If you’ve seen my other post today, Why You Shouldn’t Get the Flu Shot, then you already (hopefully) know why that isn’t a good option in preventing illness this winter. However, I’m not suggesting that you do nothing. There are many natural ways that you can prevent colds and flu — and also many things you can do just in case you get sick anyway.
There are several things you can do to ward off illness this year. Here’s a brief summary of what we are doing, all of which will be beneficial to many!
- Take cod liver oil/keep vitamin D levels up — The reason the winter is flu season isn’t because it’s cold. It’s because people don’t get enough sunlight, which causes them to be vitamin D deficient, which then causes them to get sick. Low vitamin D levels are the cause of many illnesses! Taking cod liver oil will help keep your vitamin D levels up, reducing the likelihood that you’ll get sick.
- Take elderberry syrup daily — Elderberry is awesome stuff. It has properties in it that make colds and flu very unlikely to take hold in your body. In one study of people who had contracted the flu, people who took a placebo had flu symptoms that were moderate and lasted 6 days, while people who took elderberry had symptoms that were mild and lasted only 2 days! I’ll take the elderberry, please. It’s easy (albeit expensive) to buy, and easy to make. I’ve made some and we all take some daily. Just a teaspoon or two is fine, but you can’t overdose.
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of healthy fat (especially pastured butter and coconut oil) — You need a healthy diet all the time, but especially when illness is circulating and you don’t have access to sunlight. Pastured butter has some vitamin D in it, as well as K2 and other fat soluble vitamins. Coconut oil contains the medium chain fatty acid called lauric acid, which is anti-viral and can help keep you from getting sick. Make sure you watch your sugar consumption, too! Excellent nutrition in general, though, will boost your immunity!
- Consume plenty of probiotics — In addition to your “regular” healthy diet, make sure you are getting lots of probiotics! It will promote healthy gut flora and can help clear out any illnesses that might be trying to take hold in your system. Ideally you should consume a small amount of probiotic foods with every meal. We like yogurt and kombucha, but there are lots of options.
- Vitamin C — Take a bit of extra vitamin C to ward off colds, too. It fights cold symptoms and taking a fairly large dose will help you stay healthy. It’s also water soluble, so your body will flush out what it doesn’t need. Therefore it’s not dangerous to take too much (though it will cause loose stools if you do take too much, so if that happens, back off some. Experience tells me it’s upwards of 10 grams a day though. The RDA is only 60 mg, so…you’d have to take a lot to experience anything). We are taking 3 – 4 grams a day.
- Get out, get moving — It’s easy to just sit around and be cozy when it’s cold outside. But getting up and moving around will get things moving in your body and help it clear out the “junk” that is sitting in your cells. Adults in particular must move around for this to happen! Exercise also strengthens you and just plain makes you feel better!
- Get plenty of rest — If you’re exhausted, you’ll be more susceptible to illness. Try to get rest and sleep so that you’re not overtired, and you’ll be less likely to get sick.
- Be prepared, just in case! — There’s nothing worse than realizing that, despite your best efforts, a cold is coming on (or worse) and you’re not prepared. The last thing you want to do at that point is try to remember, shop for, and prepare remedies! Get your remedies ready in advance so that you’ll know that they’re there in case you need them.
Hopefully, if you’re on top of things, you won’t get sick. But the truth is, especially if you’re still in your transition from SAD (Standard American Diet) or have recently switched to real food, you probably will get sick at least once. Your body will still have a lot of “junk” built up, and it takes time to rebuild your immune system. So just be prepared for this possibility. The longer that you are on a real food diet and lifestyle, the less often you will get sick, until you simply “never” do.
What should you have in your medicine cabinet, in case you get a cold?
- Raw honey
- Garlic (fresh)
- Peach pit brandy
- Neti pot
- Vitamin C
- Saline solution
- Bulb syringe (for babies)
- Lavender essential oil
- Eucalyptus essential oil
- Rosemary essential oil
If you feel a cold coming on, take 4 – 5 grams of vitamin C, some zinc (read the directions on your supplement), some echinacea (3 – 4 pills); drink some tea made of lemon and ginger with raw honey (warm, not hot, so you don’t kill the enzymes in the honey); rinse your nose with the neti pot if you’re already congested; take a couple drops of the peach pit brandy; eat some raw garlic (you can add it to a salad, warm bowl of soup, or fresh garlic bread); go to bed! You may wake up no longer sick.
If the cold persists, you can continue the tea and supplements, continue the brandy tincture, and take warm baths with lavender, eucalyptus, and rosemary oil in them. You can also mix these oils with coconut oil and rub on your skin to promote breathing and break up congestion (I did this to both my kids last year).
Disclaimer: That is what I would do if I were getting a cold. I am not a doctor of any kind and I am not offering you medical advice. If you have questions, please ask a qualified health professional.
Hopefully, you will be healthy this winter! Here’s to health!