Everyone knows the quintessential remedies for the common cold – lots of rest and vitamin C, right?
Studies suggest that if you want your stufalumps and sneezles to go away quicker, you may need to do more.
If you really want to prevent getting sick and/or shorten the duration of your illness, try these things that not only stave off illness, but also have a variety of other health benefits.
- Complete your shower with a cool rinse. According to a study from the Thrombosis Research Institute in England in 1993, individuals who took daily cold showers had more virus fighting white blood cells in comparison to individuals who prefered their showers steamy. Researchers believe that the body’s attempt to heat up increases the metabolic rate and activates the immune system which then releases more white blood cells. Furthermore, Vincenz Priessnitz, a german farmer in the 1820s, who coined the term “hydrotherapy,” used cold water to cure everything from broken bones to erectile dysfunction. He treated dukes, duchesses, counts, countesses and princesses to with his cold water therapy. Alternating hot and cold is also said to improve lymphatic drainage which can enhance the immune systems ability to fight illness. Please note: this one is to prevent getting sick and not recommended if you’re already under the weather.
- Meditate – A new study at UCLA shows that patients with HIV who meditate prevented a dramatic drop in their immune cells. Zen monk masters can also use the meditation to change their body temperature at will and can stay warm and healthy in freezing environments. OOOOMMMmmmm!
- Get down with downward dog – A study published by scientists in Norway in PLOS ONE online journal suggests that practicing yoga rapidly changes your internal structure on a genetic level. “These data suggest that previously reported (therapeutic) effects of yoga practices have an integral physiological component at the molecular level, which is initiated immediately during practice,” says the main researcher Fahri Saatcioglu.
- Essential oils. No, they’re not just for smelling. Essential oils like Clove, Bay laurel, Cinnamon leaf, Eucalyptus globulus, Frankincense, Oregano and Sage are believed to enhance immune system function too. For fighting the infection and helping the body to heal itself, try Bergamot, Roman Chamomile, Lavender, Lemon, Myrrh, Pine needle, Sandalwood,Tea Tree, and Thyme essential oils – the lovely aromas are an added bonus!
- Wear copper. Copper is a necessary trace-mineral in the human body that binds with enzymes. Enzymes aid in the creation of hemoglobin which is vital for healing and repair in the body. So copper is an essential part of the body’s immune system to work at full capacity. Wearing copper is said to slowly absorb into the tissues and bloodstream, helping to build the immune system.
- Himalayan sea salt – To eat and to heat! This is not your average table salt. It contains 84 essential trace minerals that your body needs in order be healthy. Our cells, blood, and tissues is a salt water solution and needs these trace minerals! They also have himalayan sea salt candle holders and lamps that heat the special salt, leading to ionizing the air. Here’s what WebMD had to say: “Generally speaking, negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to the brain; resulting in higher alertness, decreased drowsiness, and more mental energy,” says Pierce J. Howard, PhD, author of The Owners Manual for the Brain: Everyday Applications from Mind Brain Research and director of research at the Center for Applied Cognitive Sciences in Charlotte, N.C. “They also may protect against germs in the air, resulting in decreased irritation due to inhaling various particles that make you sneeze, cough, or have a throat irritation.”
- Fermented foods According to Medical News Today, fermented foods contain essential probiotics that boost immunity. “Because the intestinal microbiota can regulate immune responses outside the gut, the absence of the ‘right’ gut microbes may conceivably shift the balance toward disease in individuals genetically predisposed to autoimmune diseases” they stated. If you can’t stand the funk of these sticky foods try a high-grade probiotic at any health food store.
- Sip on herbs. Try this ‘Cold Season Yogi Tea’ for added support during the chillier months. With an organic proprietary blend of herbs including ginger root, licorice root, eucalyptus leaf, orange peel, valerian root, lemongrass, peppermint, tulsi leaf, cardamom seed, oregano leaf, clove bud, parsley, yarrow, black pepper and cinnamon bark – you can’t go wrong. Just make sure to only sip before bed (as the valerian is very calming).
What are some immune system heighteners that you swear by? Any cold and flu remedies that work like a charm? Please comment below.