Here we go again with cold and flu season. The other day someone asked me what I do to keep my family healthy through the winter. Here are some of our favorite tips:
1. Gargle daily with sea salt water (we mix about 1/4 tsp in a cup of water). Because most bacteria, viruses, and fungi enter the body through the mucosal passages of the nose and throat, this is one way to quickly dislodge them and stop them from proliferating and entering your body.
2. Blow your nose every morning. Another very simple way to ensure those little bugs are being expelled and not making a home in your mucosal lining.
3. Drink hot lemon water. Make tea water on the stove (no microwave!) and squeeze at least 1/4 of a fresh lemon into a cup of hot water. This is a natural, gentle, and easy way to clean out the inside of your body and to keep your body at a level pH for a heightened immune system.
4. Chew your food! This is a huge one. Digestive problems are epidemic in our country and SO MUCH of it stems from not chewing your food properly. Digestion starts in the mouth and when you don’t take the time to chew, large protein molecules enter the digestive tract and blood stream. The body then has to mount an all out immune system attack to try to eliminate those huge molecules in the blood. When your immune system is working so hard on breaking down the non-chewed particles, it doesn’t have any energy left to fight off impending invaders. The average person chews one bite 8 times. It should be around 30 times. So start to practice slowing yourself down while you’re eating chewing more thoroughly.
5. The 3 minute house flush. Did you know that your home air in the winter is toxic? Its actually extremely toxic due to cooking remnants, heat, gas, cleaning products, and just all the carbon dioxide we expel. We lock everything up so tight to keep the cold out, but we end up keeping the ‘sick’ in. Plants are great natural air detoxifiers but during the winter it is also beneficial to open a window on each end of your house for 3 minutes and let all the nasty air out while allowing the clean air in. If you do this daily, you will notice the difference immediately. You’ll even find your energy level stays nice and high when you come home at night!
6. Get a Chiropractic adjustment. Research is clear that removing nervous system interference by way of a proper adjustment increases immune system function by around 200%! Keep your immune system on track by having an adjustment at least once per month and if you start to feel sick, make an extra appointment.
The other side to consider is that even though feeling sick isn’t fun and can even end up in lost work and/or school time, if you get a cold or a flu once every 1-2 years, it is actually healthy for your body. In my opinion, it is the equivalent of restarting your computer. When your computer starts to act slow and gets cluttered up with too much junk, maybe it locks up and won’t do anything at all…just restart it! Usually it starts up fresh with a new outlook on life, right? That is the same with our bodies. Sometimes we just need a little reboot. Instead of fighting a cold, give your body a chance to refresh itself. Relax, get caught up on a novel you’ve been wanting to read and get some extra sleep. Do not cover up your symptoms with over the counter medications and push yourself through it. You’ll notice that only makes it last longer and you end up getting sick AGAIN soon after. Of course you should consult your health care provider if you feel there is something more going on than just a typical cold or flu, or if you’re getting sick more often than 1-2 times per year. If this is the case, chances are you have a chronically lowered immune system and may need some immune support by way of probiotics (good bacteria) and/or a specific vitamin or mineral to boost you back up.
So, use these tips to keep your family healthy this year, but if you do get sick, just allow yourself a needed break.