It’s that time of year as summer turns to autumn, when it feels like the weather can’t decide what it’s doing. With the weather turning hot to cold on a whim it becomes more likely that you will start with a cold.
If you haven’t already had your first cold of the season, then dodging the coughs and sneezes of those around you can feel like an obstacle course. So here are all the Cold and Flu prevention things you can do naturally to help your body protect itself… and hopefully stave off those nasty germs!!
How your body protects you
Your body is already very good at its job of protecting you from foreign germs and antibodies. But to help it along its way, you want to be thinking of all things immune boosting, antibacterial and antiviral. Not just to take, but products you can use around your home too kill germs too!
Your body uses the nutrients you feed it for so many things, the ones you want to look at for helping your immune system and keeping you healthy are Selenium, Zinc, B6, omega-6 and vitamin C and E to name a few.
These can be found in foods like pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, mushrooms, leafy greens..
I’ve listed which foods have which properties to help you, below:
Lemongrass. Coconut. Elderberry. Lemon.
Brazil nuts. Coconut.
Lemongrass. Black rice. Pumpkin seeds.
Açai. Rhubarb. Lemon. Raspberries. Pomegranate. Plumbs. Pineapple. Orange. Lemongrass. Grape juice. Elderberries. Cranberries. Broccoli. Brussels sprouts. Cabbage. Coconut. Parsley.
Bran flakes. Sweet potato. Turnips. Butternut squash.
Instead of just taking supplements, try to include or increase the foods above to get your vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
Your body, more specifically your stomach and digestive system processes and absorbs what it needs more easily and effectively when naturally.
Cold and Flu prevention – to help fight off germs
As well as eating food so full of lots of vitamins and nutrients that will help boost your immune system, there are also a few other things that you can do and/or take to help your body keep germs at bay.
At the first sign of a cold or germs, or that pre-illness feeling, here’s what I can personally recommend you take (As this is what I do if I start feeling like I’m coming down with something myself).
I can’t guarantee it will work 100 percent of the time, but if it can fight off at least half of possible colds that’s better than nothing, right!
Echinacea is a natural immune booster. Find a good quality herbal supplement at your local health store or pharmacy. One that you trust, and follow the instructions for dosage. This is usually 1 to 2 tablets per day.
When you feel that ‘a little off’ or ‘feeling under the weather’ or even if everyone around you is getting sick. That’s when you should start to take your echinacea.
For me I can tell my body is fighting something off when I feel sluggish and my body feels heavy, my glands get painful, and my chest and throat feel tight.
Hot water & Lemon
Drink a nice hot mug of hot water and lemon juice at least once a day.
Lemon has antiviral properties so it is great for killing those germ bugs in your throat, which is usually where they develop first for colds and flu.
It is also a lovely soothing drink for sore throats. If you throat feels sore and uncomfortable you can drink hot lemon as often as required. You can even add a small teaspoon of honey to help sooth your throat and fight bacteria too.
Gargle with salt water
This one isn’t my favourite thing to do. But it really works! Put a teaspoon of salt (preferably Himalayan salt if you have it, but regular table salt works too) to a small glass, pour just boiled water over the salt and stir until all the salt is dissolved.
Let the water cool to drinking temperature, take a mouthful, and then gargle for as long as you can.
Repeat this process until all the mixture is gone. I’d also recommend doing this over a sink as you will need to spit the salt water out once you are done. ( Salt water can make you sick if swallowed!!).
Saltwater can help reduce inflammation, kill bacteria, and reduce the build up of any mucus or irritants. Do this 2-3 times a day for the full benefits.
If the echinacea isn’t enough, or you don’t feel like it’s working it might be worth taking a slow release vitamin C too.
Of course it is not just vitamin C that your body needs. You want to make sure you’re eating a healthy balanced diet including healthy fats, and some of the foods I mentioned above too.
Cranberry juice & Coconut water
Cranberry juice is actually higher in vitamin C then orange juice. Go for a sugar free option, and add about half and half cranberry to coconut water.
Coconut water is high in electrolytes which are good to help to keep you hydrated.
You should also make sure you are drinking lots of water and fluids throughout the day to keep you extra hydrated.
Use antiviral & antibacterial oils
Essential oils like tea tree, eucalyptus, and lavender are anti bacterial, anti inflammatory and antiviral.
As essential oil is absorbed through the skin into your bloodstream, you can dab a few drops of one or all of these oils onto your temples or around your nose to help fight of virus and bacteria germs. As well as helping to to stop inhaling them too.
You can also use these oils to disinfect and clean your home, office and any personal space. Mix 4-5 drops of each oil with about 100ml of water or vinegar. Put the mixture in a spray bottle and go crazy!
Ok, ok. I know tyrozetes are not natural or herbal, but they are very very good at fighting throat infections, are anaesthetic and antibiotic (they contain benzocaine and tyrothricin). Take one first thing on a morning after you have brushed your teeth and gargled. Follow the directions on the pack, which should be something like take one every 4 hours…
if you are including tyrozetes in your bug fighting regime just be aware that drinking anything straight after your tyrozetes will wash their benefits away.
Look after yourself
When you can feel your body is fighting something or you feel a little under the weather, take it easy. It’s ok to ease up and let yourself rest for a while if it keeps you healthy. Add a little more self-care into your routine, let your body rest and save its energy for fighting the germs, and have a few early nights.
Sleep is the best possible healer.
Do all of these things together as soon as you start to feel the tiniest inkling of a cold starting, and keep doing them for at least the next 5-7 days.
I hope these help, and good luck for this cold and flu season. If you do end up needing some natural cold and flu remedies, then I’ve got you covered in my next post, so watch this space.