As autumn transitions into winter, we often see a rise in cold and flu illnesses. This year, be proactive and take advantage of our immune-boosting resources at Integrated Wellness to enjoy a healthy and energized season!
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From Vitamin C, D, B to we have a large selection of immune supporting vitamins and minerals to stave off potential cold and flu viruses
Lymph massage can provide healing benefits. If you’re feeling tired and low on energy, or if you’ve been sick and feeling like your body is fighting to get back on track, lymph massage can be a great option.
Reset your body’s defense system and boosts the body’s ability to fight off inflammation and seasonal ailments.
In addition to these offerings, we also recommend certain foods and natural remedies that can help prevent or decrease the severity and length of time you may experience a cold or flu.
Consider eating the following foods when you have a cold or the flu.
Whether you prefer chicken, beef, or vegetable, the organic broth is one of the best things you can eat when you have a cold or the flu. Broth helps prevent dehydration, and the warm elements can help soothe a sore throat and relieve congestion.
ORGANIC CHICKEN SOUP
Chicken soup combines the benefits of broth along with additional ingredients. Cut-up organic chicken provides your body with iron and protein, and you’ll also gain nutrients from carrots, herbs, and celery. You can eat chicken soup throughout the duration of the illness to help keep you hydrated and satiated; just be sure to watch the salt content.
While you might think of garlic as a food flavoring agent, it has actually been used in alternative medicine for a variety of ailments for centuries. In fact, studies on the healing power of garlic with the flu found enhanced immunity and reduced symptom severity.
Due to the immune-enhancing effects, consider eating garlic or taking garlic supplements at the first signs of the flu or cold.
VITAMIN C–CONTAINING FRUITS
Vitamin C is an important nutrient to help boost your immune system, which is especially important when you’re sick. While supplements can help, your body can absorb nutrients like vitamin C more effectively from the foods you eat.
Consider snacking on vitamin C–rich fruits while you have the flu. Some foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, strawberries, blackberries, spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower.
Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens can also help boost your immune system when you have the flu or a cold. They have both vitamin C and vitamin E, another immune-enhancing nutrient.
Consider combining leafy greens with fruit in a smoothie or eat them raw with a drizzle of lemon and olive oil. It’s best to eat these immune-boosting foods throughout the duration of your illness.
Broccoli is a nutrient powerhouse that can benefit your body when you have the flu. Eating just one serving will provide immune-boosting vitamins C and E, along with calcium and fiber.
Consider eating broccoli when your appetite returns toward the middle or end of the illness. You can also eat broccoli soup; just remember to check the sodium content.
When you’re sick, a hot bowl of oatmeal can be a soothing, nutritious food choice. Oatmeal, like other whole grains, is also a natural source of immune-boosting vitamin E and polyphenol antioxidants. Choose whole gluten-free oats for optimal benefits.
Drinking water and other fluids is even more important when you have the flu or a cold. This is true whether you have respiratory flu or stomach flu. It’s easy to get dehydrated with a cold or the flu.
Not only do you eat and drink less and have an overall reduced water intake, but you also lose water when sweating with a fever or have diarrhea. Not only are fluids important for your body functions in general, but they can also help break up congestion and stave off infections. When it comes to hydrating beverages, water still ranks number one. It also acts as a natural detox for your body. If you aren’t a fan of water or are looking for something with more flavor, you can also drink:
• Clear broth soups
• Coconut water
• ginger tea
• herbal tea with honey
• honey and lemon tea (mix equal parts with hot water)
• 100 percent juices (look for products without added sugars)
Low-sugar sports drinks or other electrolyte-containing beverages, such as Pedialyte, may be used if you’re dehydrated only. Although they’re not typical of the seasonal flu, vomiting and diarrhea are symptoms that could warrant the use of electrolytes.
DRINK HERBAL TEA
Several herbs and green leafy teas have natural antiviral and antibacterial properties along with antioxidant benefits. A hot herbal drink is also soothing to your throat and sinuses. You can make a flu-fighting herbal tea with star anise and other herbs like:
• green tea
• fresh or dried ginger, or ginger paste
• fresh garlic
Sweeten herbal teas with pure honey. Honey, royal jelly, and other bee products have been found to have natural antiviral and antibacterial properties. Many bagged teas are available with these as dried ingredients
combined together for optimal results. You’ll know you’re drinking enough water and liquids if:
• you must urinate regularly
• the color of your urine is almost clear or pale yellow
If your urine is a deep yellow to amber color, you may be dehydrated.
GET PLENTY OF REST
It’s important to rest and get more sleep when you have the flu or cold. Sleeping can help boost your immune system. This helps your body fight off the virus. Cancel your usual routine and make sleep a priority to help get you back on your feet.
UP YOUR ZINC INTAKE
The mineral zinc is important for your immune system. This nutrient helps your body make germ-fighting white blood cells. Research shows that zinc might help ease cold and flu symptoms. Zinc helps your body fight the flu virus and may slow down how fast it multiplies. You can take a zinc supplement or a multivitamin with zinc during the flu season. You can normally get plenty of zinc from a balanced daily diet. Foods that are high in zinc include:
• red meat
RINSE WITH SALTWATER
A warm water and salt rinse (sometimes called a saltwater gargle) can soothe a sore throat. It can also help to clear mucus. Here’s how to rinse with salt water:
1. Boil or heat up water and let it cool until it’s warm or at room temperature. Mix 1/2 tsp salt to 8 ounces of warm water.
2. Pull the saltwater to the back of your throat and gargle it for about 10 to seconds so that it rinses your mouth and throat. Spit the water into a sink and repeat 2 to 4 times.
3. Do not swallow the salt water. Do not allow children to gargle until they can safely gargle with plain water.
APPLY ESSENTIAL OILS
Some types of essential oils may help protect you against certain viruses and bacteria. One study found that tea tree oil helps to fight cold and flu viruses by slowing or stopping the rate that the virus multiplies. According to the study, tea tree oil works best when it’s used within two hours of infection. This
shows that it may help to block the virus from multiplying.
In practice, you might add a few drops of tea tree oil to liquid hand soap when you wash your hands or mixed into lotion you use. Some commercially made mouthwashes include it as an ingredient.
Other plant and herbal essential oils may also work as natural antibiotics and antivirals.
• cinnamon oil
• peppermint oil
• eucalyptus oil
• geranium oil
Use essential oils only as directed. Do not ingest essential oils, many are toxic. Most essential oils can be used on the skin after they’re mixed with oils like almond or olive oil. You can add fresh and dried herbs and spices to food to get similar benefits. Diffusing essential oils into the air with a diffuser may also help against some kinds of viruses and bacteria. Be aware that aromatherapy has an influence on children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and pets.
USE A HUMIDIFIER
The flu virus survives longer in dry indoor air. This may make the virus spread more easily. Colder, outdoor temperatures generally lower humidity in the air. Indoor air can get dry from heating and air conditioning use. Using a humidifier to add humidity in your home and workplace might help reduce viruses in the air.
Breathing in steam from a warm pot of water can help soothe your nose, sinuses, throat, and lungs. Steam inhalation or steam therapy uses water vapor to help loosen mucus congestion.
The warm moist air may also relieve swelling in the nose and lungs. Steam inhalation might help to soothe a dry cough, irritated nose, and chest tightness.
Ways you can heat water for steam:
• in a pot on the stove
• in a microwave-safe bowl or mug in the microwave
• in a vaporizer
Avoid steam from boiling water. Be careful to test the temperature of the steam before breathing it in. Keep your face and hands far enough away to avoid scalding or burning yourself. Add a few drops of essential oils or a medicated vapor rub to the water for added antiviral and antioxidant benefits.
EAT A BLAND DIET
If you have the stomach flu, eat small amounts of food at a time. Try hand-sized portions. The stomach flu can give you nausea, cramps, and diarrhea.
Bland foods are easier to digest and may help ease your stomach symptoms.
Foods that are easy on the stomach
• BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast)
• cooked cereals (oatmeal and cream of wheat)
• gelatin (Jell-O)
• boiled potatoes
• grilled or boiled chicken
• soup and broth
• electrolyte-rich drinks
Avoid foods that may irritate your stomach and digestion.
Foods to avoid while you have the stomach flu
This year take control of your health during the cold and flu season. Integrated Wellness has a variety of resources that can help you proactively boost your immune system to stay healthy and active this winter.
Give us a call or stop in to schedule an appointment for some of our highly effective immune boost offerings and don’t forget to stock your pantry with foods to nourish and support a healthy lifestyle. Remember nutrition, hydration and rest all have a significant impact on staying healthy or a speedy recovery.