Oh, maaaan, it has been bad this year, hasn't it? So many viruses have been making the rounds, I can't even keep track anymore.
Not only has illness been rampant, but I've noticed everyone is getting way worse than usual. It does seem that way, yes? Is it just me? I don't know, maybe that is how it feels every year, but what I do know is I do not want what everyone else seems to be getting around here. Most of us are too busy for that nonsense. That being said, there are some things you can do, aside from locking yourself away until spring and not letting anyone past your threshold, to decrease your vulnerability to illness. I like to focus on immune boosting and pathogen fighting, because try as we might, it's almost impossible to completely avoid exposure (though I do recommend trying your best to do that, too). Here are 7 ways to help keep yourself from catching any of those bugs this season: 1. Elderberries - Everyone seems to be talking about elderberries! For good reason, because they are great for strengthening and supporting your immune system. You can take elberberry syrup year round, but especially when you need a good immunity boost. They even come as gummies now!
2. Turn down the temp - We sleep much better in cooler temperatures, so turn down the thermostat to no more than 69 degrees for optimal restorative sleep. Need help falling or staying asleep? Melatonin is a natural supplement to help encourage sleep.
If melatonin is too strong for you, try passionflower. This herb has been found to induce sleep and improve sleep quality, too. A lot of people will get even more benefit by adding a magnesium supplement.
3. Ditch the toxic soap - No, I'm not telling you to not wash your hands. Wash your hands, please, and frequently (but don't forget to moisturize). It is vital to avoid spreading germs, to yourself and everyone else. But, get rid of the antibacterial and scented soaps. Antibacterial soaps get rid of beneficial bacteria, and they don't make your hands cleaner than regular soap. Scented soaps usually have ingredients that disrupt hormones - which is not going to help your immunity. Look for unscented soaps, or those scented with natural ingredients like essential oils. Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial that does not destroy the beneficial ones.
4. Eat more garlic - Garlic is antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antimicrobial. Nature's medicine, indeed. It's a great herb to eat year round, and definitely up your intake if you are sick or feel like you are getting sick. It's good for your heart and blood pressure, and Aged Garlic Extract has been found to improve learning disability and enhance memory.
5. Keep the apple cider vinegar within reach - Known to be quite the healing elixir for centuries, apple cider vinegar helps with a host of ailments, including digestion, blood sugar regulation, energy levels, and immune boosting. Always use the raw, unfiltered version to get the real benefits. Typically, 1-2 tablespoons are added to a glass of water and drank daily.
6. Curcumin every day - Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric - that yummy curry spice. It is known for decreasing inflammation, enhancing mental focus, and it also helps your liver detoxify your body more efficiently. It is important to get a curmumin supplement with piperine (black pepper extract), because without piperine involved, your body won't absorb much of the curcumin.
7. Probiotics - These are beneficial bacteria that we need a healthy supply of in our system to keep our immune system strong. A lot of good bacteria in our guts gets wiped out when we take antibiotics, and sometimes it gets to the point our bodies have trouble rebuilding our supply back to what it should be. There are a lot of strains of probiotics, and I like to take a good high quality probiotic that covers all of the important ones in one bottle.
If you don't think you need a strong probiotic, take what will best serve your purposes. Studies have shown that certain strains can be most helpful for specific health situations.
If you have a prescription for antibiotics you must take, get a probiotic with lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and/or saccharomyces boulardii.
For international travel plans, take saccharomyces boulardii and/or bifidobacterium longum.
For lactose intolerance, try lactobacillus bulgaricus, lactobacillus acidophilus, and streptococcus thermophiles.
For irritable bowel syndrome, you can try bifidobacterium infantis, lactobacillus plantarum 288V, or bifidobacterium bifidum.
If you seem to have impaired digestive immunity, take enterococcus faecalis TH10 or bifidobacterium longum.
For vaginal infections, try taking lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, and lactobacillus reuteri.
And for a pesky cold, take lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium animalis. Got questions or need advice? You've got me all to yourself for a whole hour (or however long you book) every time you come in for a massage. ;)