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Editor’s Note: Please welcome my friend Hannah to the site today for another great blog post! Hannah is the founder of Whole Simple Life and is a formerly sick and tired Mama who is reclaiming her health naturally, one step at a time. She teaches others about cultured foods, unprocessed, and sugar free eating, green smoothies, and stress and anxiety management! Stop by her site to join her for lots of great articles on natural health and wellness and to be inspired to lead a healthier more positive life!
It’s November now and cold and flu season is upon us. With cooler weather we tend to stay inside a lot more which cultivates the perfect environment for germs to be passed from one to another.
Getting sick is a nuisance to say the least.
It’s impossible to avoid people and germs, but there are a number of things you can do that can help to strengthen your immune system and help keep you from getting sick. All of these are natural options with NO side effects. The only side affect is that you may feel even BETTER!
Here are 10 natural tips for cold and flu prevention for this winter.
1. Get To Bed Early: One great way to strengthen your immune system and reduce the stress on your body is to get ample sleep. This varies from person to person but if you find that you have to drag yourself out of bed, you probably aren’t getting enough. If you are able to wake up before your alarm you may be getting enough. Aim to get to bed 30 minutes earlier than you usually do and keep bumping that up until you find the perfect time for you.
2. Get Outside: Getting outside and moving, even for just a short walk, even if it’s cloudy and awful weather, helps get your lymph fluids flowing and allows your body some fresh air. Your lymph system carries out the garbage in your body, by staying stationary most of the day the lymph system can get stagnant and not allow it to do it’s job. Get moving and do it outside for the benefit of fresh air to awaken your mind and boost your mood this winter.
3. Wash Your Hands: This may seem pretty obvious to many but washing your hands frequently throughout the day will really help reduce the amount of germs we spread. We unknowingly touch our eyes, ears, nose and mouth throughout the day and spread germs from our hands into our bodies. Just washing with warm water and regular soap (not antibacterial) will greatly cut down on germs spreading.
4. Probiotic Foods: Foods that contain probiotic organisms are so helpful for your immune system. They colonize our digestive system with good bacteria. This is so important because about 80% of our immune system is located in our digestive system.
Ever heard of the saying from Hippocrates “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food?” There is definitely something to that. I love kefir for this reason. Kefir is a fermented milk drink that is like yogurt which is teaming with beneficial organisms. I drink 2 cups daily to help keep my immune system strong. It literally is medicine. You can make your own or purchase it at many stores. You can also drink Kombucha or eat fermented veggies, both are teaming with probiotics.
5. Supplements: Supplementing a healthy diet with extra Vitamin C and Vitamin D3 can be very beneficial. Both strengthen your immune system and help ward off bad bugs. In addition with Vitamin D3 you get the added benefit of it potentially protecting you from winter blues. Studies show that much of the population is deficient in Vitamin D and that many can greatly benefit from taking this supplement.
6. Elderberry Syrup: Last winter I made my own elderberry syrup from dehydrated elderberries. I also incorporated raw honey which is another great natural protector against sickness. Elderberries are very high in antioxidants and sipping a spoonful of this syrup daily could really help you this winter. You can make your own quite easily.
7. Garlic: Garlic is another potent antioxidant and is antiviral and antibacterial. You can purchase all sorts of garlic supplements at health food stores but I love adding tons of it to any meal I’m cooking. You can make some yummy soup if you feel a tickle in your throat. My sweet potato and thyme soup incorporates a whopping 10 cloves of garlic and tastes wonderful.
8. Stay Hydrated: Drinking water each day can benefit you in many ways. Water helps to create lymph and keep the lymph fluids moving in your body, so when there are germs, your body can more effectively flush them out. Water oxygenates your blood and helps to flush out toxins. Water also helps to digest your food and helps your body create melatonin which is important for proper sleep. The general recommended amount is 8 cups of water, some require more some less, aim to get 6 + cups each day.
9. Manage Your Stress: Excessive amounts of stress can wreak havoc on your immune system. Whenever I am super stressed I always seem to get sick. It’s important to learn ways to manage our stress. I know it’s easier said than done. We can’t really control how many stressful situations we encounter in our life but we can control how we react to them, to lessen the negative impact from them. I wrote an entire article on natural stress relief some of my tips are eating healthy, keeping your home tidy, getting a massage, aromatherapy, getting outside, talking to a loved one among other tips.
10. Diffuse Essential Oils: Last but not least are essential oils. You can use these wonderful oils to help clean the air in your home or office of bacteria and germs and also create a wonderful aroma! You can also rub oils on your feet to help support your immune system. Some essential oils that could be beneficial to diffuse or rub on your feet to help support the immune system are clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary.
For more information about the essential oils I use for myself and my family, click here.