5 years ago

Top 5 natural cold and flu fighters

Bea James, our senior manager of organic, natural, health and wellness, shares a few natural tips to help you ward off the sniffles:

The average American comes down with two to six colds every year, but as most of my friends would attest, I’m not average; last winter I got my first bad cold in more 20 years! Not too shabby of a track record, right?

What’s my secret, you ask? Well, there are a few things I do that work well for me to keep those nasty bugs away. Of course you might want to check with your doctor (naturopath or regular M.D.) before trying any of this, but for me the following tried and true antidotes keep me healthy during our long Minnesota cold and flu season.

1. Take a multi-vitamin
Starting in September, I take a multi-vitamin daily through March. I normally don’t take vitamins on a regular basis, but when I need the additional boost I add in a good multi-vitamin to my diet. My brand of choice: New Chapter Women’s Daily, which can be found at Byerly’s Ridgedale. We also have Full Circle multi-vitamins at all locations.

2. Supplement Echinacea
If everyone around me is sneezing, coughing and fighting off the flu, I bring out the big guns and start taking Herb Pharm Echinacea. Echinacea, also known as the American coneflower, is a very popular herb for the treatment of flu and colds. I have tons of it growing in my back yard. Beautiful and medicinal. Herb Pharm tinctures can be found in all of our stores.

3. Reduce sugar intake
Cut out the sugar, which is hard to do in the winter since a hot cup of tea is even better with a sugary treat. Sugar drags down my immune system and I can feel it with the typical sugar blues shortly after a sweet indulgence. According to Dar Kvist, a nutritionist from Nutritional Weight and Wellness, as little as 4 ounces (about ½ cup) of white sugar can suppress your immune system up to 50%. Bye-bye ice cream, hello fresh fruit!

4. Eat raw garlic
Hard core, I know, but this little superfood works wonders for fighting off colds and flu. Raw garlic contains allicin, the active ingredient released when garlic is crushed, that stimulates the immune system. You can get dehydrated garlic capsules, which are also effective, but raw garlic is truly the best for the purpose of immune boosting.

5. Get sleep and exercise
These last two are no brainers, but I still have to remind myself to do it: Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night and exercise daily. Being fully rested will allow your body to have the energy it needs to keep you healthy, and exercising builds strength and reduces stress. Nothing like being well rested for a good run to release tension and blow off steam!

So my friends, let me know how these remedies work for you, or if you have other health tips that you live by. Here’s wishing you a healthy fall and winter!