While November brings holiday preparations, turning of leaves, and colder weather, it also has a penchant for bringing the period of time season America dreads the most—flu season. Every year from the end of November to late March, 5% to 20% of Americans suffer headaches, fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, the chills, and muscle or body aches from seasonal influenza. Swallowing the overgrowth of the common respiratory virus can cause the stomach flu, which brings on additional symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Colds are caused by different types of viruses such as rhinoviruses, adenoviruses or corona viruses. They are much milder in symptoms, staying in the upper respiratory system- runny nose, cough, sinus headache, post nasal drip.
To stay healthy and prevent illness, taking active steps to protect your immune system is essential. In general, the immune system should be able to defend our body against viruses and other pathogens. Every once in awhile though, when our defenses are down due to stress, not sleeping well, eating poorly, a virulent bug can deplete our energy stores and weaken our body.
In my clinical practice, I observed that patients often complained of a sore throat after eating salads, cheese, dried fruit and nuts. I have theorized that when the patient ingests foods contaminated with molds and fungi, the pH in the throat changes and give the viruses (that we all have) the opportunity to thrive in the oral and respiratory cavity. I believe this is why soreness in the throat precedes the main symptoms of the cold and flu.
My first tip is to stop eating foods that may be contaminated with molds- raw salads (eat cooked veggies), dried and over ripe fruit, moldy nuts such as peanuts, cashews and pistachios, all types of cheese and packaged snacks such as potato and tortilla chips. By preventing the mold exposure, you will reduce the likelihood of “catching a cold or flu”.
I recommend a few different remedies to protect against colds and flus, all of which are completely natural. The first is garlic extract (allicin), for its antimicrobial properties against viruses, fungi and bacteria. Garlic extract has been known to reduce the duration and severity of the flu. Not only is it a powerful antiviral agent, but it also bolsters the immune system. Similarly, olive leaf extract contains disease-fighting potential because it contains a bitter compound called oleuropein, and many anti-viral, anti-inflammatory properties.
I also recommend a good dose of Vitamin C taken 3-4 times throughout the day. It plays an excellent role in fortifying the immune system because it increases the production of white blood cells needed to fend off disease. Make sure the Vitamin C supplement also includes bioflavonoids such as quecetin, hesperin and rutin- the combo provide as an excellent anti-histimine and anti-inflammatory agent.
To ease the soreness of the throat, gargling with ½ a teaspoon of sea salt in 8 ounces of warm water is an easy way to moisten the back of the throat and relieve irritation.
Natural remedies offer us a lot of great ways to prevent and reduce the symptoms, frequency and duration of the seasonal cold and flu. I personally do not ever get the flu vaccine, prevention is best the best medicine- eat “clean” food, sleep well, and reduce stress!