I wanted to address a question I get asked a LOT — especially this time of the year. And that question is…
“How Do I Avoid Catching a Cold or the Flu?”
According to doctors, we have officially begun flu season. Ans while many people use the terms almost interchangeably, it’s important to understand the difference.
A cold can be caused by several hundred different viruses, and generally come with much milder symptoms that often last for days or a week. It can begin with with a sore throat or runny nose, lead to more congestion, and culminate in a cough that can be pretty unpleasant. There is no known “cure” for the common cold, though there is a lot of speculation as to how to prevent it and compounds that help strengthen your immunity once you have it to help your own body create balance.
The flu is similarly caused by viruses that can enter the mucus membrane of the eyes, nose or mouth. Its symptoms are more severe, and often come on faster/stronger and it lasts longer than a cold does. It can include a fever, headaches, soreness, a total lack of energy, no appetite and more.
Why Prevention Is Key
Once you have one of these ailments, there’s not much you can do other than wait it out. That’s why it’s really important to focus on prevention. Here are some tips:
1) Keep your hands clean. One study found that washing one’s hands regularly is one way to reduce the likelihood you’ll catch a cold, as viruses are often transferred that way.  Just be sure you use natural soap (not those loaded with chemicals) or an alcohol free hand sanitizer like you might find in Whole Foods. Also, don’t overdo it — being too “sterile” can also negatively impact your immune system as well!
You don’t have to be a total germaphobe, but be smart. The shopping cart at grocery stores has been noted as a top place for germs to accumulate. When there are free wipes, use them. And if not, don’t touch your eyes or face while shopping, and be sure to wash your hands when you get home. The same would be wise if you use gym equipment, and right before eating if you are picking up anything with your hands (menus are another place said to harbor germs).
2) Load up on probiotics. In that same study, researchers found that probiotics also helped reduce the likelihood of catching a cold or flu. This makes sense, as we’ve covered many times before, probiotics play a significant role in the strength of your immune system. A weakened gut makes you susceptible to a host of issues, colds and flu included. I’m partial to our Probiotic, of course, which are made up of the perfect mix of bacteria similar to what is found in nature, based on a soil-based organism formula.
Rather than just boasting of high numbers of a few strains (which may die in the acidity of the stomach before it even reaches your gut), our formula is made of a mix of bacteria similar to what was in the soil that our ancestors used to eat in small quantities on food (when food was truly farm to table). It assimilates into the body and creates balance and can strengthen immunity as it can help promote detoxification and great side effects from that, like clearer, better skin. A lot of my clients swear by them. Check it out for yourself!
3) Get plenty of zinc. In that same study, researchers found that zinc was one of the most important nutrients involved in the prevention of colds and flu, also due to its positive effect on our immune system. Some of the plant foods richest in zinc are pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds (including tahini), lentils, and quinoa. These are filling foods that are easy to incorporate into your diet this time of the year, and now you have an additional reason to!
4) Consider a cleanse. I believe another big factor in cold and flu season is that, as the seasons change, our bodies need an adjustment phase — otherwise we experience congestion. This added congestion increases our mucus levels and makes us more susceptible to catching whatever happens to be going around.
When we cleanse, however, we eliminate a great deal of congestion, and keep our mucus membranes clean and clear. You can cleanse by drinking smoothies/blended foods exclusively for a few days (or up to a week) and this gives you lots of nutrition, fiber and elimination — while also provided a much needed break from expending energy on digestion.
If you’re the kind of person who can prepare all your smoothies daily — great! — but if not, then consider getting a Glow Bio Cleanse shipped to your house. Unlike a typical juice fast (or a “choose your own”), our cleanses are strategically designed by yours truly. You start and end with the fiber-filled Glowing Green Smoothie, to help toxins, and you drink probiotic-enhanced cold pressed juices, and consume potent boosters throughout to help you debloat, reduce inflammation and more. Glow Bio cleanses are 100% organic. This is a great time to do a cleanse!
Cold and Flu Season? Not for You!
Incorporating one or more of these tips will go a long way toward helping you avoid catching something this time of year — and will strengthen your health and immune system overall.
Stay tuned for more great content right here on the blog this week. In the meantime…have a fantastic, beautiful and inspiring day!
Remember to make your best choices, food and other-wise, as you deserve the best.