7 Seasonal Rituals & Remedies to Ward Off Colds & Flu

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I love running through the trees during fall.  My feet crunching the fallen leaves, all the vibrant colors of red, orange and yellow! I love the crispness in the air, that perfect feeling of wearing a sweater, feeling warm, but a little cold on the nose. With the seasons changing and the cooler air, many people gear up on cold medicine, airbornne, and stay inside.

7 Seasonal Rituals & Remedies to Ward Off Colds & Flu

First of all, let me clear up a HUGE misconception about why more people get sick in the winter compared to warmer times of the year.  You should realize that there’s no such thing as ”catching a cold” from cold temperatures

In fact, did you know that there are multiple studies that actually show that exposure to cold increases your immunity?  It’s true!  One study I read recently even showed that cold therapy such as ice water baths or other cold water exposure (such as cold water swimming) stimulates your immune system.

What about so-called “germs”?

So are there really more germs and cold & flu viruses floating around in the winter?  No, of course not!  In fact, some medical articles I’ve read have indicated that there might actually be a slightly larger amount of viruses all around us in the summer due to more favorable conditions for their survival on surfaces.

So then why do more people get sick in the winter?  Well, I’ll give you a hint… it’s not the temperature, but rather the strength of the suns rays, and how this affects your health… In winter in the northern hemisphere (Canada, US, Europe, etc) sicknesses spike, but at the same time, it’s summer in the southern hemisphere (South America, Australia, New Zealand, etc), and while sicknesses are spiking in the northern hemisphere, sicknesses are at their lowest point in the southern hemisphere.

So how can you boost your immune system so that your body fights off sickness before it takes hold of you?

Here are my 7 rituals and remedies that I have been using for a few years now and really seems to keep me from getting any colds, flu, or any sickness at all:

1. Focus on Vitamin D (but NOT in “fortified” foods or synthetic forms in pills) like milk or other products.

You might be surprised to know that MOST people have low vitamin D levels (especially in the winter), and a lot of people are surprised to find that they could be dangerously low.  Some people I know who thought they were reasonably healthy actually had levels below 20 ng/ml (one friend’s level was measured at a shockingly dangerous 11 ng/ml), which is a range that could severely limit your immune system and hormone balance (and explains the frequent colds and hormone problems that they were having).

Keep in mind that it’s best to get your vitamin D naturally from the sun if you can.  The sun is the absolute best source of vitamin D, and leads to a powerful strengthening of your immune system when your body can naturally produce Vitamin D from moderate sun exposure.

When the UVB rays (not UVA rays) from mid-day sun hit your skin, it reacts with oils in your skin to produce vitamin D that is slowly absorbed by your body.  Note that sunscreens block the ability of your body to produce vitamin D, and most sunscreens also contain carcinogenic chemicals that absorb into your blood stream.

If you are working in an office from 9-5 most days of the week, then most likely you need a supplement of Vitamin D.

When it comes to Vitamin D, you need to be careful about artificial forms of vitamin D in many vitamin pills, as artificial vitamin forms are almost always either ineffective or possibly even detrimental compared to natural forms.

Vitamin D2 is generally the artificial version in multi-vitamins, although natural D2 does exist in some foods like mushrooms.  Natural Vitamin D from either cod liver oil and/or an oil-based D3 supplement are the best options in my opinion for the times of the year you’re not getting enough sun.

The best food sources of natural Vitamin D are egg yolks, fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, organ meats, and some mushrooms.  However, keep in mind that it’s tough to get enough vitamin D in the winter from food sources alone.

2. Take garlic to strengthen your immune system!

Garlic is one of the most potent of all superfoods!  Not only does high dose garlic go back thousands of years for treatment of sickness, but recent studies back up the legendary claims for garlic boosting your immune system.

Start including garlic powder on a lot of your foods, fresh chopped garlic in meals, and also a garlic capsule or two each day.

3. Kombucha tea, Kefir, Fermented foods (and other sources of probiotics) strengthen your immune system.

Kombucha tea is a fermented tea (naturally effervescent) that contains billions of friendly gut organisms (probiotics) that help to strengthen your immune system by bolstering your levels of good organisms in your gut, which provides a first level of defense against pathogens from things you ingest.

70% of your immune system lies in your gut flora and the health of the friendly organisms in there to protect you against pathogens and sickness.

You can find bottles of Kombucha tea or other probiotic drinks at health food stores such as Whole Foods.

Kefir is a cultured/fermented dairy drink that’s been used for thousands of years as a health elixer in many parts of the world.  Kefir is an even better source of probiotics than Kombucha tea, but keep in mind that variety is best when it comes to probiotics, so use various sources for the best benefits to your digestive system and immune system.

Kefir is also the easiest form of dairy to digest due to the pre-digestion that’s done by the probiotic microorganisms, and due to this, kefir is generally 99% lactose free. When I feel any sickness coming on, I start loading up on Kombucha tea and Kefir, drinking them both throughout the day.

I’ve started seeing other probiotic drinks on the market recently too, so just make sure to look for one that has very minimal sugar per serving (3-6 grams per 8 oz serving is acceptable, but much more than that is too sugary).

4. Green tea, Chamomile Tea, and other teas

There is evidence that green tea and chamomile tea can help aid in strengthening the immune system.  Even if the effect is small, you can’t go wrong because both are loaded with powerful antioxidants unique to each tea.

For that reason, I try to drink a couple cups of green tea with a small bit of raw honey early in the day, and then at night, I have a couple cups of chamomile or mint tea.

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One Response

  1. 5 War Veteran says:

    I take 25,000 IU of vitamin D-3 every day in winter and 15,000 IU every day in summer and I never get sick. Just sayin!

    Vitamin D is not Vitamin D-3. Learn the difference,

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