It’s that time of year again! Cold and flu season! It seems like every time I go to the store, all I hear is sniffling, sneezing, or coughing. I used to be the girl that would get sick anytime I went out in public. When I was in school, I was constantly having to stay home when the flu hit our classroom. Over time, I’ve learned to listen to my body and understand what it needs to stay well. My wellness really ramped up when I became a nutritional therapist because I started applying my nutrition knowledge to my own body. Here are seven ways I keep myself well when cold and flu season hits.
Drink Water: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, drinking water is one of the easiest things you can do to promote wellness throughout your body. I never used to drink water. Instead, I used to be a big fan of caffeinated soda. When I realized that not only did this cause massive spikes my blood sugar, it also made me feel lousy! I also discovered that I was replacing the amount of water I should be drinking on a daily basis with sugary artificial drinks. How much water do we need? Take your body weight and divide it in half. The amount you get is the number of ounces you need to drink on a daily basis. It may sound like a lot, but if you think about how much water you lose on a daily basis, we really do you deplete our body of this valuable resource. If water is boring for you, I recommend adding some lemon juice to it. Not only does this give it some added flavor it gives it a nice boost of vitamin C.
Ginger, Ginger, and more Ginger: There is one ingredient I cannot live without; ginger. I am never without at least three ginger root bulbs in my kitchen, especially during cold and flu season. That’s because ginger has been shown to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties. It also aids in reducing inflammation throughout the body. When I feel like I’m getting sick or if people are starting to sniffle around me, I will juice up ginger and add it to hot water. I will also freeze ginger juice in ice cube trays and add it to my daily smoothies. Not only is it delicious, I swear that it helps me stay well. Plop a ginger cube in hot water with honey and a splash of lemon juice and sip pure comfort! Not only are these drinks delicious but they will help you stay well.
Smoothies (or smoothie bowls) every Morning: If you are a follower of my website and Facebook page, you know that I’m a huge fan of making smoothies in the morning. That’s because I’m not really a morning person and I don’t feel like going to the effort of making a full-blown breakfast! Smoothies are my solution to getting the nutrients I need to start my day. I’ll add a bunch of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and supplements to give my body the boost of immunity it needs. One of my favorite go-to ingredients is Organic Life Vitamins from Natural Vitality. Just one tablespoon contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients the body needs to thrive. I love that it is free from gluten, GMO’s, and it is USDA organic. You can check out Organic Life Vitamins from Natural Vitality here.
Wash my Hands: At the risk of sounding like a major Germ-a-phobe, I am pretty serious when it comes to washing my hands. This is especially true when I’m out in public and I’m touching all kind of things like door knobs, railings, and shopping cart handles. You just never know what kind of germs may be working on the service! I don’t use any type of antibacterial soap, just good old fashion bar soap. I just make sure to wash my hands thoroughly each time I am out and about. I also keep my hands off my face as a way to reduce the risk of exposure to some type of illness.
Rest and Relax: One of the best ways to keep well during cold and flu season is to pamper yourself. I believe that when our bodies and our minds are in balance, we will naturally stay happy and healthy. I do this by listening to music, meditating, and taking nightly baths. I recently discovered Natural Calm Bath from Natural Vitality and it is my favorite addition to a hot bath soak. Natural Calm Bath is full of natural calm magnesium and Brazilian gourmet sea salt. It relaxes me and gives me a nice detoxifying spa experience. I love the way it smells, and I love the way it makes my skin feel.
Take time for Nature: This can be a little bit tricky depending on the type of climate you live in. I live in Oregon where we don’t get too harsh of winters so I am able to walk around in nature during the colder season. When I am in nature I find that I naturally relax and connect with Mother Earth. I’m fortunate to live near a forest so I will spend 30 minutes walking around and admiring all of the lush green plants. If you do not live in an area near nature, do your best to find a park, a river, or something that is not necessarily man-made. Spend some time appreciating the sounds and sights that surround you. Your body, mind and spirit will thank you for it.
Focus on Digestion: I have always believed that digestion is the foundation for our health. If you think about it, it makes sense. If we are digesting our food properly we are getting those valuable nutrients needed to stay well during cold and flu season. That’s why I am very adamant about eating foods that are easy to digest. I also will take digestive supplements full of enzymes to aid in the process. If supplements aren’t your thing, simply focus on chewing your food before swallowing. That simple act can make all the difference with how you feel in your gut because the saliva secretes enzymes that aid in digestion.
Snow peas have been around for thousands of years and are enjoyed by many! These young pea pods are delicate and sweet in flavor and are loaded with fabulous health benefits. For example, snow peas are an excellent source of B vitamins which help to boost and maintain our energy levels. These vitamins also help build nerve and muscle tissue in our body. Snow peas also contain immune-boosting vitamin C, helping us stay well during cold and flu season. These peas are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin which help promote vision health. They are also a good source of vitamin K for bone health and vitamin A for heart health.
DID YOU KNOW:
– Snow peas are a good source of fiber, which helps to lower cholesterol and promotes healthy digestion.
– You can eat the snow pea whole! In fact, these peas are valued for their pods rather than just the peas inside.
Got a sore throat? Feeling a bit under the weather? Try out this delicious and nutritious smoothie! It is full of immune-boosting vitamin E and manganese. It’s also a good source of vitamin A, B6, C, and zinc. Honey has antimicrobial properties which is why it is the perfect food for soothing a sore throat. It can also kill certain bacteria that may be causing the infection. The almonds and flax seed oil give this smoothie a nice boost of “good fats” to help your heart, skin, hair, and brain stay healthy. The banana us a good source of potassium and dietary fiber. Give this smoothie a try today!
Throat-Soothing Honey Banana Smoothie with Honey
1 C almond milk (or rice milk)
1 C raw almonds, not skinned
1/3 C honey
1 Tbsp flax oil
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 banana
Add all ingredients to your blender and process until smooth. Serve in a tall glass. Enjoy!
We all know that it’s important to include as many vitamins and minerals in our diet as possible. Beta-carotene is an important vitamin because it’s responsible for protecting our cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. It’s also promotes a healthy immune system and reproductive system. This juice is full of beta-carotene in addition to other health-promoting nutrients. The carrots in the juice have an enormous amount of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that work together to promote eye health. The cantaloupe promotes good heart health because it is an excellent source of potassium. Give this juice a try today!
3 organic carrots
1 – 2 C kale
2 fresh apricots, pitted
1/4 cantaloupe, cut in two
Using your juicer machine, process the above ingredients. Pour into a tall glass and serve. Enjoy!
Swiss chard has been known for its health-promoting properties since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. It is one of the more popular vegetables in the Mediterranean region but it is slowly gaining popularity here in the United States. Both the roots and the leaves of Swiss chard contain good amounts of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber. Swiss chard is an excellent source of vitamin C which has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer. For those who do not drink dairy, Swiss chard is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K. This makes the vegetable a good food for building strong bones. Swiss chard is also full of potassium and combined with the magnesium, this makes it a good food for the heart. It is also an excellent source of vitamin A because of its concentration of beta-carotene. These are important nutrients in promoting healthy eyes and good vision.
DID YOU KNOW:
– Overcooking Swiss chard can cause it to loss 50 percent of its nutrients. It is a rather delicate vegetable, so when cooking it, try to keep it al dente.
– Recent studies show that Swiss chard is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients that help to promote healthy eyes.
Did you get a sore throat this season? Bummer! Throat infections can be viral or bacterial and can cause a fever, difficulty swallowing, and inflammation on the tonsils. Be sure to eat healing foods such as blueberries, carrots, garlic, and onions. Add some lemon to your chamomile tea along with a splash of honey. Some herbs that have been shown to help a sore throat include rosemary, thyme, and nettle. If you have any sea salt, mix some in a glass of lukewarm water. Gargle with the sea salt water and feel the relief it provides! You can also mix some Echinacea with the sea salt water to help boost your immune system. Get well soon!
It doesn’t have to be summer for you to enjoy a refreshing beverage! This smoothie hits the spot and is full of important nutrients that contribute to optimal health. Cucumbers are a great source of vitamin C and a phytonutrient called caffeic acid, which prevents water retention. They are also a good source of folate, a B vitamin that is important in maintaining a healthy heart. The berries in this smoothie are loaded with antioxidants which are important for keeping your immune system strong. Give this smoothie a try today!
Cucumber Berry Mint Smoothie
1 cucumber (cut in half lengthwise, seeded with a spoon, and chopped into chunks)
1 C blackberries
handful of chopped fresh mint
1 C plain yogurt (for a thinner smoothie, add a C of plain kefir in addition to the yogurt)
Put the cucumber in a blender, add the yogurt (and kefir if you are using it), berries, and mint. Process until smooth. You can add some ice cubes to this mixture if you prefer to drink it cold. Serve in a tall glass and enjoy!