By Dr. Aida Martinez, ND
Yes, it’s that time of the year when everyone knows someone who is blowing their nose, sick in bed at home, coughing incessantly, and just overall miserable. The common saying that “it’s going around” truly applies to this time! To prevent cold and flus, the key is to maintain healthy immune systems. However, keep in mind that getting sick once in a while is also a good sign of a healthy and reactive immune system. Having said that, there are many natural, safe and effective medicines to help with the nuisances of a cold or flu. This is my go-to list for surviving this season:
- If you haven’t already done so, now is a great time to start introducing more fermented foods to your diet to help you build a strong immune system and stay healthy during this fall/winter. If you’re not sure where to start, I recommend this list: http://fermentationist.com/11-powerful-fermented-foods/
- Use food as your medicine. Make sure to include onions, garlic, berries, lemons, brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and good quality protein. Also, reducing intake of refined sugar and alcohol can help you stay healthy this season.
- Reduce stress! and if you can’t on your own, get help! Acupuncture is one great way to chill out and respond to stress in a healthier way. Taking the right “adaptogen” (natural formula to help with stress response) is also very beneficial. We now know that stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline suppress your immune system by lowering the number of infection-killing white blood cells in your body. This is usually why when you’re stressed out, you get sick more often.
- Exercise! I know some of you don’t want to hear it but it actually works and even has evidence to prove it. Exercise increases your levels of infection-fighting white blood cells, allows you to recover faster and of course helps to prevent infections. Try it! It’s an inexpensive way to stay healthy and it can be fun if you find the right type of exercise for you.
- Stop throwing away chicken bones! Instead make a bone broth with them; rich in minerals and protein it’s a great for preventing and treating colds and flus. This is such a simple and inexpensive way to improve your family’s immune system without the need to buy lots of expensive supplements. Bonus benefits: it helps to heal your intestinal tract (gut) so for those of you with digestive issues, this might be a great food for you! For those of you with joint issues such as arthritis, this is also a must for you. Your skin and hair will also thank you after you start making this at home!
- Homeopathic remedies are great because they are safe for the whole family – from newborns to pregnant women to grandparents. My favourite flu remedy is Oscilloccoccinum and I think everyone should have it at home in their health kit. You can take it at the first signs of the flu or even take it preventatively during the flu season.
- For those of you who prefer supplements for improving your immunity and help you fight off colds and flus, good quality vitamin A, C, E, selenium and zinc are a must. There are products that you can find that have all of these in one – they’re called A.C.E.S + Zinc. Amazing stuff.
I hope these tools are all you need to allow you to sail right through this season so that you can enjoy all that fall and winter has to offer and you can focus on the things and people you love.
To find out more about Dr. Aida and her services on our Practicioner’s page here