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Cold and Flu Prevention
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It’s here again.. Time to bundle up and take steps to support those busy little white blood cells so we can stay healthy for the up coming winter months. Below are a few recommendations for preventing and treating infections of the respiratory tract this Fall and Winter.
- Dress in layers. In the Pacific NW, within a typical winter day, you may see a significant variation in temperature as well as moisture. Make sure that you have adequate and suitable layers of clothing for the conditions. Keep a sweater, rain jacket, scarf and hat in your car or office.
- Support your immune system. Keep your immune system strong by doing some or all of the following:
- Avoid excessive sugar, alcohol or concentrated fruit juices. This is especially true at first sign of a cold. Sugar suppresses the immune system and is the preferred food for bacteria.
- Increase intake of herbal teas.
- Get plenty of sleep. Ideally sleep begins around 9-10pm in the winter, after dark settles in.
- Decrease stress. Increased cortisol (produced as a result of stress) suppresses your immune system and increases your cravings for sugar. Consider B vitamins, especially B5. Stimulate your immune cells by supplementing with vitamin C (500mg, 3-6 times a day), Zinc (15-25 mg/d).
- Exercise for 30-45 minutes, 3-5 times per week minimum.
- Eat plenty of vegetables and foods vibrant in color.
- Washing hands often, especially during cold and flu season, can reduce your risk of catching or spreading a cold or the flu. Wash hands, telephone receivers and other shared items frequently.
If you are unable to avoid contracting a cold or flu, begin treatment at first sign of infection to shorten the duration. Your naturopathic physician can also offer you support by way of nutritional recommendations, herbs, and more to help support your body during this time. Below is a recipe for Bieler broth, a beloved classic for treating both colds and flus.. and for good reason.
This nutritious broth is helpful during acute illness or as part of a detoxification/cleansing program.
- 2 medium zucchini
- 2 stalks celery
- clove of garlic
- 1 cup green beans
- chopped parsley
Chop 2 medium zucchini, 1 cup of green beans, and 2 stalks of celery into a steamer and steam until soft (about 10 minutes). Place steamed veggies, 3 cups of steaming water, and a handful of chopped parsley in a blender and blend until smooth (about 1-2 minutes). If you like garlic, a clove or two may be added as you blend to help stimulate the immune system.
Yield: 2-3 bowls