Bring out those fuzzy socks, scarves and wool sweaters out of the back of your closet because winter has come! But unfortunately something else comes along that is common during the winter time and that is the hated flu.
So what can we do when this horrible sickness affects us and our winter spirit?
My first recommendation: stimulate the immune system and strengthen your defenses, since prevention is more important than the cure itself!
To disinfect the environment and prevent infection at home and at work, we can burn or vaporize essential oils such as pine, thyme, sage, lemon, grapefruit or eucalyptus.
Other naturist tips for preparing for colds/flus are:
- Daily walks to clean air (countryside, mountain, sea).
- Hot // cold water showers (head-to-toe).
- Circular brushing of the skin throughout the body (heart direction).
- Drink enough! Recommended drinks would be: water + sea water, thyme infusions with ginger, lemon and honey or vegetable broths with seaweed and miso.
We should also increase the consumption of all foods with capacity to stimulate our immune system, which are: garlic, onion, leek, thyme and ginger for their anti-infectious and mucolytic action.
In addition to lemon, orange, grapefruit, kiwi, red pepper, radishes, beets, fresh parsley and mauve infusion for its contribution in vitamin C, which reduces histamine in the body and stimulates the immune system, without forgetting to adequately complete our daily diet with raw and cooked vegetables, whole grains, healthy fat and protein.
Here are some tips that will help keep us healthy and that would support healing:
- Begin each meal with something raw, such as fruit, green leaves or fresh vegetables, better organic, for its contribution in vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
- Include fermented foods such as natural yogurt or organic goat kefir, sauerkraut (fermented raw white cabbage) and non-pasteurized miso, which provide probiotics to our intestinal flora, keeping it in balance and thus help reinforce our first line of defense.
- Combine vegetables with whole grains and legumes or animal protein, and include on the dishes dry fruits and seeds, seaweed, turmeric and ginger.
- Take advantage of citrus, kiwi, pineapple, pomegranate, artichoke, shitake mushrooms and all kinds of cabbage, because they strengthen the immune system, and also purify the liver and kidney.
- Consume spinach, pumpkin, carrot, moniato, cabbage, broccoli and apricots for their contribution of beta carotene (pro-vitamin A), very important for the health of our mucous membranes!
- Prepare organic chicken broth with many vegetables such as garlic, onion, celery, leek, turnip, carrot, ginger and seaweed, adding fresh parsley, olive oil and miso diluted at the end of cooking to maintain health.
- For dessert take infusions of different herbs, to alleviate the specific symptomatology of each moment and to increase hydration and excretion.
- Avoid sweets, sugars, cookies, bakery and refined flours, because they are the preferred food of bacteria.
We can easily see the importance of our “ground” (predisposition) to keep us healthy, when the children are in contact with their friends who have already “caught” something or when we travel by metro or bus and around us everyone struggles with their symptoms of cold.
Some of us then become infected, and many others do not. It will largely depend on how your digestive system is, because most bacteria and viruses come in contact through the mouth or hands. In both cases they pass to the esophagus, go down to the stomach and continue their course to the intestine. There awaits our first and most important nonspecific line of defense, the lymphocytes, the police of our immune system.
If your mucosa and intestinal flora are in good condition, they will repel these aggressors, they will deny entry to the organism and will be excreted with the feces to the outside. But if the flora is damaged, unbalanced and “out of order” for many possible reasons (inadequate diet, candidiasis, treatment with antibiotics, etc.), the invaders can easily pass through the mucosa to the blood and penetrate into the body, where they will affect the most appropriate tissue for them and make us ill.
As soon as they reach the respiratory system, the body tries to defend itself from them by producing mucus to hook bacteria or viruses and then with an attack of coughs or sneezes to expel this infected mucus to the outside.
But there are also foods that favor the production of more mucus, thereby aggravating all the symptoms of the respiratory system. In addition, “atopic” children, with a tendency to suffer from symptoms such as rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma or dermatitis, often improve their symptomatology with just that: the elimination of cow’s milk from their diet. In case of much mucus, it would even be advisable to pause with all dairy products until the improvement of the symptoms. When reintroduced, fermented products (kefir) based on goat or sheep milk would be the most appropriate.
In any case it is very important to have adequate rest, good ventilation of the bedroom, humidify the environment and drink enough throughout the day, especially water at natural temperature, juices and fruit smoothies and fresh vegetables, infusions and depurative vegetable broths.
You can also use some dietary supplements, especially indicated to support the immune system, such as:
- Natural vitamin C to strengthen defenses and prevent infections.
- Bee Pollen, a valuable energy nutrient that helps stimulate defenses.
- Royal jelly, which strengthens the immune system, stimulates the appetite and is known as potent reconstituent of the body.
- Propolis, which acts as a natural antibiotic, with anti-infective and anti-inflammatory effect.
As last, I detail some “home tips” to relieve the most frequent symptoms. In case of mucus:
- Perform nasal washings with a nasal lot (in dietetics), filled with water + pinch of natural sea salt or use Quinton nasal spray (sea water).
- In case of thick mucus: make inhalations with thyme or chamomile or essential pine oil fumes to fluidize and disinfect.
- Insert 1-2 drops of lemon (disinfectant) into the nose (inhale up) and then blow.
- Leave an onion open on the bedside table, so you can breathe better.
In case of sore throat and cough:
- Prepare an onion syrup (mucolytic, balsamic and expectorant), cutting a raw onion in tacos, covering with honey, whole sugar or agave syrup and let it rest in the refrigerator. Take the juice that is releasing.
- Prepare a decoction of “lotus root” or jasmine flower with water and honey, take 3-4 cups a day.
- Gargle with infusion of sage, apple cider vinegar, lemon or hot water + natural sea salt.
- Take infusions based on thyme, mallow or marshmallow, plantain, willow, fennel or jasmine, with ginger, organic honey and lemon.
Is it necessary to continue eating when there is no appetite?
In case of infection it is normal for the patient to lose his appetite. The body needs all its energy to fight the invaders and save energy. It would be advisable to ensure the hydration of the body and thus fluidify all its excretions, preparing a chicken broth (anti-flu effect), juices and liquefied vegetables and natural and infusions according to discomfort and at ease. It is not necessary to insist on solid foods before an improvement, which will quickly return the appetite.
I wish you well this winter!
Author: Dorte Froreich
Naturopathic and orthomolecular nutritionist