It’s definitely winter here is Oregon. It’s been wet and cold, and it’s certainly that time of year where I encourage you to protect yourself against colds and the flu. Having a cold puts your entire day under a blanket of misery. They’re a challenge to dodge but here are three points to remember:
- Wash your hands! It’s simple advice but key. And avoid putting your hands near your nose or mouth,
- Get enough sleep. Sleep plays an important role in our immune system. Getting good sleep, gives it a boost.
- Eat a nutrient-rich diet. It will provide your body with a spectrum of immunity-boosting phytochemicals
If you do get sick, and it happens to the best of us — me included ! — remember the ideal thing is to stay home away from people and rest it out. I know this is hard for many of us – we either don’t have the sick time to use or we feel bad about using our sick time. Trust me, trying to return to a full schedule too soon will most likely set you back and prolong your symptoms. So, please get your rest.
Fluids are important in the healing process. If you lack fluids it can cause dehydration and discomfort. Drinking extra water and juices when you’re sick helps flush out the congestion in your system. Initially, this can sometimes cause you to feel worse because the mucus is increasing in volume; but then your body will start to rid itself and you will feel better.
Keep hydrated with water and soothing herbal teas. For a sore throat I like a simple cup of hot water with lemon, grated ginger, ½ tablespoon of honey with ⅛ teaspoon turmeric. Drink vitamin rich juices. Try carrot and papaya juice. Try mixing them together!
To be cost-effective and less processed, I like to make my own juices with my Vitamix. Just pick your favorite fruits and veggies, add some water and throw in some spinach or kale.
A few combinations I’ve tried and enjoyed:
- ½ cup coconut water, ½ cup water, ¾ cup frozen blueberries, one clementine, and 5 frozen strawberries.
- 1 cup coconut water with the juice of 1 lemon, ¼ cup pomegranate juice and 1 cup frozen strawberries.
- 1 cup coconut water, one clementine, ½ apple, and 1 cup of mixed frozen pineapple, blueberries and strawberries.
So go ahead, drink up.
When it comes to your diet, continue eating a nutritious, colorful diet to activate and support and boost the body’s immune defenses.
I encourage eating delicious soups that contain mushrooms, onions, and garlic along with vegetables from the cruciferous family like kale, collards, broccoli, broccoli rabe, cabbage, and cauliflower. Try some miso soup which helps to boost the antibodies and help bacteria die. And hey, soups will be another great way to boost your fluid intake.
I already mentioned adding berries to your juices/smoothies. Frozen or fresh they are a powerhouse food packed with vitamins and antioxidants, called flavonoids that support the function of the body and help protect the body’s immune cells. Add them to your morning cereal. Mix them with other fruits, nuts and seeds and enjoy a bowl with some hot tea for breakfast. Add them to a serving of non-dairy yogurt.
Keys to remember: Rest, take in fluids, and eat nutritiously.
Take care of yourself this cold and flu season. It will be spring before we know it!