Have you or a loved one been sick already this winter? Are you hoping to not get sick anytime soon? We seem to be seeing an abundance of colds and flu this winter.
This is the time of year when most of us get sick at least once. A lot of patients ask the doctor what they can do to build their immunity, or their child’s immunity, and what they can do once they do get sick. One of the challenges is that sometimes our lifestyle doesn’t allow for adequate healing time. Most of us work and attend to a myriad duties while we are sick, when in fact we need to rest.
Several factors lead us to catching a cold or flu. My short list includes:
Stress and inadequate rest
Eating too much sugar and dairy
Being exposed to another sick person
Eating cold foods including juice and smoothies
Prolonged exposure to hot and cold environments
Inadequate detoxification prior to the beginning of the winter.
When we are sick we often think that we need an antibiotic. The truth is that an antibiotic only works for a bacterial infection, and antibiotics detrimentally affect our gut flora by killing the beneficial gut bacteria that we need to support our immune system and overall health. Also, we can build up a resistance to antibiotics from overuse. Typically, we see over-prescribing for conditions like sinus infections, bronchitis, or the common cold. Here is a great article from Science Daily for you to read.
Antibiotics do not work for a virus, flu-like illness, or common cold. The more antibiotics we take the more harm we may cause to our microbiome. The herbalist, Todd Caldecott provides a thorough exploration of antibiotic resistance here.
What can you do to protect your immune health this winter?
Eat warming foods like soups and stews and incorporate bone broth.
Add immune building herbs and compounds to your daily regimen. We recommend the following: Essential Defense, Immune Supporting probiotics like UltraFlora Immune Booster, and Zinc. During an acute illness, we like Olivirex, and beta glucan.
Check your Vitamin D levels. Having an adequate Vitamin D level has been known to help protect your immunity and prevent the flu.
Protect your gut with a good pro-biotic and other healthy gut loving nutrients like yogurt, sauerkraut, and pickled foods.
Although there is some evidence that cold weather increases susceptibility to viral illness, do not spend all of your time indoors. Get outside and exercise. In Ayurveda, it is recommended to exercise during the cold season. Activities like snowshoeing, skiing, hiking, or a brisk walk can all be beneficial during the winter. Just remember to stay warm during outdoor activities.
The flu recently hit our house, and it left all of us tired. Luckily, we have created an apothecary filled with potent remedies like Zinc, Vitamin A, Biocidin Throat Spray, Citomix, Guna React, a lot of ginger, turmeric, and pepper tea, garlic, cooked mushrooms, and nourishing bone broths.
Elizabeth’s Warming Tea for the Flu
1 pot of filtered water
1 whole fresh ginger root sliced
1 whole fresh turmeric root sliced
6 whole peppercorns
Place all ingredients in a pot on medium low heat and simmer. Strain and sip throughout the day. Ginger is known as an anti-inflammatory, and is a warming herb used for the throat and respiratory system. Ginger is also known to help with GI discomfort. Turmeric is known as a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, which can be helpful when we are sick. Peppercorns are heating and keep the body warm during a cold or virus.