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6 Natural Ways to Prevent the Cold or Flu

September 20, 2012

With cold and flu season right around the corner, pharmacies are already advertising flu shots and conventional drugs. There is, however, a holistic alternative: natural, preventative practices that significantly lower your chances of getting sick. 

It essentially boils down to a two-pronged approach: stay away from germs, and boost your body’s natural immune defenses.

Here are 6 practical tips for a symptom-free cold and flu season:

1. Eat real food. Eating a healthy diet rich with fresh and cooked vegetables, healthy fats (like salmon and coconut oil), and a variety of wholesome proteins goes a long way in maintaining optimal health. Increasing immune-supporting foods like raw garlic, ginger, lemons, honey, nuts, seeds, and yogurt can also ensure that your body gets sufficient nutrients to fight off potential invaders.

2. Get adequate sleep. Your immune system functions best when your body has time to repair and re-energize. Aiming for 8 hours of sleep every night not only boosts immunity against colds and the flu, it decreases the potential for all diseases and provides you with mental clarity throughout the day.

3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, except immediately after you’ve washed your hands. Bacteria lives on shared objects, such as doorknobs, and can easily infect you through these entry points on your body.

4. Skip the crowds. This might be a challenge for commuters and kids, but germs are more likely to spread in densely populated areas. If you can’t avoid exposure to crowds, then prepare yourself with supplements of zinc and vitamin C.

5. Stay Active. Physical activity helps the body release toxic buildup that otherwise creates a welcome environment for a cold or flu. So don’t let the end-of-summer slump slow you down!

6. Be positive. We naturally grow more inward as the days get shorter and darker, but that’s no excuse to let emotions get the best of your immune system.  Happy people are less likely to get sick, so stay social, laugh, work on your hobbies, and make plans for the future.

One final thought: Unless you have a weakened or compromised immune system, getting a cold or the flu is hardly cause for alarm. It is typically a sign that we need to step back and relax. Early detection can help speed your recovery, so make time for your health - especially steps 1 and 2 - as soon as you detect cold and flu symptoms.

How do you stay healthy during cold and flu season?