Archive for December 22nd, 2010

Fighting Colds

December 22, 2010 1:20 pm | No Comments

A robust immune system is dependent on a number of lifestyle and environmental factors, but the most common factors are:

Optimized vitamin D levels – Research has confirmed that “catching” colds and flu may actually be a symptom of an underlying vitamin D deficiency. Less than optimal vitamin D levels will significantly impair your immune response and make you far more susceptible to contracting colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections.
In the largest and most nationally representative study of its kind to date, people with the lowest vitamin D levels reported having significantly more recent colds or cases of the flu — and the risk was even greater for those with chronic respiratory disorders like asthma.
I strongly believe you could avoid colds and influenza entirely by maintaining your vitamin D level in the optimal range. Vitamin D is an amazingly effective antimicrobial agent, producing 200 to 300 different antimicrobial peptides in your body that kill both bacteria and viruses.

Avoiding sugar and grains — If you feel yourself coming down with a cold or flu, this is NOT the time to eat sugar, grains, artificial sweeteners or processed foods. Sugar is particularly damaging to your immune system — which needs to be ramped up, not suppressed, in order to combat an emerging infection.

Getting proper rest — If you aren’t getting enough sleep, or enough restorative sleep, you’ll be at increased risk for a hostile viral takeover. Your immune system is also the most effective when you’re not sleep-deprived, so the more rested you are the quicker you’ll recover. You can find 33 secrets for a good night’s sleep here.

Effectively addressing emotional stressors — Emotional stressors can predispose you to an infection and make cold symptoms worse.

Finding ways to manage daily stress as well as your reactions to circumstances beyond your control will contribute to a strong and resilient immune system. My favorite tool for this is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), a system that helps balance your body’s subtle energies and repair emotional “short-circuits.” EFT may even help you overcome cold symptoms.

Regular exercise – Regular exercise is a crucial strategy for increasing your resistance to illness. There is evidence that regular, moderate exercise can reduce your risk for respiratory illness by boosting your immune system.

In fact, one study found that people who exercised regularly (five or more days a week) cut their risk of having a cold by close to 50 percent. Exercise likely cuts your risk of colds so significantly because it triggers a rise in immune system cells that can attack any potential invaders.

  1. Things to do IF you get a cold:

The inner bark of the Slippery Elm, when mixed with water, it becomes a slick gel. This gel is rich with antioxidants and coats your throat, stomach lining and intestines.

Herbal Tea

Making a tea from the herb Echinacea may help fight the common cold. Goldenseal tea helps treat respiratory tract infections, eye infections and even yeast infections. Hot ginger or elderberry tea can help soothe a sore throat.

Honey

If you have a sore throat, try gargling with a honey mixture.

Nasal Saline Rinse

A natural nasal saline irrigates your nose and helps clear thick mucus and relieve pressure from your sinuses.

Steam

Steam can moisturize your nasal passages and will help the pressure from your sinuses.

White and Cider Vinegar

Wearing a pair of cotton socks soaked in white vinegar is an old, natural remedy that is still used today to reduce a fever.

White Willow

White willow is a natural anti-inflammatory and fever reducing remedy.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup has been medically proven to help cure a cold or fever. It is most effective if the soup is made with actual chicken bones in the broth.

Garlic

Here’s one folk remedy to cure a cough or chest cold — chop raw pieces of garlic and mix it with olive oil. Let the mixture sit for a half hour, and then rub the mixture on the bottoms of your feet and cover with socks. The garlic will be absorbed by your skin.

Ginseng

Ginseng can help cure a cold or the flu, as well as prevent future colds if taken as a daily supplement.

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