Whether you are traveling on a plane, walking your pups out in the cold weather, not getting enough sunshine or your friends or kids are sneezing in your face, there’s always something getting passed around in winter. I see it in the entries of the grocery store and the aisles of the checkout stands and all my cancelled meeting lately. It’s out there.
In fact, as I write this, I myself just kicked my own brief stint with a cold. Yup, even nutritionist and holistic practitioners aren’t immune (pun intended, hehe)!
But I’ve got some good news! I’v got some tricks and tips, I personally use to stay healthy and also beat that cold or flu! So, rather than having it hang around for 2-4 weeks (or more like I have heard from some) like a lot of my friends and family out there, this is exactly what I do to get quicker faster, so, I was only feeling down a couple of days instead of weeks.
THE GET-BETTER-FASTER-EASIER COLD & FLU BUSTING PROTOCOL
Before the Cold/Flu
This is the moment you think you are getting sick or have been around someone getting sick or feel that little tickle in your throat.
This is the time to start doubling down on that Echinacea tincture or capsules. I make my own now (if you want to know, add a comment below and I’ll add it), but I also buy them from time to time when I need it now from my friends at Apothecary Tincture, my local-Denver herb shop. You can also buy them from your local health food store or online. I like Herb Pharm Super Echinacea or Rapid Immune Boost tinctures and Gaia Herbs Echinacea Supreme Capsules.
This mineral is essential for immunity, skin health, vision and hormone balance. Try popping a zinc lozenge or a supplement that’s 10-20 mg about 2-4 times a day for the first 1-2 days of a potential cold or flu. Studies show that 70 mg the first 24 hours of symptoms can help. I like Pure Encapsulations Zinc Liquid or Klaire Labs Zinc Plus Capsules or Perque Zinc+Throat Guard Lozenges.
This not only will boost your immune system but is a great natural cough suppressant or sore throat soother. I make my own elderberry syrup (its pretty easy and tasty), but you can buy good ones anywhere, or lozenges are good too.
During the Cold/Flu
Vital Nutrients Viracon (capsules) - One of my favorite mixes for boosting an immune system. This has is all zinc, elderberry, propolis, astragulus, licorice root and more!
Designs for Health ImmunoBerry (Liquid) - This is great for children or anyone that doesn’t want to do pills, and it’s cherry flavored. It’s full of the good stuff like elderberry, astragalus, shiitake and maitake mushrooms and wild cherry bark. Also, making this a great natural cough syrup, antiviral and antibacterial!
Source Naturals Wellness Formula (capsules) - Also a great formula and one you can buy on the shelves in the grocery store. They also make a tincture liquid version too. It’s got a bunch of good stuff in it, including zinc, vitamin c, garlic, propolis, echinacea, and much more. My only caveat, you have to swallow a lot of capsules which isn’t always the easiest if you are sick with a sore throat, but it is worth it!
THROAT OR COUGH CARE
Weddersppon Manuka Honey Lozenges - These are by far my favorite lozenges. I even carry a few in my purse for time when I want a post meal mint. They are that delicious. They have a few different flavors, just get what you like.
Bee Keeper’s Propolis Throat Spray - This stuff is great, it tastes good and it’s easy to travel with. Propolis is known to boost the immune system, give you energy and provide you with hundreds of vitamins, minerals and other compounds to keep us healthy. Also, great for a sore throat and some extra energy. And they are a great company to support, they practice ethical bee keeping and are sustainable.
Your mom told you to hydrate while you were sick. Right? She made you chicken noodle soup, tea, and more! But did you know why you need to hydrate extra while sick? Mostly it’s because if you have a fever you will be dehydrated. Also, when you’re sick you tend to have little energy, which usually translates into eating and drinking less. Either way, here’s what I like to add in to sip on when I am under the weather. All three teas here ere formulated by my herbalist teacher Rosemary Gladstar and can be bought at the grocery store:
Breathe Easy Tea – This is great for respiratory health and tastes yummy too. It’s got fennel, eucalyptus and licorice in it. It’s warm and spicy and will make you feel normal… even if only for a moment.
Cold Care Tea – This is super nurturing and warm. It’s got yarrow, peppermint, and elder plant in it. You could honestly drink this any time you were feeling like you needed a little extra comfort in your life. But I have at least 2 cups of this daily when I am run down.
Throat Coat Tea – Also another great formula for anyone needing some throat soothing. It’s got all the demulcents in it: slippery elm, licorice root and marshmallow root, making it extra moistening to the body and throat. Also, great for those that sing or speak a lot.
Bone Broth – there’s so many benefits to bone broth - it boosts immunity, reduces inflammation, is soothing and healing for the gut. Yes, I do make my own most the time (are you sick of hearing me say that yet, ha). If you want to I have a story saved on my Instagram walking you through how I make mine. But you don’t need to. They have such great brands out there now, my go to is the frozen ones by Bonefide Provisions. I just defrost a bag, and then heat 8-16 oz up on the stove with some freshly chopped garlic, sea salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon juice and chopped parsley or cilantro. It’s so good I drink it on a regular basis. It’ll make you feel better if you ware sick and keep your immune system strong year-round!
When we’re sick, warming foods are the best to eat. I know it seems pretty obvious by the fact that chicken soups always the first thing mom gave us when we were home sick from school as a kid. Warming foods - like onions, garlic, ginger, sweet potatoes, carrots, asparagus, leeks - help build our blood, boosting circulation, giving us energy and nourishing our bodies with nutrient density to help to heal our bodies.
Ravintsara Essential Oil – I don’t fly without these two essential oils. They can pretty much take care of anything that life throws at me. Ravintsara comes from the cinnamon family, it’s safe for children and great for breathing, energy and stimulation. You can rub it on your chest like you would Vicks vapor rub or put some on a tissue and smell it from time to time.
Peppermint/Lavender Essential Oils – These two essential oils are great for headaches or head pressure that might come with colds and flus. Among so many other uses. Peppermint is also great for soothing overtired muscles, helping with fatigue and uplifting your mood when you feel overwhelmed. Lavender is of course the go-to for sleep and relaxation, which is definitely necessary during illness. But did you know it’s also antibacterial, so its a great natural disinfectant and helps to uplift our spirits too.
THE STAYING HEALTHY PROTOCOL
Lastly, Let’s say you’re still healthy but you want to make darn sure you don’t get that nasty cold or flu this winter! What can you do to prevent it?
Eat plenty of plant-based foods - spinach, kale, asparagus, mushrooms, other dark leafy greens and more!
Eat plenty of foods rich in zinc - oysters, grass-fed beef, lamb, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, lentils, chickpeas, cashews, turkey, quinoa and shrimp.
Cut back on Inflammatory foods - processed foods, refined sugars, alcohol and caffeine in excess are great ways to lower the immune system because they cause inflammation and generally if you don’t consume these foods you will have more room for fresh whole foods like fruits and veggies which are packed with the vitamins and minerals we need and want to stay healthy!
Plenty of Vitamin S - Sleep! There’s a lot of ways we can work with this - get black out shades, no electronics 30-60 minutes before sleep, read a book, have a relaxing cup of tea or some Magnesium. But one of the most overlooked and easiest ways for most of us to do this is to cut back on alcohol. Not only does it interfere with sleep, but it also prevents REM sleep which is our most restorative kind!
Move Your body - This doesn’t have to be anything crazy. One of the reasons movement is so important to immune health is that when you move you are moving your lymph which helps to transport infection-fighting white blood cells through the body. It’s as easy as going for a 10-30 minute walk, go jump on a trampoline, or anything you enjoy. You can also dry brush your body, get in a good sauna and sweat to move that lymph! Movement also helps strengthen our heart and bones, also a great way to keep that immune system healthy.
Reduce Your Stress Levels - We’ve all heard this time and time again, so much so it’s in one ear and out the other, lost all meaning. Right? Well, it’s definitely one of the things that’s going to help lower the stress “fight or flight” response which will reduce inflammation and keep that immune system health and you happy! Which means less sick-o’s in the house! So try mediation, breath work, walks, listening to music, baths, sauna, really whatever you choose that you enjoy and lowers your stress daily.
Natural Anti-bacterials - Ditch that hand sanitizer, it’s filled with chemicals that can clog your liver and imbalance your hormones. Rather carry around a bottle of good quality lavender essential oil. Let that be your hand sanitizer, it’s naturally anti-bacterial! And it will add some calm in your life too! Who doesn’t need more of that?
Do you have any go to tips and tricks for staying healthy or beating that cold or flu? Or if you try any of these suggestions, share in the comments below!
Note: A few of these supplements are called “practitioner” brands only. This means you can only get it from your health provider, doctor, naturopath, or hey your local nutritionist (like me). So, if you see something here you’d like in your medicine cabinet (believe me you don’t want to wait until you need it, if you are like me, when you need it, you want it NOW, not in 2-4 business shipping days), I got you. If you sign up for a free Wellevate account: here. Then you can shop all these fancy practitioner brands and more, know your getting the best quality supplements and not wasting your money.
Last note: This is not a sponsored post. I use Wellevate in my private practice with most clients, I don’t get paid to say this. If you are a client, don’t forget you get a discount on your orders here.