It seems like as with every year, this is the prime time for people to get sick. My boyfriend has been sick most of the week and I started to get little twinges of a possible cold moving in on Wednesday. Luckily, I have a lot of years of experience under my belt in terms of supporting the body and specifically the immune system, so this time around I have been following my three-prong attack on the potential sickness and it seems that outside of some minor sniffles and headaches I have remained in pretty good shape. Thought I would share my process with you in the hopes that it will keep you healthy as the seasons change!
Part 1 – The External
Detox Baths – Baths are a good way to unclog your nasal passages and get the lymph system going once you are already sick, but they can also be used during the preventative stage to draw out the nasties in your body that could lead to getting sick. This bath is one that can be used in either scenario. Fill the tub with hot water (as hot as you can handle but don’t burn yourself please!). Add in Epsom salts (about two cups), about a cup of baking soda, and thin slices of fresh Ginger root. Essential oils can be added also. You can do some research about which oils to use for what ailments, but you can also add in some Lavender or Eucalyptus for example just for the aroma alone. Soak for about 20 minutes. Make sure to get all bundled up as soon as you get out the tub!
Lavender Oil – Lavender essential oil is a good oil to use as a subtle antibacterial. I learned this when I was flying to Taiwan and was told that it is a good oil to use as a hand sanitizer as well as a defense around the nose and mouth so that germs don’t get in. You can either put some on a handkerchief and breathe it in or rub a few drops around your nose and mouth. So much better than the industrial strength hand sanitizer!
Bundle up – Ok maybe this one is a no brainer, but it is oh so important! Stay warm! You especially want to make sure that your feet are warm and do not expose your body to cool temperatures if you have a fever. It is very tempting to unbutton that coat and take off that scarf if you have a fever, but if you are outdoors you are just making it more difficult for your body to regulate its body temperature, therefore adding even more stress to the immune system in the end.
Part 2 – The Internal
Food/Drink – There is a lot that can be said on this topic so I am going to break down some of the main things here but you can do a lot more research to see what other foods are good for preventing and dealing with being sick!
- Garlic! Onions! – pungent but are great natural antibiotics. Eat raw in salads, sandwiches, etc.
- Apple “cider” antibacterial drink – mix 1 tbsp raw honey, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 2 tbsps raw apple cider vinegar into hot water and sip slowly. Tastes like apple cider and is really great at getting rid of unwanted things in the body. I also sometimes add cayenne pepper and fresh ginger. A really great drink for a cold day as well!
- Stay away from sugar and dairy – these two things really slow down the function of white blood cells and you want these little guys to be in tip top shape during cold and flu season! Gluten is also a good thing to take out of your diet especially when already sick.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Yeah yeah, I know it’s the good stuff but it really doesn’t do your body any favors, especially if it is already working overtime to keep/get you healthy.
- Keep it simple. Whatever you end up eating try to stick to things that are easy for your body to digest. Steak dinner? No. Brown rice and steamed veggies? Yes. And while you are at it, add some garlic to that rice bowl!
Oil of Oregano – This oil has gained a lot of popularity as of late so I just wanted to write a little bit about it and how to best use it. I really like this stuff for weeks like this one where I could tell I was probably about to get sick. Taking a few drops in water throughout the day for a few days has really helped me to not let whatever has gotten into my body develop into a full out illness. However, oil of oregano is very potent and is not very discriminatory about what kinds of germs it kills. It’s sort of like throwing a bomb into a room and shutting the door. Sure the bad guys are done for, but so are the good ones. Therefore, it is really important to not overuse this one, as after prolonged usage it could end up compromising your body more by getting rid of some of its natural defenses.
Water – Duh! Drink it! Lots of it.
Part 3 – The Behavior
Rest – I know that we all have a lot of stuff to do. We may have demanding jobs, kids, social commitments, world domination schemes to iron out… I get it. But just laying back and letting your body do what it needs to do is the best, THE BEST, thing you can do when you feel like you are getting sick or trying to kick an existing cold to the curb. The best rest? Sleeeeeeeep! Sleep at night, get up and maybe have some food, and go back to sleep. Keep doing this throughout the day if possible. Seriously. No amount of sleep at this stage can be seen as too much. Your body can normally handle things very well if you let it use the maximum amount of energy on keeping itself healthy.
Hope some of this stuff helps you out next time you feel a cold coming on. The combination of these three areas of focus does wonders for me!