Having to plan for COVID around cold and flu season has certainly given us more to be concerned about in the coming months. Now is the best time to begin preparing your body to fight off illness.
In The Coronavirus Handbook, author Tess Pennington outlined some necessary points to keep your immune system as strong as possible during the time of year when you are most susceptible to illness.
It is important to emphasize that herbs cannot cure a highly contagious virus, but they can certainly help boost your immunity. Turning toward natural remedies now will give you the knowledge and skills you need to keep your family well during flu season and in the event of a pandemic flu.
When you begin feeling that your body is run down, it is time to start actively working to boost the immune system. By doing so, you are fighting off the infection before it overtakes your body, thus, significantly reducing being prone to colds and flu. You can help give your body the edge this winter by trying the following:
- Herbal tinctures are natural medicines that help with a variety of ailments. You can stimulate your immune system function to help shorten the physical and mental recovery periods of illnesses.
- Herbal teas that boost and even fortify your immune system during cold and flu season. Finding teas that have bioactive ingredients like echinacea, yarrow, lemon balm, elderberry, and marshmallow help you feel better naturally! Drinking any warm liquid calm our nerves, lower our stress levels, and decrease blood pressure as warmth itself is associated with comfort. As warm beverages also beg to be sipped as opposed to chugged quickly, it often means the person consuming the warm drink will be sitting down, calm, possibly reading, or just enjoying the quiet. This also helps boost the body’s natural defense.
- Sleep – Getting enough quality sleep helps the body keep functioning at its best. I know when I don’t get enough sleep, I feel worse than if I had a cold! If you have trouble sleeping, try to look into ways to calm down before bed, such as drinking the aforementioned tea or exhausting yourself with exercise.
- Try to avoid alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine in the few hours before you go to bed. These vices all play a role in our sleeping habits, and not in a positive way. Caffeine and coffee can be amazing for the body, however, it definitely should be avoided before bed, unless you drink decaf.
- Probiotics – These teeny microorganisms help keep your gut running the way it should. Try eating more fermented foods. Fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, and kombucha are widely available these days. They give your body a healthy dose of probiotics, which are live microorganisms that are important to good digestion and overall health.
- Elixirs – Taking a daily teaspoon of an elixir can increase the immune system such as apple cider vinegar tonics, elderberry syrup, and honey, lemon, ginger syrup.
Prepare Your Body Naturally For Cold & Flu Season in 4 Easy Steps
This year, cold and flu season could present all kinds of different issues with preparing your body to fight off illness. But these suggestions could help you naturally fortify your immune system even with everything else that’s going on.
GET SOME SUN
As we pointed out above, sunlight is still the best way to get your vitamin D. You don’t want to burn your skin, but spend some time in the sun, with skin exposed to get your daily dose of vitamin D while you still can. Once it gets cold and starts to snow this will be more difficult. Vitamin D is often seen as the “secret” to fighting off influenza viruses. I love being in my garden, so bein in the sun (with a straw sunhat) is easy for me. If you have trouble, consider grabbing a book and a cup of tea, and sit in the sun reading for only 15 minutes. It doesn’t take much, but you will be able to notice your health improve over time if you regularly get enough vitamin D. If you choose to use a vitamin D supplement, the best dose to use is unknown (as all of us are different with different body compositions), but the Vitamin D Council recommends that adults take 5,000 to 10,000 IU per day, depending on body weight. Children should take at least 100 IU/kg/day. The sun is still the best way for humans to get vitamin D!
Make sure you are consuming enough water. If you like herbal teas, these are also excellent ways to stay hydrated, and if it’s still warm, taste great iced! Proper hydration helps you prepare your body for cold and flu season and also helps keep your skin looking and feeling healthy. Staying hydrated is especially important because when you sleep at night, your body naturally loses water through respiration and transpiration. Don’t play catch up once you start to feel sick. Instead, make sure you start drinking enough water now.
Regular exercise strengthens the immune system. While you may have an activity plan in place during the spring and summer, now is the time to start coming up with a plan for the fall and winter. The colder it gets, the tougher it can be to get outside for a workout. But you can exercise indoors. Use YouTube and find a cardio yoga workout you enjoy, or grab some weights (canned od will work too) and strengthen your muscles. Stretching is also a good way to prep your muscles for exercise, so don’t forget to do it!
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Americans are chronically sleep-deprived. With all of the economic, social, and health stress on us lately, it’s pretty easy to see why. But you still need to make sure you are sleeping well. Sleep recharges the body and gives the immune system a boost if we do happen to get sick. If you do catch a cold or the flu this winter, rest, hydrate, and relax.
These are a few natural ways we can start ettin our bodies ready for cold and flu season right now! It is a different kind of year, as 2020 has already presented challenges beyond what most could have imagined. But there’s no time like now to make sure you are doing the right thing for your body and immune system to make sure you’re going to stay as healthy as possible as the temperatures dip.