My 10 tricks to avoid getting sick this winter

The weather has really changed in the last couple of weeks in Vancouver. I’m finally getting a taste of that non-stop rain…haha. They say you don’t know rain until you’ve lived in Vancouver. 😉

Cold weather means it’s cold & flu season. Have you been sick yet this fall?

Today I want to share with you my 10 tricks to avoid getting sick this winter (or if you do get sick, how to get better faster), without any nasty antibiotics, liver ruining Tylenol, or sugar filled Emergen-C (read more about Emergen C debunked here).

Give Your Gut Some Lovin’

I put this one first so that you don’t miss it. We all get sick once in a blue moon, but if it’s more than that, you need to focus on your gut. You may think to yourself, but my digestion is fine, that can’t be me. Here’s the thing though, 70% of your immune system lives in the gut, and there is actually a lot more to your digestion than the simple bowel movements. In fact, even skin concerns and achy joints & pains can be a symptom of gut inflammation. So what can you do? Add fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut and even coconut based kefir) into your life, and supplement with a probiotic.

Ditch Sugar

You already know this one, but here’s some compelling info: A study done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition gave participants two sugary drinks and then tracked their white blood cells’ (which is their immune system) performance. The participants immune systems’ performance dropped 50% compared to the control group. Now, you probably aren’t going around drinking two sugary drinks in a row, but you might be eating little bits of sugar here and there all day long, and bam, you’ve got a chronically low performing immune system. Check out this post for 15 ways to eat less sugar.

Calm Down

I talked about this a lot in my article, My Struggle With Self Care, but here’s the thing. Stress is your body’s number one priority, and when you’re under chronic stress, your immune system gets put on the back burner. Take some deep breathes and schedule in time for you – it will help your body fight whatever germs you come across.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C does not necessarily prevent colds, however it has been proven to reduce the duration of a cold. Whatever you do, don’t go for the Emergen C, instead up your Vitamin C foods like oranges, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and strawberries. Alternatively, you could supplement with a clean form of Vitamin C, like one from Natural Factors. Vitamin C can cause you to have loose bowels, so start with 1,000 mg and work your way up to around 3,000 mg. If you experience loose stools, reduce back to the amount that did not cause it. Also, Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, meaning you pee it out. It’s best to take smaller doses, multiple times throughout the day vs everything at once.

Zinc

Zinc, if used within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms, is also shown to reduce the duration of a cold. Foods that are high in zinc include oysters & red meat, but pumpkin seeds are also a great source. Zinc is super important for skin health, so I recommend having zinc rich foods often, but at the onset of a cold, you might want to up your dosage. I really like the Zinc lozenges made by Douglas Laboratories. Careful not to have zinc on an empty stomach as it can cause nausea.

Oil of Oregano

Oil of Oregano always reminds me of Buckleys: tastes awful but it works! Oil of oregano has antimicrobial and antibacterial qualities that help get rid of the pesky germs. This isn’t one you’d want to take long term because there is no evidence to say that the oil of oregano doesn’t kill off some of the good bacteria either.

Garlic

I swear by this one!! Since using this, I’m always able to fight the cold off quickly. Against certain bacteria, the anti-fungal and anti-viral properties of garlic have actually been shown to be almost as effective than the antibiotic Penicillin!! Crazy eh?

My method for garlic is pretty extreme, so consider yourself warned. I take 1 small, or 1/2 large clove of garlic, and mince it. Then, I mix it with 1 tsp raw honey (it must be raw to get the health benefits). I then make sure as much of the garlic is covered by the honey and chew & swallow. (Note: I ONLY do this once I’ve already eaten something so that it’s not on an empty stomach.) It will burn as it goes down, but it works. 🙂

St Francis Herb Farm’s Deep Immune Tincture

Given that one of the reasons we so often get sick is from stress, I love this product. It has adaptogenic properties to help your body adapt to stress, along with herbs that naturally boost your immune system. Take 1/2-1 dropper on an empty stomach in a little shot glass of water while you’re experiencing symptoms.

Vitamin D

Did you know that if you’re deficient in Vitamin D, which if you live north of the 39th parallel, you’re much more likely to be, that you are 11x more likely to get sick? 11x! Depending where you are, this might be a tough one to do naturally. In the winter, chances are you are going to have to supplement with Liquid Vitamin D3. D3 is the better form vs D2, and you want it in liquid form for best absorbability.

Wash your hands

We learned this one at a young age, so hopefully you’re already doing it! Studies have shown that washing your hands more during cold & flu season can help too, especially if you have little ones coming home with tons of new germs every day.

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