7 Ways to Ward Off Colds and Flu Naturally
At this time of the year cold and flu season is at full throttle. Not only do cold temperatures tax your immune system, more time spent indoors means increased contact with germs. Being sick not only feels miserable, it takes time away from the things we’d rather be doing.
The good news is you can optimize your immune system to not only avoid colds and flu, but to shorten the duration of any illness you get.
1. Increase your vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential for both immune system and cardiovascular health. Yet, during the winter most of us don’t get nearly enough sun exposure to keep up our body’s natural production of vitamin D. I recommend taking at least 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily, preferably in its highly-absorbable D3 form.
2. Take beta glucan: Beta glucan helps to modulate your immune system—keeping it primed and “at the ready” to fight off infection. For me personally, beta glucan has been a godsend during the cold New England winters. For flu prevention, you want to take 250 mg of beta glucan two to three times a day.
3. Use a Neti Pot: Washing your sinuses daily with a neti pot helps to keep your nasal passages clear of microbes that can cause infection. Add ¼ to ½ tsp of sea salt to the neti pot, top with warm water, and irrigate each sinus. Then blow your nose to expel excess mucus and water. Repeat if necessary.
4. Get regular exercise: Walking, swimming, qi gong, tai chi, and yoga all relieve stress and support immune system function—both of which help to keep you healthy. Plus, as you know regular physical activity burns calories and boosts your heart health.
5. Drink healing tea: If you feel run down and susceptible to getting sick, create an antimicrobial tea by crushing 3–4 cloves of garlic, grating a piece of thumb-sized ginger, and squeezing the juice from half a lemon into 6–8 cups boiling water. Simmer for 5–10 minutes. Add 1 tsp of honey and stir. You can drink up to three cups a day to fight off an infection and soothe a sore throat.
6. Take oscillococcinum: This over-the-counter homeopathic remedy derived from duck heart and liver helps to prevent and/or temporarily reduce flu-like symptoms. Take 1/3 of a vial every four hours for 1 to 2 days if you feel the flu coming on. For prevention, take 1/3 of a vial weekly throughout the winter season.
7. Try a warming socks treatment: If you feel a cold coming on, warm your feet for 5–10 minutes in a hot bath or foot soak. Dry your feet, put on a pair of thoroughly wrung out wet cotton socks, cover with a dry pair of socks and go to bed. This form of hydrotherapy helps to remove congestion in the head and upper respiratory tract. Repeat for 3–4 nights.
Now it’s your turn: Which of these strategies have you tried?
You May Also Be Interested In:
Enjoy What You've Just Read?
Get it delivered to your inbox! Signup for E-News and you'll get great content like you've just read along with other great tips and guides for Dr. Sinatra!
Meet Dr. Sinatra
Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
Dr. Stephen Sinatra's Favorites
Doctor-recommended support for healthy cholesterol ratios, blood pressure & overall heart health
Refuel your cellular engines for efficient heart function
Strength, energy, endurance--get the targeted nutrient support a man needs most
Stay youthful, healthy, vibrant and balanced with nutrient support designed to meet a woman's needs