6 Tips to ward off colds and sickness.
This is the cold and flu season, so perfect time to feature this article about how to ward off sickness... although these tips can work anytime of the year to keep you healthy.
First of all, let's clear up a misconception about why more people get sick in the winters compared to warmer times of the year. So many people still have the misconception that the cold temperature itself can make you sick...
This is not true.
There are 2 theories that I think have the most validity as to why more colds, flu, and sickness occur in the winter.
A. It may have to do with people generally spending more time indoors in the winter and thereby being exposed to more germs in enclosed buildings.
B. People don't get much sunlight in the winter and therefore, Vitamin D levels in the body drop significantly, which reduces immunity. Most people don't realize how important sunlight and Vitamin D levels really are towards so many functions inside their body.
Even for people that get outdoors in the winter often, if you live to the North of an imaginary line from approximately Atlanta to Los Angeles, the suns rays are not strong enough in the winter months to stimulate any significant Vitamin D production inside your body.
This aspect of lack of Vitamin D production and lowered immune strength in the winter months is what is most likely the REAL reason why more sickness goes around in the winter.
But the purpose of this article is not to debate about the causes of winter colds and flu... the purpose is to give tips to help bolster your immune system to fight off sickness before it gets a hold of you.
So here is my little ritual that I've been using for a few years now and really seems to keep me from getting any colds, flu, or any sickness at all.
As a matter of fact, I can't remember the last time I was legitimately sick. Every time I feel a cold or something starting to come on, I do this ritual, strengthen my immune system, and my body always fights it off before I actually get sick.
1. Focus on Vitamin D (but not in pill form)
You need to be careful about artificial forms of vitamin D in many vitamin pills, as artificial vitamin forms are almost always either ineffective or possibly even detrimental compared to natural forms.
For this reason, you need to get your vitamin D naturally. The sun is the best source, and leads to a powerful strengthening of your immune system when your body can naturally produce Vitamin D from moderate sun exposure.
Since you may not be going on a tropical vacation this winter, how can you still keep Vitamin D levels from falling dangerously low in your body?
Well, the best food sources of natural Vitamin D are egg yolks, fatty fish, organ meats, and some mushrooms. I also like to take a SMALL dose of cod liver oil daily in the deepest months of winter to make sure my vitamin D levels don't fall too low. Make sure to take only small doses of cod liver oil, as large doses can give you an overdose of Vitamin A. I take half of the recommended dose on the bottle.
FYI - The synthetic version of Vitamin D is ergocalciferol (vitamin D2), while the natural form is cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). btw, fortified milk has added D2, not D3... so that's not a good source.
2. Kombucha tea strengthens immune system
Kombucha tea is a fermented tea (naturally effervescent) that contains billions of friendly gut organisms (probiotics) that help to strengthen your immune system by bolstering your levels of good organisms in your gut.
Remember that 70% of your immune system lies in your gut and the health of the friendly organisms in there to protect you against pathogens and sickness.
You can find bottles of Kombucha tea at health food stores such as Whole Foods.
When I feel any sickness coming on, I start loading up on Kombucha tea, drinking it throughout the day. It has a strong taste, so I mix it with my normal iced teas at 1/3 Kombucha and 2/3 regular iced tea.
3. Loading up on antioxidants
We already know how important antioxidants are to overall health as well as immune system support.
For this reason, I make sure to really load up on antioxidant-rich fruits, berries, and veggies to help prevent sickness.
I also make sure to take my daily Longevity Antioxidant blend from my partners at Prograde, which is a powerful synergistic antioxidant mixture of green tea, wolfberry, acai berry, Biovin grape, coffeeberry, and pomegranate.
4. Green tea and Chamomile Tea
There is evidence that green tea and chamomile tea can help aid in strengthening the immune system.
Even if the effect is small, you can't go wrong because both are loaded with powerful antioxidants unique to each tea.
For that reason, I try to drink a couple cups of green tea with a small bit of raw honey early in the day, and then at night, I have a couple cups of chamomile tea.
This isn't a bad idea even for a regular habit, but it's even more important when I feel a sickness possibly coming on.
5. Light exercise
When you feel a sickness coming on, a super-high intensity workout is not a good idea, as hard training forces the body to do a lot of recovery, this at a time when your body needs all of it's efforts on trying to fight off the oncoming sickness.
Although I usually recommend high intensity training, when sickness might be coming on, it's just a good idea to get some light exercise instead.
Personally, I like to get outside for some fresh air and go for a hike or go snowshoeing. These aren't very strenuous for me, so they won't cause my body to be forced to do a lot of recovery... but just getting out in the fresh air and getting the circulation going I feel is good to help the body fight off the sickness.
6. Avoid ALL processed foods and sweetened soft drinks
If you're serious about your health and getting lean for life, this should be an everyday rule for you anyway (except maybe for cheat meals)...
However, when you might have a sickness coming on, this is no time to bombard your body with processed foods, inflammatory omega-6 oils (soybean oil, corn oil, etc), fried foods, high fructose corn syrup, refined sugars, and chemical additives.
All of these force your body to do extra work to deal with all of this junk and the internal inflammation that they cause in your body.
Instead, this is a time that you need to give your body only wholesome unprocessed foods that are only 1 ingredient...fruits, berries, veggies, eggs, nuts, seeds, grass-fed meats, etc.
It will go a LONG way to helping to ward off that sickness that is trying to get a hold of you.