Adults on average have about 3 colds per year and kids get about 8 colds per year – but you don’t have to be one of them!
Here are some of my top holistic health and lifestyle tips for natural cold prevention and treatment:
1. Eliminate All Sugar
Studies have shown that 1 teaspoon of sugar can suppress the immune system for up to 4 hours!
Not only does sugar have ZERO nutritional value, it actually DEPLETES your body of valuable nutrients that are already in it! This is bad enough under healthy conditions, but when your body is working hard to fight off viruses and pathogens; it needs all the nutrition you’ve got! Plus sugar creates an ACIDIC condition in the body where pathogens thrive.
Sugar is nothing more than a stress to the body, only pushing you further away from health and well-being. Stay clear of it until your 100%.
2. Stay Hydrated
The cold virus, like all viruses thrive in dry conditions with low humidity. The cold winter months combined with dry, heated indoor environments provide the perfect habitat for them to thrive! Therefore it is very important to stay properly hydrated so your body does not become a popular hang-out spot for germs! You can do this by not letting yourself catch a chill or become dehydrated! (See tip #10 below)
Normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees. One reason colds commonly occur in the winter months is because as the thermostat goes down, body temperature often drops with it, hence increasing the probability of catching a cold.
Warm, sugar-free, non-cream based soups and broths are wonderful winter foods that help get more water into the body.
Also, be sure to stay away from fake, chemically-laden gimmicky sports drinks and “vitamin waters” or high-sugar juices and sodas. Instead stick to what your body craves pure, properly-filtered spring water! It will naturally cleanse and detoxify you!
CLICK HERE for more on the importance of water. Two of my most popular articles on water are: Water and Your Weight: How Staying Hydrated Keeps You Healthy & Slim and The Facts About Tap Water: What You Can’t See Can Hurt You!
3. Consume Probiotics
Our bodies contain thousands of strains of beneficial bacteria that are vital to our health and proper function. Yet our digestive tracts and immune systems can also be the hosts to parasites, yeasts and viruses which can wreak havoc on our good health and proper function. It is impossible to be alive and only have beneficial bacteria in our bodies, yet for many people, the proper ratio of beneficial to pathogenic bacteria is imbalanced on the side of bad bacteria. This paves the way for illness, infection and potentially disease.
“Probiotics” is a term used to describe the friendly or “good” bacteria. To keep your immune system happy, regularly feed the beneficial bacteria it the ammunition it needs to keep the bad guys at bay. Foods like organic, plain, sugar-free yogurt, kefir, cultured vegetables and the juice from the young green coconuts are wonderful sources of many immune-boosting components. Read more about why I call these superfoods in my article: Could You Use Some Culture? What Probiotics Can Do for You.
4. Eat Garlic
Garlic naturally boosts the immune system due to its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties. It has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine for both the prevention and treatment of colds. It is best to consume it raw, which will retain all of delicate compounds that can be destroyed by heat, light and oxygen.
5. Wash Your Hands Regularly
The cold virus can live for several minutes on common surfaces and in the air we breathe, making us susceptible when we touch infected surfaces and then touch ourselves or breath the infected air. During cold season, and certainly if your are around someone who is sick, be sure to regularly wash your hands with warm, soapy water and keep them away from your eyes, nose, ears and mouth.
6. Disinfect Common Areas
As I mentioned in Tip#5, the sneaky, invisible cold virus is potentially in any area or on any surface. Door handles, computer keyboards, telephones and counter tops are often crawling with these nasty critters! A good idea to protect yourself is to wipe down commonly used areas and items before you touch them. Soap and hot water or disinfectant sprays or wipes work fine or if you really want to go hardcore, wipe a little Young Living Thieves Essential Oil on all common surfaces (see tip #11).
Another good idea is to leave a small bottle of water-free hand sanitizer in your car or purse for added convenience after being in a public place or when power-shopping!
7. Exercise in Moderation
Our bodies where designed to move. In fact, every system, organ and cell works better when we do. Anyone who knows me knows how much fun I like to have exercising! Yet there’s a time to know when to push and when to back off. It’s important to remember the old saying: Too much of a good thing is not better, it’s just too much!
Think of it like this, exercise is a way of using your energy and using nutrition from your body to do so. As I always tell my students, the more you exercise, the more important it is to eat well!
When you’re sick, your body needs any extra energy and even more nutrition than usual to repair and get heal. Don’t let exercise be yet another form of stress to your body by depleting your nutrient stores and potentially contributing to dehydration.
8. Ensure Adequate Sleep
Sleep is also a vital component to good health as well as proper immune function.
During sleep the body rejuvenates itself, heals, rebuilds and repairs. While your muscles are resting, your subconscious mind and organs are able to use the available body energy to carry on their vital functions. Thus if we don’t get adequate sleep, these processes fail to occur, setting us up for ill health, decreased function and often disease.
When we are already sick, it is important to rest and take it easy, because the body needs a tremendous amount of energy to fight the viruses and germs so we can be well again. If you are not feeling well yet continue to run around as your usual multi-tasking-super-self, no energy is left over for your immune system to get you well and you will prolong and even complicate your misery!
So make sure you get adequate sleep, rest and downtime! If you have trouble, eliminate all caffeine after 2pm and be sure your bedroom is free of electronics near your head and that your room is completely dark. If you need more help, try a few drops of Lavender Young Living Medicinal Grade Essential Oil.
You should not be “tired” all the time. This is not a healthy way to live…and unnecessary!
9. Consume Specialty Teas
There are lots of natural, herbal teas available today that contain specific herbal blends proven over many decades and often centuries to be effective at alleviating cold, sore throat and flu symptoms. Organic is always best. Two of my favorite brands are Traditional Medicinals and Tulsi Tea.
Be sure not to flavor your tea with sugar or any artificial sweetener, you’ll only compound the stress to your body! I recommend the naturally occurring herb, Stevia, which is sweet and sugar-free. Combine it with perhaps some fresh cinnamon or pumpkin spice…yummy!
10. Consume Fresh, Organic Bone Broth
Grandma was right!
Healthy, natural and delicious, bone broth has many various health and medicinal benefits in addition to it’s powerful immune system support.
In a perfect world, we would make our own bone broth at home, but unfortunately I am not able to do that. So I’ve found the next best thing (or maybe better!).
I found the #1 natural, online mail order distribution store on the market: The Brothery bone broth is the only brand recommended by top natural health experts Louise Hay and Heather Dane and is my favorite brand of bone broth I eat (I love the organic chicken).
But don’t be fooled: this isn’t your typical boxed, stale, store-bought “broth”. This is homemade and made with Palomar Mountain Spring Water and is delicious, organic, certified-humane and verified non-GMO.
And all you have to do is place the order online and it’s sent frozen sealed in a few days right to your house! Whether I’m sick or feel a cold coming on, or want an immune, skin, hair, nails boost or to heat up on a cold New England night, I heat some up on the stove top and with in minutes I’m a kid again! 🙂
Fresh Bone Broth Benefits Include:
- Significantly contributes to the support of overall joint health
- Aids in exercise and stress recovery
- Is high in protein
- Rich in collagen and gelatin
- High in bio-available (usable) minerals, amino acids, and compounds, such as proline, glycine, glycosaminoglycan, glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, and chondroitin sulfate.
- Builds and maintains strong bones and connective tissues (ligaments and tendons)
- Helps restore and support healthy digestive function because of the high gelatin content (which naturally lines the gastrointestinal (GI) tract)
- Assist individuals with food allergies
- Promotes the growth of good bacteria (probiotics) in the body
- Is AWESOME for hair, skin and nails because of the high amount of collagen and gelatin which keep skin smooth, firm, and reduces wrinkles and strengthen hair and nails as well as speeding growth
- Contains highly absorbable forms of minerals and electrolytes, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and sulfur, which support healthy circulation, bone density, nerve function, heart health, digestive health, and cellular health
- Supports overall metabolic function
- Assist in the body’s natural detoxification efforts, and to boost the immune system
11. Use Only High-Quality, Medicinal Grade Essential Oils
Aromatherapy is the use of plant oils, (called “essential oils”), for improved physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Essential oils are extremely powerful and are the pure essence of the plant. They are often referred to as nature’s living energy or medicine— and can provide tremendous psychological and physical benefits when used correctly.
Young Living is the world’s leading provider of essential oils and offers more than 300 essential oil singles and blends. It is the GOLD STANDARD of essential oils. doTERRA brand is my other favorite, again the extremely high-standards of processing and quality they use ensure you will get the results you are looking for and not waster your money – as opposed to a cheap, store-bought, synthetic, man-made replication of a plant oil. That’s why theses two brands are the ONLY ones I use and trust.
Both Young Living and doTERRA offer their own distinct versions of blends particularly designed to help sanitize and disinfect germs so are really great to help keep the germs away:
- “Thieves Essential Oils Blend” by Young Living
- On Guard by doTERRA
If I travel I take one of these with me in my purse and use instead of Purell (chemicals!) and I like to diffuse about 10-15 drops in my house during the winter months and particularly when I feel a little run down or if someone sick comes by for a visit. Smells great and works like a charm to naturally clean the air keeping me healthy!
12. Take Smart Supplements
In addition to your regular natural and wholesome diet, you might want to consider supplementing your nutrition program during the cold winter months with specific immune-boosting all-stars such as:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D3 liquid 5,000 – 10,000 IU/day
Check out my Everyday Supplements eBook for more details on my favorite products and brands!
So there you have it! I hope you find Top Tips for Natural Cold Prevention and Treatment helpful. For more on this topic, check out my other article: Avoiding the Winter Blues.