Have you or a loved one been hit by cold and flu season? I am happy to bring you a guest article today from Dr. Michael Donaldson, a chemical engineering graduate of Cornell University and now Research Director of the Hallelujah Diet. He has spent the last 18 years studying people who have experienced health benefits through diet and published scientific research on its benefits for fighting fibromyalgia, cancer, diabetes, and other ailments. His work consists of designing and coordinating epidemiologic and clinical intervention studies based on specific symptoms or diseases and focuses on the results of the Hallelujah Diet.
* Fitness for Health does not endorse any products or services that may be offered.
Sickness can develop in any number of ways, from a casual handshake to inhaling an airborne virus. Whether it is a cold, the flu, or a sinus infection, the body’s immune system is designed to address these conditions. This means the occasional sniffle, sneeze, or cough may not be anything to worry about, depending on how your body handles it.
Your everyday lifestyle plays a big part in determining if your body is up for the challenge. This includes the foods you eat, as well as any good or bad habits you indulge in. Since the foods you eat are the body’s building materials, the quality of this food will determine how well your immune system performs when sickness comes knocking at the door. Fortunately, having a few essential health items on hand can stop sickness in its tracks or, at the very least, speed the recovery process along.
Items to Have on Hand in Case of Sickness
Most of the items you want to have on hand will either fortify your immune system to better handle sickness or attack the source of the problem. Not surprisingly, a number of these remedies are foods. Since sickness can really take a toll on the body as a whole, a few of these tips will help the body ride out sickness more comfortably.
Common Household Items
Garlic – Raw garlic, a natural powerhouse remedy, can tackle almost any type of illness. This vegetable carries antibacterial, anti-fungal, and even antibiotic properties all its own. You can crush it up and drink it in a glass of water, eat it raw, or simply add generous portions to meals and recipes.
Hot Liquids – Hot lemon water and hot herbal teas can go a long way toward soothing aches and pains while also giving an added boost to the immune system. Lemon supplies a healthy dose of vitamin C. Likewise, many teas contain vitamin C along with infection-fighting herbs. The heat factor also helps boost the body’s immune system.
Hydrogen Peroxide – This everyday household item not only helps ward off colds and ear infections but can also speed recovery in cases where symptoms have already taken hold. Just place a few drops of hydrogen peroxide inside each ear. You’ll likely hear bubbling, but this normal.
Natural Antibiotics and Antivirals
Rosemary – Rosemary carries both antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. This particular herb works especially well at fighting off airborne viruses. When used as a room spray, rosemary can strengthen the body’s respiratory system defenses. This means it can help fight off viral conditions like the flu, as well as lower your risk of getting sick.
Cinnamon – Another effective remedy for respiratory infections, cinnamon also has anti-inflammatory properties to help soothe those aches and pains. Cinnamon can help relieve coughs, reduce fever, and clear up congestion. One tablespoon of cinnamon mixed with honey makes for a tasty tea.
Coconut Oil – This versatile oil goes about attacking viral strains a little differently. Coconut oil has a heavy concentration of lauric acid. The body naturally converts lauric acid into monolauric acid, which eats up the fatty layer that surrounds some viruses or their cells. This helps clear the way for your immune system to do its job. Add up to six tablespoons per day to food or hot tea beverages.
Dietary Changes You Can Make
Add More Fruits & Vegetables to the Mix
Of all the major food groups, fruits and vegetables can do something that the others can’t: promote incredibly healthy enzyme activity. What’s so special about enzyme activity? Enzymes are a critical component for healthy cell activity in every area of the body. In a nutshell, enzymes enable cells to work more efficiently, including the cells that make up the immune system.
Fruits and vegetables have high levels of enzymes and are also nutrient-dense foods. In fact, the human body thrives on these foods, so much so that a plant-based diet can lower your risk of developing serious medical problems, such as heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes. Even when a cold or flu has already settled in, adding more fruits and vegetables to your daily menu can go a long way toward getting you back on the path to wellness.
Eliminate White Foods & Sugary Drinks
White foods and sugary drinks deliver a one-two punch to the immune system, which only makes matters worse when you’re sick. White foods include any carbohydrates that contain lots of sugar, as well as any baked goods that contain flour. Pasta, bread, cereals, and crackers fall in this category.
White foods suppress the body’s immune system, meaning it will take that much longer to recover. Typically, some form of processing has gone into the making of these foods, so the body has to work that much harder to digest them. If you’re already sick, the body needs to rest, and white foods don’t help.
Sugary drinks can also take a toll on the body’s defenses when sickness settles in. This includes good sugary drinks like orange juice and bad sugary drinks like soda. Sugar, in general, causes inflammation, which weakens the immune system’s ability to fight off germs.
Prevention Is the Best Cure
While eating a healthy, plant-based diet offers the very best type of prevention, probiotic supplements can also help ward off sickness. Probiotics are basically “good” bacteria that strengthen the body’s gastrointestinal tract. A strong gastrointestinal system offers a range of health benefits simply because the gut is responsible for extracting nutrients from the food we eat.
Diets rich in fatty meat, sweets, and salty products leave the body little to work with in terms of nutrition. Since these foods become the body’s building materials, it’s likely that healthy bacteria are lacking in the gastrointestinal tract. Adding a supplement will help your gut better digest and use the nutrients that you’re getting, which makes for a healthier body overall. As your health improves, the body’s defenses are better equipped to fight off sickness.
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