Cold or flu? What to do you when you are feeling blue
The mix of cold temperatures and first half-of-the year momentum drives your defenses to their limits. This is the opportunistic time a cold or flu usually strikes.
Can’t tell the difference whether you have a cold or the flu? Examine your symptoms.
The common cold and seasonal flu are both respiratory illnesses, but different viruses cause them. In general, the flu is worse than the common cold. The flu usually entails a fever, body aches, extreme tiredness and dry cough. Colds are generally milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds usually do not result in serious health problems such as pneumonia, bacteria infections or hospitalizations.
The cold and flu season in Australia is imminent. This is the time to ramp up your defenses. Ensuring your immunity is in its best condition is as simple as following these top 10 tips:
It is important to stay hydrated. 1-2 litres of filtered room-temperature water per day is recommended.
Is the water you drink sending you running to the bathroom regularly? Add a pinch of sea salt/rock salt in water and sip throughout the day. The sea salt draws the water into your cells rather than quick filtering through your kidneys.
2. DRINK HERBAL TEAS
Herbal medicines such as thyme, sage, rosemary and elderflower enhance the immune function.
Sore throat? Brew 5 fresh sage leaves for 5-15 minutes in boiled water. Sage is particularly good for sore throats because of its astringent qualities. The constriction of mucus membranes and exposed tissues produces a barrier to lurking bacteria, viruses and toxins.
Or brew 1 black tea bag in 100mL of boiled water for 5 minutes, let the water cool, then use the brew as a throat gargle. The tannins in the tea are astringent.
Turmeric and cinnamon are anti-inflammatory. Excessive inflammation is the driver of illness.
Feel like a fever is starting? Peppermint, chamomile, elderberry and lemon balm are diaphoretics, which promote sweating and thereby control a fever.
3. DRINK FRESHLY PRESSED VEGETABLES AND FRUIT JUICES & SMOOTHIES
Vegetables and fruits are natures multivitamins.
Vitamin C is an immune stimulating vitamin. The best sources include citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruits, lime), kiwi, papaya, pineapple, tomatoes and green leafy vegetables.
Try fresh ginger, turmeric, orange, lemon, pineapple and spinach. Or carrot, beetroot, celery, apple, and ginger.
4. REGULARLY CONSUME GARLIC AND ONION
The research shows that regular consumption of garlic and onion stimulates the immune system and fights undesirable micro-organisms. To include these natural antibiotics in the diet:
Make a salad dressing comprising olive oil, lemon juice and crushed garlic add to meats, cooked vegetables and salads
Add garlic and onion to meals stir-fries, slow cookers, and sauces. Add garlic just before you finish cooking so that the active constituents remain fresh.
Feeling daring make a GERM JUICE concoction:
* few cloves of garlic – crushed
* knob ginger chopped
* knob of turmeric chopped
* 1 fresh chilli – sliced
Add all ingredients to saucepan. Cover with at least 500mL water. Bring to the boil and then let simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the ingredients. Drink the decoction. Add tsp Manuka honey.
5. EAT A VARIETY OF WHOLE FOODS FROM NATURE
The basis of your diet should comprise of an abundance of vegetables and some fruit consumption, coupled with a moderate amount of red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, and grains, legumes and dairy if tolerated. Eating for the season is the key. Our body naturally prefers warmer and more grounding foods in winter such as root vegetables, slow cookers and warm teas.
Immunity is weakened by:
Sugar and everything containing it e.g. sweets, soft-drink, ice-cream
Processed carbohydrates e.g. cakes, biscuits, chips, cereal, snacks, white bread and pasta
Poor quality fats and chemically altered fats e.g. margarine, cooking and vegetables oils (canola oil, peanut oil)
Exposure to man-made chemicals i.e. artificial additives and preservatives, pesticides
6. PROTEIN AND GOOD FATS ARE THE KEY
Protein strengthens the immune system and is the building block of immune cells. When there isn’t enough protein the body cannot make enough antibodies to resist infection. The best protein sources for immunity include red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and nuts and seeds.
Good fats are anti-inflammatory and stimulate immune cell production.
These include fish, flaxseed oil, olive oil, avocado and coconut oil. Coconut oil is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Consume 1-2tablespoons per day. Add to smoothies, yoghurt, porridge, vegetables, salad dressing and use for cooking.
7. MAKE CHICKEN SOUP AND BONE BROTH
One of the most therapeutic foods you can consume.
*Bring water to the boil in cooking pot
*Add chicken drumsticks, herbs, spices and onion, and allow to simmer for 1 hour
*Remove chicken drumsticks and place chicken meat back into the pot
*Add chopped vegetables (e.g. carrots, celery, mushrooms, garlic) and allow to simmer until soft
*Allow to cool and serve
*Add 1 whole chicken to slow cooker
*Fill slow cooker ¾ with water
*Add garlic, onions, herbs and spices, celery
*Leave on low for 8-10 hours
*Remove chicken to consume
*Pour liquid into jars, allow to cool, and store in fridge
*Serve broth warm as is, or use as a stock to make soup
8. TAKE A PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENT AND/OR EAT FERMENTED FOODS
80% of the immune system is found in the gut. Thus it is imperative to nourish a healthy micro-biotic gastro-intestinal system.
Eat your healthy bugs by consuming sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, natural yoghurt and kombucha. These foods produce many beneficial enzymes as well as natural antibiotic substances.
9. TAKE TIME OUT FOR YOURSELF, UNWIND AND RELAX
Schedule â€œyouâ€ time into your day. Something that you love to do. Meditate, take a hot bath with essential oils and Epsom salts, sit in the sun and read, walk along the beach. Try to be asleep before 10pm as the hours before 1am are the most restorative for growth and repair.
10. SPEND TIME IN THE SUN
Vitamin D is produced endogenously by the action of sunlight on the cholesterol in the skin. Vitamin D has a key role in directing the immune system to combat pathogens.
Vitamin D is also found in food such as fatty fish (sardines, tuna), eggs and dairy (butter, cheese), and cod liver oil.
A walk in the sun is recommended. Moderate exercise stimulates the lymphatic system to activate immune cells from lymph nodes.
Winter is a time for some hibernation. To keep warm and cosy. A time to rejuvenate with the arrival of warmer days in spring.