t get enough fish, nuts and seeds, you may consider supplementation. Omega-3s are integral to the health of the cells that make up your body.
Probiotics: The digestive system is the first to process anything you put in your body so treat it well. You`ll want to maintain the good bacteria that break down your food and protect you from germs on food.
Your lymphatic system is what processes and expels toxins and waste products from the body. It also disperses infection-fighting lymph cells throughout your body. The catch is that you need to get your muscles contracting and relaxing—moving—to make it work. That’s one reason exercise is so important to health.
Once a cold or flu has taken hold, it’s time to manage the symptoms as the body takes time to fight off the virus. Letting your body and mind rest with a solid sleep takes the pressure off your body so it can put all its energy into healing.
Oregano oil: Place few drops of this highly scented, antimicrobial oil in a bowl of freshly boiled water and inhale the vapours to help clear sinuses. You can also add a few drops to your drinking water for a gentle internal antimicrobial.
Zinc: This nutrient enables proteins in the body to become the building blocks for cellular growth. Zinc is integral to wound healing and low levels have been linked to higher risk of infection.
Herbal tea: Never underestimate the power of a hot cup of tea. Non-caffeinated herbals teas will help you relax and get the sleep you need. Look for ingredients that suit your symptoms: Peppermint for upset stomach, elderberry for overall immunity support, sage for a sore throat; and lemon balm or chamomile to help you sleep.
Feed your body the fluid it needs to flush out toxins with this zesty tonic:
1 cup water
1 cup organic apple cider (not from concentrate)
3 lemon slices
3 fresh ginger slices
1 Tbsp raw honey
¼ – ½ tsp cayenne pepper
Bring the water and apple cider to a boil in a pot. Add lemon and ginger and let simmer on medium heat for five minutes. Pour into a large mug and stir in the honey and cayenne pepper. Drink this tonic when you feel a cold coming on to help keep it at bay.
This article originally appeared in Pure Life magazine, special supplement to OptiMYz 904.