We are quickly approaching the end of August, many of us will start focusing on the fall season which as we all know is also flu season too.
As a mom and a nutritionist I like to be prepared for any sickness that comes into the house, now is the time to also keep everyone's immune systems strong and vital.
Not always a bad idea to start before all the hectic back to school running around, to stock up on things we may need to help everyone start on the right foot.
Unfortunately for us Ontarians, we know the weather story is going to change quickly and soon we will be up against a colder season (trust me I am not rushing anything) which for many means also flu and cold's, of course its seems much worse now with the never ending pandemic. Which is why more then ever we need to be prepared, like my grandmother used to say " An ounce of prevention is a pound of cure".
Many of you may not know but I worked in a health food store for over 6 years, not only did I have access to many different types of supplements but all sort of cold and flu remedies, I was very fortunate to gain a lot of knowledge of these products as well use them for myself and family. So I thought I would share how I prepare for the flu season. Having these products readily on hand can be extremely beneficial when the first signs of illness begin to show its ugly head and are safe for all ages.
Before I start listing off my favourite products, I should discuss the the importance of lifestyle, these simple things should be practiced all year long.
Drink plenty of fluids.
Water is the best. Many of us have heard that we should drink eight, eight-ounce glasses of water per day. That can be hard to do. Instead, try drinking a glass of water when you wake up to start your day off right. Your body is dehydrated from sleeping, so this is a great way to remedy that immediately. Another tip: If you like warm or iced drinks, try non-caffeinated teas, which you can include in your daily water tally.
We often think of exercise as a way to prevent chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and high blood pressure, or as a way to keep weight in control. But exercise also can contribute to general good health including a healthy immune system. Exercise can promote good blood circulation, which allows your cells and substances of the immune system to move through your body freely to do their job efficiently.
Stress drains your ability to stay strong. If you have big or little stressors daily, your system is constantly pushed to overcome that stress. One way I de-stress is by giving myself time for "self-care." This means different things for different people, but essentially it's doing things that "refill your tank." I like to read a good book, journal or exercise. Even singing or prayer can lift me up.
Get a good night's sleep.
Sleep is a regenerative process for your body. When you are sleep deprived your natural immune cells, or T cells, go down, and inflammatory cytokines (inflammation cells) go up. That means good sleep results in strengthening your immunity.
Eat foods with probiotics.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations defines probiotics as "live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit." Research shows that probiotics are some of the best foods to boost immunity. Include regularly eating fermented and cultured foods that contain probiotics (look for "live active cultures" on the label).
If you haven't tried probiotic foods before, the flavors can be strong, so you may want to start with a little at a time. Even a teaspoon or so a day can help you develop a taste for these beneficial foods. If you want to explore taking a probiotic supplement, talk to your health provider. There are a variety of options available in the vitamin section of natural food stores.
Eat a well-balanced diet.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help keep you well. Eat a rainbow of vegetables and fruits daily to ensure you're getting a variety of nutrients. Lean proteins and complex carbohydrates, like brown rice and quinoa, are also part of a healthy diet. Minimize processed foods, sugar and beverages that have no nutrients, like pop.
Although it can be challenging to do all of these things on an ongoing basis, do as much as you can. Consistently taking good care of yourself is the best way to support your overall health and immunity.
Here are the products I keep on hand for when I start to not feel well. I will leave a website for each company for those who need more information.
A. Vogel Echinaforce Extra Strength Tablets - Clinically shown to help prevent and relieve the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI), such as the common cold and the flu. I recommend slightly chewing the tablets and allowing them to dissolve under the tongue for best results. These tablets come in all strengths for children and young adults.
The other Echinaforce product that works great is the throat spray, For painful inflammation and infections of the throat such as pharyngitis, tonsillitis, soreness and hoarseness.
A reduction in discomfort may be noticeable as early as the first application. This product has served to be great for the kids who don't like swallowing pills or taking syrups.
Marseille's Remedy Thieves Oil - Marseille’s Remedy is based on the original recipe, a blend of 5 classic oils: clove, lemon, eucalyptus, rosemary, and cinnamon bark. This formula was marketed by medical suppliers as the first line of defense for hundreds of years, and has been a staple of pestilent prevention in every plague since its formulation and had been a staple in my house for many years! This has to be one of the most amazing products that really work for sore throat, stuffy noses, pain in the joints, toothaches, bug bites, headaches and so much more. It is amicrobial, anti-inflammatory, will fight air pathogens when diffused or inhaled and combat black mold. It comes in the oil and balm form.
Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa Herbal Syrup - Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa is a pleasant tasting natural herbal based liquid especially formulated for relief of minor discomfort and to protect irritated areas in sore mouth and sore throat, contains no alcohol, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
Nin Jiom is an expectorant and works off basic Chinese medicine principles. Get rid of the problem and soothe the remaining inflammation. Nin Jiom helps you expel phlegm while the honey, herbs, fruits, and flowers coat and soothe your raw throat.
So there you go folks, I would add a good vitamin C and vitamin D3 to the mix as part of your daily routine.
All of these products can be found at your local health food store and are very reasonable in priced.
Don't wait till you don't feel well, get on top of it, stock your cupboard with your favourite herbal tea, good quality honey and these products, I promise you won't be sorry.