The most important thing is to keep as healthy as possible. You may be surrounded by people with colds & flu’s, but if you are healthy, then your body can fight it off and either stop you from getting it at all or decrease the duration of the cold/flu.
Naturopathically speaking, a cold or flu (that isn’t life threatening) can be a good exercise for the immune system, but not in someone who is immune compromised. If you do get a cold or flu, make sure you take time off work & rest, this will increase recovery time & helps to stop everyone else at work getting sick as well.
So here are my 5 Do’s to help get over your cold or flu easily
1) Eat a healthy diet during winter.
Often the winter months bring about more fatty, carb laden food. We still need to keep up the vegetable intake. Aim for 5 different coloured vegetables at lunch & dinner. If you’re craving more carbohydrates, go for pumpkin, parsnip, potato & sweet potato.
2) Get your Vitamin D levels checked.
Vitamin D plays an important role in your immune system. Interestingly, because most of us slip, slop, slap in summer & work indoors, many of us are Vitamin D deficient. Next time you’re at the doctor, ask you get your Vitamin D levels checked. Ask your naturopath for the best therapeutic dose of Vitamin D for you.
Regular exercise (before you get a cold or flu) helps to keep your immune system healthy. It can be difficult getting out into the coldness of the early morning or night. If you want to still exercise, but don’t want to face the cold, try getting a skipping rope- it’s fantastic exercise & you can do it indoors at any time of the day!
4) Healthy Gut.
Having a healthy gut is really important. 70% of our immune system is within our gut. Making sure you are having regular bowel movements daily that are formed is important. Eating a good quality (low sugar) yoghurt will also help your immune system. If you don’t have a dairy intolerance, try Vaalia natural yoghurt (not the favoured ones, they have too much sugar). Vaalia contains Lactobacillis GG which is great for immune boosting. If you are having digestive issues, please see your naturopath as just taking a probiotic may not fix things.
5) Keep Stress levels low.
If stress levels are high, your cortisol which is your stress hormone will increase. This will help to stop you from becoming sick. The problem is when your stress is over, your cortisol levels decrease again & this is when you are vulnerable to getting a cold or flu. Have you ever been highly stressed with exams & then when the exams are over & you go on holidays you get sick? This is what’s happening to your body.
Here are my 5 Don’ts:
1) Don’t take echinacea or olive leaf as an ‘immune booster’ all winter, unless you have been instructed to by your naturopath.
If you are already taking them (and aren’t sick), drop the dose slowly, otherwise it is very easy to catch a cold or flu. Taking these herbs will boost your immune system, but once you get sick, your immune system won’t cope well because it is already being activated. Keep Echinacea & Olive leaf for the first sign of a cold or flu.
2)Don’t keep working and ‘slogging it out’.
Although not always possible, stop & rest if you can. Your body needs the energy to fight the bacterial or viral infection. Resting will give you the best chance of doing so.
3) Don’t go for fast food during winter.
It’s quick & easy, but doesn’t give any nutrition to your immune system.
4) Don’t underestimate how important it is to wash your hands & keep away from people coughing.
5) Keep alcohol in moderation.
Alcohol depletes your immune system, so a big night out could end in a cold.
Herbal Secrets of a Naturopath
….People often ask me “what’s good to take for a cold”, which is like asking “how do I find a needle in a haystack”. The truth this, if you choose conventional medicine, you take different medicine if you have a cough to a cold to a fever. The same applies with herbal medicine. While echinacea & olive leaf will have an affect on the immune system, herbal medicine targets your specific symptoms. There are herbs for a hard dry cough, a wet cough, sinusitis, herbs for a sore throat, herbs for a fever- depending on your symptoms depends on which herbs we put into the mix.
If you need a herbal mix to knock your cold or flu on the head, give us a call on 1300 21 44 25 and speak to a practitioner today.
This post is from Andrea Strand, a practicing Naturopath at Empowered Health. To find out how we can help you, call for a free, no obligation 5 minute phone briefing or call to book an appointment and say hello to good health!