So, here we are again coming into another cold and flu season. Are you ready?
I am seeing more and more patients now with symptoms of cold/flu. Sore throats, lethargy, coughs, sore blocked noses and fevers, the list goes on.
I thought it was helpful to share some tips and recipes to keep your immune system strong and to help you overcome the germs & bugs if they invade your body.
Firstly, a sore throat is often the first sign of a virus entering the body. I always suggest to my patients to have a bottle of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar on hand and to crush 3 cloves of garlic and push them into the bottle. Leave the bottle in your pantry cupboard to allow the ‘Mother’ to form. Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains “mother,” strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky, cobweb-like appearance. This is what makes the vinegar so effective.
At the first sign of a sore throat, gargle and spit the apple cider vinegar. It clears away the bacteria that is beginning the virus in your body. I also suggest this for tonsillitis as it clears all of the muck off the tonsil. It gives immediate relief from pain also.
The reason I add garlic is to give the vinegar a double whammy. Garlic is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and a great source of vitamin C.
Everything you will be needing to give your body the best shot at stopping this thing becoming systemic (through all of your system) in your body.
Garlic is so versatile and of course only choose the best Australian organic garlic to be sure of quality.
It’s hard for most of us to just chomp on garlic when you feel a virus coming on although I have done it, so I will suggest that one of the best ways to get your raw garlic and all of its goodness is to make a Tzatziki.
Health Booster Tzatziki Recipe
1 cup of organic natural Greek yoghurt.
2-4 cloves of crushed garlic.
1 smallish organic cucumber
1 small tomato
1 tablespoon of Organic Australian olive oil.
1 teaspoon of organic white wine vinegar.
Grate and drain cucumber, (keep the juice to add to your morning vegetable juice or smoothie).
Finely chop tomato and chives.
Mix all ingredients into a bowl and enjoy!
Use the Tzatziki as a dip, as a topping or off the spoon. It is delicious and you attain the benefit of all of these herbs and vegetables plus the pro-biotic action of the yoghurt. Win Win.
Also add heaps of garlic to your soups and stews. It loses some of its potency once cooked so add lots.
Another use for the Apple Cider Vinegar is as a digestive. Before you eat, have a dessert spoon in the same amount of water. It will decrease bloat, help heal any digestive inflammation and help with blood sugar regulation.
Now, back to the virus season. If the cold or flu has caught you already what we need is a plan B and this does not involve antibiotics! These can strip away your good gut bacteria and leave your system in poor shape and more vulnerable to fresh disease. Good nutrition, herbal medicine and supplementation are the key ingredients you need to maintain healthy gut bacteria, immunity and resistant to infections.
How is your nutritional intake and do you get enough of the vitamins and minerals to keep your body in tip top condition?
One of the first things that we need to look at if you are a person who seems to ‘pick up’ every virus that enters your world, is your Iron level. Adequate iron levels allow enough circulating oxygen in the body there-fore increasing your bodies defences. If you think of what oxygen does to a fire and then consider that enough circulating oxygen works the same way in our bodies. It allows our blood to burn away invading viruses and bacteria. I always recommend iron supplementation for people who suffer from very heavy periods, post child-birth, post operatively and post haemorrhage. So having a simple blood test to ascertain your iron levels is very important.
Good nutritional sources of iron are: red meat and egg yolks and to a lesser extent dark green leafy vegetables, onion, dark coloured fruit, wheat germ, sesame seeds, kelp, beans, figs, raisins, prunes, bananas and avocado. Vitamin B12 also needs sufficient iron in the body for bio-availability so if you are suffering from low mood, make sure that your iron levels are sufficient.
The next thing that we need to look at is sugar intake. Sugar in the diet causes acidity in the blood therefore allowing viruses, and bacteria plus some very nasty illnesses to take hold, so definitely look at the sugars in your daily diet and decrease where necessary.
I also do Zinc checks to make sure that zinc levels are adequate as a lowered zinc is detrimental to the immune system .
Zinc is known to play a central role in the immune system, and zinc-deficient persons will experience increased susceptibility to a variety of pathogens.
Now, my favourite Vitamin: VITAMIN C!
Vitamin C improves immunity and is a fantastic antioxidant. (remember, the blood needs oxidation to work effectively).
Vitamin C also makes Iron more available in the body so these two are good friends. I suggest to people with low iron levels to squeeze some vitamin C rich lemon juice onto their red meat before consuming. This helps release the iron in the meat.
Vitamin C helps Iron Absorbtion
If you consume alcohol on a regular basis or are a smoker (stop!), you will be vitamin C deficient so you will need supplementation for sure.
I recommend very high dose Vitamin C on a two hourly basis to bowel tolerance for many of mypatients presenting with a cold or flu.
And of course there’s herbal medicine. When prescribed professionally either as a tincture or a tea, it works very well to combat colds and flu’s.
A lovely herbal tea that is very effective is Y.E.P. Tea. That’s yarrow, elder and peppermint and it is very effective at treating the symptoms as well as decreasing duration of the virus.
So there you go. Always get advice from a trained Naturopath/Nutritionist and don’t buy over the counter preparations as they may be contra-indicated in your particular case. Holistic Health is all about the whole body individually. Over the counter bottles are a one size fits all dose, and for long term health and body maintenance we recommend professional assistance.
Stay well and keep the Colds at bay folks! – Susan
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