Why do cold and flu happen more in the winter?
Cold and flu can happen at any time of year, but we tend to associate the winter months with a higher incidence. Why? For one, we spend a lot more time inside swapping germs. We get less sunshine, which is deeply nourishing. (Plants are not the only beings that photosynthesize nutrients!) We also tend to drop some of our healthy habits. Holiday parties create temptation. It’s not as easy to eat the raw foods we are naturally drawn to in the summer. We also sweat less, move less, and drink less hydrating fluids in the winter months.
10 steps to prevent cold and flu naturally
Although these changes can contribute to an increased chance of catching a bug, there are some simple steps you can take to keep yourself healthy! Here are 10 steps that I use to keep my immune system in tip top shape.
- Drink fresh juices. Citrus juices, like orange juice, are especially good, because of their highly bio-available vitamin C. Apple mixed with ginger & turmeric is a very strong antiviral, which is great if you feel a cold coming on. Check out the recipe here. I also make sure green juices are part of my life year round for their incredible mineral content.
- Drink lemon or lime water as it gently detoxes and supports the adrenals (recipe here). You want to flush out the viral byproducts as your body kills off the germs.
- Take an Epsom salt bath. It gently detoxes and promotes relaxation, which supports your immunity. Low stress equals maximum function of the immune system.
- Make a healing veggie broth. That old home remedy of chicken soup is half way correct. Although the chicken is not healing (the fat slows down detox), the vegetables are! You can throw just about anything in a veggie broth, but check out my favorite recipe.
- Eat more fruit. Fruit is packed with essential nutrients, like vitamin C to support your immune system. Smoothies are a great way to get a lot of fruit in, but they may not be calling your name when it’s freezing outside. Try thawing your frozen fruit in the fridge overnight or letting it come to room temperature. I love a banana smoothie in the winter, because it’s there’s no frozen ingredients!
- Supplement with zinc. Zinc is a critical nutrient for the immune system and most of us are deficient. I recommend daily zinc up to 15mg and more if you feel a cold coming on. Check out my products page for the highest quality brands that I take myself.
- Supplement with Ester C. Vitamin C is another critical nutrient for immune function. Watch out for cheap brands of vitamin C. They won’t work well. A good quality Ester C + rose hips can really help knock out a cold. My favorite is Vimergy Ester C. 2-4 grams is generally well tolerated by most adults.
- Take elderberry syrup. Elderberry is well known as a cold and flu remedy. One tablespoon per day is especially effective for preventing illness. I make my own (recipe here) and take it intermittently through the winter months. It’s delicious! You can also find a good quality elderberry syrup from Gaia Herbs.
- Take Sovereign Silver. Silver hydrosol is a powerful antiviral & antibacterial. It has been clinically demonstrated to prevent and treat cold & flu. You can use a maintenance dose of 1 tsp daily and increase your dose to 3-7 tsp daily if you experience illness.
- Get extra rest. Lack of sleep can take a toll on our immune systems. Getting sufficient sleep will help to maximize your ability to fight off infection. Don’t feel guilty about some extra time cozy in bed. What else is winter for?! You deserve it!
I hope you enjoyed these tasty tips on how to keep yourself cold & flu free! Nutrition and plant-based foods are so powerful in supporting our body’s natural immunity.
If you’re looking for more help to support your own natural healing, don’t hesitate to schedule an “Ask Rachel” session. You get a full hour of my undivided attention and expertise from years of practicing nutritional medicine. You can ask me anything you want!