November 19, 2010

Six Keys to Beating the Winter Blues—and Flus.

Natural Remedies to Get You Through Winter.

How to fight a cold with natural remedies.

The sneezing, sniffling, tiredness, and complaining has already started all around me. Seems everyone I know starts getting sick when the holidays arrive.

Nurture your immune system.
The best way to ward off sickness? Boost the immune system and rid our diets of overly acidic foods that lower immunity. It seems like a no-brainer, really. If your body is in a alkaline state, you will bullet proof yourself from getting sick. This means you gotta dump the dairy, which causes allergies and contributes to sinus problems. Reduce or eliminate consumption of animal foods, white sugar, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, and start increasing intake of fruits and vegetables of all the colors of the rainbow. Doesn’t hurt to start taking some vitamins and herbs if you are prone to sickness in the winter. Things like vitamin C, echinacea, reishi mushrooms, lysine, and astragulus. Please consult a professional to learn about what herbs are best for you.

Your lifestyle and state of mind
…contribute to the strength of your immunity as well. Stress-reducing activities like exercise, yoga, meditation, and breathing techniques increase immune function, as well as getting a good night’s sleep each night. Your mind is a powerful tool to getting well. Visualize yourself well, tell yourself you are well, and do not talk about being sick to everyone around you. This can perpetuate the sickness. Often times when we are “sick” our bodies are going through a detox and the body is telling us to stop putting toxins in. Listen to what your body is saying!

If you do happen to catch something or you are detoxing, here are some great natural remedies that will help ease your pain.

Miso Soup
They say that chicken noodle soup makes it all better, but I say leave out the chicken and try making miso soup instead. Miso is a fermented soybean paste that has a wealth of health benefits. It contains B12 and just a little gives has your daily requirements for many trace minerals, which have shown to boost immunity and protect against cancer. With flu and cold season arriving it would be a great idea to have a bowl of miso soup every day (or if you feel something coming on have miso soup). You can change up the vegetables each time and use different kinds of miso, so you’ll never get bored. Be sure to check the label to see if the miso contains MSG (you don’t want that!). I personally buy organic whenever possible.

Lotus Root Tea
This root is the edible part of the lotus flower, which is great for our lungs. All the holes you find when you cut it open resemble the lungs. You can steam it, saute it with other veggies or use it in soups. If you have chest congestion, make a tea with lotus root by grating a 2 inch piece into a pulp. Squeeze the juice from the pulp and boil with 1 cup of water and a pinch of sea salt. Simmer for 5 minutes, adding ginger juice if you like. Drink hot and eat any lotus bits that may be leftover in the tea. This tea is really great at removing phlegm and mucous from the lungs.

Herbal Sauna
They say you can sweat out a cold or flu. If you have access to an herbal sauna give it a try. The herbs are absorbed into the lungs and toxins are released through the skin. Any steam sauna will do. If you don’t feel well enough to leave the house try taking a steamy hot bath with essential oils of peppermint, eucalyptus, or lavender.

If you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work, fasting helps knock out a cold because your body contracts and uses the excess energy from eating on repairing your system. Fasting could mean eating/drinking nothing, just drinking water, doing a juice only fast or even a brown rice only fast. You could try one day, see how you feel and go from there.

Being sick is no fun at all, so give yourself a nice break…even if you feel like you have a long list of things to do. Be still, curl up with a good book or movie and a nice cup of herbal tea.

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