Health & Fitness

By Andrea Donsky

That fresh, crisp scent of autumn is in the air. But as the mercury drops and the days get shorter, the risk of catching a cold or flu increases.

The key to staying healthy as the season changes is prevention. Check out the below all-natural ways to strengthen your immune system and prepare it for the cold and flu season ahead.

The ABC’s of Vitamins

Vitamins B and C, as well as minerals such as Zinc and selenium are important for helping our body deal with stress, fight free radicals and maintain a healthy immune system. Taking a daily multi-vitamin can help ensure we are receiving adequate levels of these important vitamins and minerals, especially for those of us who are super-busy and unable to get our daily recommended intake from the food we’re eating.

(fish oil pills may look eerie, but the benefits are ten-fold!)

Not So Fishy Fish Oil

Fish oil is another fantastic fall formula. The Omega 3′s in fish oil help our bodies reduce inflammation, flush toxins and maintain immune balance – all things that have a positive impact on our health. A brand we recommend is Nordic Naturals. Not only does their fish oil taste great, but the company also tests their oil for purity to ensure there are no heavy metals or toxins in any of its products.

Tea Temptations

If you find yourself under the covers because you’re under the weather, it is important to stay hydrated. Drinking lots of fluids such as water and herbal teas makes the thin mucous secretions easier to get rid of. According to recent research, tea has the ability to boost and strengthen the immune system as well as prevent cell damage, both of which improve the body’s ability to fight disease and infection.

A great tea choice when feeling sick is Organic Ginger tea; which helps cleanse the body and minimize the severity of a cold. Ginger helps to increase perspiration, which in turn helps to reduce the temperature of a fever. Plus, herbal teas do not contain caffeine, so the water from this drink is beneficial to the body as well.

All Washed Up

Health Professionals recommend preventing the common cold through regular hand washing. When a family member is sick, everyone in the house should be washing their hands even more than usual. For those times when soap and water is out of reach, a bottle of hand sanitizer can do the trick.

Conventional hand sanitizers may use chemicals and harsh alcohols to kill germs. However, we found a brand that is non-toxic, alcohol free and leaves your hands feeling soft. It’s called Clean Well and it’s a hand sanitizer that kills 99.99% of germs and is made from essential plant oils including oregano and thyme.

Oregano Oil – Not Your Everyday Spice

Oregano Oil is one of my favorite “home remedy” cold and flu tools. An extract from one of the most powerful species of the oregano plant, this is not your everyday store-bought spice. This variety differs from the herb in your kitchen cupboard as it possesses potent antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties.

There are more than 50 known active ingredients in the oregano plant that work synergistically to provide its benefits and it has been proven to be effective in fighting fungal and bacterial infections. A brand we really like is North American Herb and Spice. They offer a whole line of oregano products from sinus relievers to inflammatory reducers.

For more information on staying healthy during this cold and flu season, visit http://www.NaturallySavvy.com.

Andrea Donsky, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (R.H.N.), is co-founder of NaturallySavvy.com, a site that aides in demystifying all things natural and organic, and demonstrating how easy it is to make smart purchasing decisions that will have a direct positive impact on overall health and wellness.

Originally published December 2008
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