I notice lots of people around me are falling ill and catching colds left and right this time of year! Though I’m not 100% immune to the flu or a cold 100% of the time, I do notice I am generally more resistant to it than others, and muchhh more so than I used to be! I used to catch everything that was going round, basically, and I have fond memories of being sick on my birthday year after year after year (January..). Today I’ll share some tips on boosting your immune system, but more importantly, I think a bit of perspective on ‘ catching’ colds is also very necessary!
Why Catching a Cold Is Bullshit: The Germ Theory
Getting a cold or the flu is not mere due to chance and bad luck. It’s pretty much up to you how big the chance is of falling ill or feeling ‘under the weather’. And though there are many many factors of influence on that, most of them are within control most of the time.
Getting a cold is not a matter of ‘catching’ it, but a matter of your own defenses being down for one reason or another. Thats why 5 people can be around one sick person and only one or two of them will get sick too.
This goes to show germs are not the bad guys. No matter how many ‘bad bacteria’ you encounter, if your internal bacterial flora is up to par the bad guys won’t stand a chance. By matter of changing your diet and lifestyle you can make your body a very infertile breeding ground for viruses and bad bacteria.
The Common Cold?
The common cold doesn’t have to be that common. Here are things you can do to built your body stronger from the inside by boosting your immune system. Keep in mind that all of the following tips are strongly related to each other and affect each other.
The root of many, if not all, dis-ease and illness stems from an overly acidic body. I wrote before on the importance of an alkaline body and I’ll probably repeat myself many times over in the future because whether your body is alkaline or acidic has such a huge impact on how you feel and how healthy and strong you are. And when your body is too acidic it is a great burden on the body, causing your body to have to work in overdrive to clean up the mess. Among all the consequences this can bring on is an impaired immune system. Simply put, saving your life has a higher priority than fighting off some measly bacteria or virus. Quite sophisticated, that body of ours.
How? Drink lemon water, reduce/eliminate meat, refined sugar, pasteurized dairy, wheat from your diet. And, all of the things below:
Stress instantly whacks your immune system. Stress can present itself in many ways so it’s important to be aware of the stress you are imposing on your mind and body. Stimulants put stress on your body (coffee, black tea, cacao, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, medicine) and so does ‘stressing out’ about things, strenuous exercise, too little sleep and bad diet (lack of nutrients, overeating/consuming too many calories, sugary or salty foods). As you can see from this, bad eating habits are a double risk; your body doesn’t have the required nutrients to built a strong immune system, and on top of that it creates extra stress which further decreases the immune system. So eat your veggies!
Great ways to destress are yoga, meditation, light exercise (nothing intense), early nights, a spa visit, clean non-stimulating foods and doing things that make you happy; a walk in the winter sun, playing with kids or dogs, reading a good book, spending time with your loved ones. And wouldn’t you know it, things that make you happy also make your body more alkaline.
Take It Outside!
Now, going outside and freezing your ass off might seem a little counter-intuitive when trying not to get sick but trust me, fresh air will only do you good, no matter how cold the air. The colder the weather, the more we sit inside with the heating blasting and germs accumulating and breathing in each others air. Yeah, ew. Make sure your home gets enough fresh air, and make sure you spend at least 30 minutes outdoors everyday. You could cycle to/from work or school, even if its just one way (if your destination is a bit too far away to cycle to and from, go back by car or public transport and do it the other ay around the next day). Go for a walk in the middle of the day if possible, or a jog before/after your busy day. Theres plenty of options to get in some fresh air.
About 80% if your immune system is located in your digestive tract. The number one thing that’ll keep bad bacteria out is ensuring you have enough of the good guys. These good bacteria protect you from illness in many ways; they fight for both nutrition and space with the bad bacteria so the more good bacteria, the less space and opportunity for the bad bacteria. A good ratio of good to bad bacteria in your gut also makes your body more alkaline because bad bacteria release toxins.
Other Immunity Boosters
Ginger: aids in digestion which makes for a healthier digestive tract and promotes sweating (out toxins).
Garlic: garlic is cleansing because it dissolves mucus. However, because of this, don’t consume too much garlic when you don’t have a problem with your health because we all need some protective mucus in our body!
Vitamin-C rich foods: paprika, lemon (water!), kiwi, kale, oranges, broccoli, Romaine lettuce, brussels sprouts
Raw organic honey: very healing according to ayurveda but also simply works wonder on a sore throat.
Essential oils: are high in anti-oxidants and have the awesome ability to carry nutrients and oxygen into the bloodstream, and toxins out. Use organic, high-grade essential oils and rub them on your skin (or let someone do it ).
Here’s to a healthy winter!