In November, we discussed nutrition for boosting your immune system to prevent colds and flus, the how to set up your defenses. So what happens when the bugs win and you start to feel a cold coming on? Here are a few additional tips that I often provide to my patients this time of year:
Nutrition: Keep up the good work, getting those immune boosting foods into your body. Make yourself a great immune boosting vegetable soup including lots of onions and garlic along with a rainbow variety of vegetables and some herbs and spices like thyme, rosemary, turmeric and sage. They are all great immune boosters and infection fighters. Avoid sugar. I know it can be hard, but a half teaspoon of sugar can knock your immune system flat for hours! Avoid dairy products. They tend to produce a lot of phlegm in the body. Alternatives include organic soy milk, rice milk and almond milk; all found in the health food section of your local grocery store. Most of those alternatives are now fortified with calcium and many of the foods you are eating also include an abundance of it: almonds, collards, spinach, Swiss chard and blackstrap molasses.
Rest: Remember, the best way to stop a cold is to rest and relax. This provides your body with extra energy to fight off the bug that would otherwise be taken up dealing with stress. Take a nap. Give yourself a couple of extra hours of sleep. You’re body is sending you a message that you need it!
Warming Socks: And overnight treatment, warming socks reduce congestion in the head, face, throat and chest to help you get a better night sleep and give your immune system a great boost. They are great for sore throats, bronchitis, nasal congestion, sinus congestion and infections, congestive headaches, coughs and upper respiratory infections.
Supplies: 1 pair of thin cotton socks, 1 pair of thick wool socks, towel, warm bath or foot bath
Directions: Before bed, gather your supplies. If you are someone who tends to have cold feet, make sure your feet are warm to start by sticking them in a warm foot bath for a few minutes and then drying them off. Next, soak the cotton socks in cold water, wring them so they’re not dripping and take both pairs of socks to bed with you. While sitting on the side of the bed, put the wet cotton socks on your warm feet and the dry, thick, wool socks over top and into bed you go. Now I know you’re thinking: cold wet socks on my feet, is this woman crazy?!?! But within a few minutes, your feet will begin to feel warm as your body carries warm blood towards your toes and pulls the congestion away from your upper body. When you wake in the morning your feet will be warm and dry.
The moral of the story: give your immune system the resources it needs to do the healing it was created to do. Along with the preventative nutrition outlined in November’s newsletter, all of these suggestions work with your body’s innate healing wisdom and keep you on your journey to health.