Kick the NyQuil and cough drops, “ginger ale” and Jello, girlfriend! There’s a better way to treat your illness.
I know, these things can be our go-to’s + “comfort zone” when it comes to feeling better, I grew up with them too, but the problem is… they’re only band aids that treat symptoms and don’t actually help your body fight off the sickness… and in some cases are doing you more harm!
Most of these over-the-counter treatments are full of artificial colors + sugars which absolutely suppresses your immune system. Doesn’t make sense, does it?
Here are some amazing natural and holistic ways to stay healthy + heal quickly if you do come down with something this “flu season”…
Besides the obvi- wash your hands + take your vitamins, here are daily actions you can take to supercharge your immune system and avoid getting sick.
- Vitamin D- Helps increase virus-killing immune cells + is a powerful antimicrobial, that kills bacteria, viruses and fungi. Children taking 1,200 IU’s of vitamin D3 a day (which is considered a low dose) were shown to be 42% less likely to come down with the flu.) A sublingual liquid version is your best bet for higher absorption.
- Probiotics- 80% of your immune system lies in your gut. S0, if you’ve got an unhealthy tummy, you’re more likely to get sick. Eating fermented foods like organic yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, tempeh, miso + lassi help to populate the good bacteria in your gut. Try adding 1 or 2 of these into your regular diet, like kefir in your morning smoothie, kombucha with lunch or miso soup as a side at dinnertime.
- Exercising- Helps move white blood cells through the body, allowing them to be more effective at their work. Studies have shown that getting your booty moving through exercise can cut the risk of coming down with a cold by 50%.
- Vitamin C- A surge of this immune boosting vitamin whenever you are around large crowds of people will help to keep the sickness monster away. Emergen-C is a great option to have in your purse at all times.
- Stress Less- Stress can literally turn on and off the expression of genes that directly influence your likelihood of getting sick. Meditation, tapping, yoga, journaling, breathing techniques, prayer, laughter and gratitude are all amazing ways to lower your stress levels. You’re in more control of your stress than you may think.
- Sex- Yup! Getting frisky a couple times a week can boost a specific antibody that fights off colds. Bow chicka bow wow!
HEALING FROM THE FLU
Beyond the well-known ways of; staying hydrated with pure water + getting lots of rest, here are some super effective + holistic ways to get back on your feet as quick as possible. Because ain’t nobody got time to be sick!
- Apple Cider Vinegar- helps thin out mucous membranes, which will help with a stuffy nose + create the ideal acid-alkaline balance in your blood for your body to heal. Dilute a couple Tbsps. in 8oz of purified water and drink 3 times a day.
- Skin Brushing- your body is trying to detox when you’re sick, and the lymph stimulation from skin brushing allows toxins to be released more quickly through the skin and other elimination processes.
- Bone Broth- it’s high gelatin + collagen content supports gut health and its amino acids help reduce inflammation. This can be used in replace of Jello that you mom most likely fed you as a child when you were sick. For the healthiest bone broth, make at home, but make sure the bones are from organic or free range animals.
- Oil of Oregano- Oregano oil contains 50 active compounds with immune-boosting and germ-fighting properties, and antioxidants that reduce inflammation. Its nutrient content includes vitamins A and C, both of which support respiratory health and help fight infection. Oregano oil also contains calcium, potassium, zinc, iron, manganese, magnesium, copper and boron.
- Elderberry Syrup- is an incredible general immune system booster to always have on hand. Elderberries contain chemical compounds called anthocyanidins, which are are known to have immunostimulant effects. Elderberry extract has been shown to be a safe, efficient and cost-effective… and kids like the taste of it!
- Ginger- this interestingly spicy and pungent root contains nearly a dozen antiviral compounds. To make my Ginger Lemon tea to soothe your throat, open your sinuses and feel better faster- grate 6Tbsp of fresh ginger and add to 4 cups of filtered water in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil and then take it off the heat and let sit for about 10 minutes. Strain the ginger and pour tea into a mug. Add ½ lemon juiced to each mug of tea with local honey to taste. (Makes 4 cups of tea)
- Coffee Enema- the thought of this might gross you out or sound crazy + foreign but coffee enemas are one of the best ways to detox your liver and feel better faster! This may not be the most popular way to go, but it’s good to know as an option. If you ever do try it, make sure to use organic coffee, a filter that hasn’t been chemically treated, distilled water, and a clean enema bag and bucket set.
- Miso- is the new chicken noodle soup (although a good homemade chicken noodle soup can do wonders when you’re sick) Miso is crazy packed with living enzymes, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. It also helps restore beneficial bacteria in the gut, something chicken noodle can’t live up to.
- Collodial Silver- is a natural antibiotic and kills over 3,000 different pathogens like viruses, bacteria and more. It’s also anti-inflammatory + super effective at treating the flu.
- Garlic- crushing or cutting raw garlic produces a compound called allicin, which has powerful antiviral, antibacterial, and antibiotic properties. Crush 2-3 medium sized cloves and wait about 15 minutes for the enzymes to produce the allicin, then take it down like a champ with a glass of water (and maybe a piece of natural gum afterwards).
- Sweat- Hippocrates once said, “Give me the power to create a fever, and I shall cure any disease.” A fever is your body’s way of killing off foreign pathogens… producing a fever-like environment in the sauna has tremendous health benefits for this same reason. While sweating a lot is very beneficial to the body when you’re sick, it should be a passive sweat like a sauna, instead of active like hot yoga. You need to conserve your body’s energy for healing. And make sure you’re drinking tons of pure water to compensate for what you lose while you sweat.
- Herbal Teas- Peppermint or ginger tea can help greatly if you’re feeling nauseous + chamomile and can relieve an upset stomach + abdominal pain, as well as help you get that much needed sleep. Another great option is using a Reshi Mushroom (also known as the “Mushroom of Immortality” in China) supplement in hot water. This mushroom has antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal (ironic) and anti-inflammatory properties to it!
- Omega 3’s- like fish oils have impressive immune fortifying properties. Omega 3’s increase the activity of phagocytes – cells that fight flu by eating up bacteria according to a study in Britain. They also increase airflow, which can help protect your lungs against colds and respiratory infections. Make sure the fish oil is from smaller fish like sardines to ensure lowest levels of mercury.
Photos by: Steve McBride
This list is obviously not exclusive, but I hope you found some new ideas, refreshed some things you already knew or inspired you to look at your health more naturally!
I’d love your thoughts in the comments below. Let me know one remedy you want to try, or tell me your go-to natural remedy when you’re feeling run down.
In Health, Happiness, and No “Sick Days” (unless you’re taking a vacation),