Our last few blogs have talked about the most important dietary and lifestyle means of keeping your immune system in top shape. After all, what we eat and how we live has a direct influence on overall health, with immune function being an important aspect of that.
But what if you already do all of that, and struggle fighting off colds and flus all winter long?
Here are our top natural remedies for colds and flu that we go to when we’re sick.
Is our premier natural remedy for colds and flu. It works to kill both bacteria and viruses, while boosting immune function. It contains a blend of mushrooms for stimulating lymphocytes (the premiere infection fighting cells of the immune system), as well as other immune supportive nutrients (zinc, selenium, vitamin A, B6 and C) and several immune boosting natural medicines like garlic and oregano extract, beta glucan, dimethylglycine and others.
Use Acute Immune when you first come down with something, for the duration of the illness. Take with food, it’s powerful stuff!
Chronic immune has similar ingredients to Acute Immune, but others that support immune function over the long term. Chronic Immune is ideal for when you’re surrounded by sick people, you’re run down, or you’ve got a race coming up that you can’t afford to get sick before. It’ll keep your immune system boosted so you stay healthy when everyone around you is getting sick.
Vitamin D is so much more than a vitamin! Actually considered a hormone, vitamin D ‘modulates’ immune function, meaning it directly controls how our immune system cells behave.
Deficiency of vitamin D puts us at risk for infection as well as autoimmunity.
Made in our skin when exposed to sunlight, vitamin D levels can become deficient in the winter months for those of us who don’t live in 70-degree weather year round!
It’s important to begin supplementing with vitamin D at the end of September through April, or once the weather warms up to be outside without a coat.
I also recommend getting a bit of sun on bare skin (no sunblock) for about 20 minutes a day in the summer, so you can manufacture your own vitamin D!
If you’re sick, it’s important to bump vitamin D levels up, and to keep them up through the winter months so your immune system can do its job. Vitamin D is one of the most important natural remedies for colds and flu.
Monolaurin is a derivative of lauric acid, which is a type of fatty acid found naturally in vegetable oils (coconut) and breast milk. It works as an antimicrobial agent and can fight off viruses and bacteria.
Ultra high is a daily multivitamin mineral. If you don’t take one, you should. A multivitamin contains important immune-boosting nutrients like zinc, selenium, vitamins A, B2, B6, D, C and E. These nutrients are available in a super healthy diet, but a little extra during times of illness certainly won’t hurt. Take it with some food to enhance absorption.
Other important things you can do when sick:
1. Rest! When I’m sick I rest. I don’t try to squeeze in a workout, I don’t try to muscle through a long day at the clinic. I let me body rest so it can concentrate on getting well.
Fighting through an illness, at work or training, may seem heroic to you, but it will only prolong that illness. It’s always better to take a few days off and get back to 100% rather than dragging an illness out for weeks because you won’t take a few days off! If you absolutely, positively must workout, at least use the “ Neck Check” before you head out!
2. Simulate a fever. Oftentimes we’ll get sick, but won’t spike a fever. But if you do have a fever, let it burn!* Remember, fevers are your body’s way of making life difficult for the bug that’s wreaking havoc on your sinuses, throat and lungs.
If you don’t have a fever, taking a long, hot bath or sitting in a sauna are great ways to simulate a brief fever in your body. Stay in as long as you can**, get out and towel off, but don’t cool off. Immediately put some warm clothes on to maintain a warm temperature. Do this twice a day while sick if you can.***
*Most fevers are safe for adults. Kids are another story. They should be seen if the fever is above 102 F and lasts for more than a day.
**Don’t pass out, or stay in so long you start to feel ill. The idea is to get healthy here, not make things worse!
***If you’re actively coughing or sneezing, stay home. Don’t go to the gym and spread your germs!
3. Sleep. This is the same as rest! Go to bed. Lay down. Take a nap. Save some energy for your body to fight off the infection. That’s why you’re so tired when you’re sick – the body is expending huge amounts of energy to fight the bug. Burning energy on other stuff will only subtract from the energy used to get you well!
4. Stretch. If you’re going batty not being able to workout, try doing some gentle stretching, or even better, a hot yoga class* (this will give you the simulated fever as well). Gentle movement increases lymphatic circulation, which will help you clear the illness.
*Again, if you’re sneezing and coughing, stay home and stretch so you don’t spread the germs!
Use these natural remedies for cold and flu when you’re sick, or feel like you might get sick – they’ll definitely keep you healthy through the winter months!