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Cold, Flu or Allergy?

Cold, Flu or Allergy?

Feeling a little under the weather? Is it the common cold, influenza (the flu), or seasonal allergies? All three of these conditions affect the upper respiratory track, so it can be hard to determine what it is that is bugging you. Read Healthy Grocery Girl’s symptom chart to help you understand the difference between all three.

 

To avoid the cold, the flu and seasonal allergies, boosting your immune system is key! Here are 7 natural way to boost your immunity. Since there is no cure for the common cold, the best thing you can do is… prevent it!

1. Eat Immune Boosting Foods!

Zinc, Vitamin E and Vitamin C contain antioxidants which can help boost white blood cells helping to fight and prevent future illness.

  • Vitamin C: Eat bell peppers, sweet potatoes, broccoli and spinach
  • Zinc: Eat pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, tahini or sesame seeds
  • Vitamin E: Eat hazelnuts, almonds and spinach
2. Reduce Stress

Stress taxes your entire body and wears down your immune system. Stress also increase blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. When we are stressed it is natural for our body to want to “escape” the stress. More often than not we reach for less then healthy methods to escape our stress such as; alcohol, food, suppressing emotions, becoming a workaholic, drugs, or even withdrawing from friends and family.

Try these techniques to reduce stress;

  • Yoga
  • Read
  • Listen to music
  • Engage in a non-work related hobby
  • Laugh
  • Be silly
  • Talk positive to yourself
  • Let it go- don’t sweat the small stuff
  • Stretch
  • Go outside
  • Hug and love someone
3. Vitamin D, Sun or Supplement

Vitamin D is key to avoiding the cold and flu. Research studies have shown that Vitamin D is far more effective at preventing the Flu, than the Flu Vaccine ! In fact numerous studies show that a deficiency in Vitamin D is associated with the following diseases; acne, adrenal insufficiency’s, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, autism, autoimmune diseases, allergies, osteoarthritis, osteomalacia, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, many forms of cancer including colorectal and ovarian, Crohn’s disease, chronic fatigue, cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis, depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), diabetes, gluten intolerance, Graves’ disease, heart disease, hypertension, kidney disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, obesity, Parkinson’s disease, psoriasis, and urinary incontinence.

WOW!

It is actually rare to find adequate intake of Vitamin D from food. The best source of Vitamin D is sunlight. Next best is naturally fortified foods such as cereals and grains or a Vitamin D supplement. To accurately address your Vitamin D needs it is best to see your naturopathic doctor or primary care physician. The recommended daily intake of Vitamin D is 400 IU, however this is the minimal recommendation to survive. To thrive, the optimal daily intake can be up to 4000 IU! To know the best dose of Vitamin D for yourself, it is best to get a blood test from your doctor. Meeting with a registered dietitian can also help you determine how to have a balanced diet to ensure optimal intake of all nutrients from the foods you consume, and just as important, that foods you are eating do not impair the absorption of supplements or nutrients you consume!

4. Be Hot and Spicy

There is a reason our body craves warm, hot and comforting foods during the cold season. Warm foods and spices help to boost the immune system. Make the following spices staples in your winter pantry.

  • Cayenne
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Cardamom
  • Turmeric
  • Paprika
  • Cloves

Try Ginger Tea, Cinnamon in oatmeal or baked goods, and Cayenne in soup!

 

5. Sleep

Your body repairs and restores itself when you are at rest. Getting less sleep than what is optimal for body, wears your body down, which can lead to getting sick. As the day’s become shorter and darker, try to get to bed earlier. Seven to eight hours per night is ideal, however some people may operate better on eight to nine hours. Listen to your body.

 

6. Hydrate

Drink water, herbal tea, and more water! Stay hydrated to help flush out toxins and keep all of your organ functioning at their best. These herbal tea’s can help boost the immune system.

  • Lemon Ginger
  • Green Tea
  • Chamomile
  • Peppermint
  • Cinnamon Bark
7. Essential Oils

Essential oils can help boost your immunity. How?

  • Essential oils can help alleviate stress, which in turn helps to boost the health of your hormones and overall body function
  • Essential Oils directly stimulate organs in your body that help flush out toxins and improve the production of immune boosting cells
  • Essential oils naturally have antibacterial and antiviral properties which will help to fight, attack and prevent harmful viruses in your body

You can use essential oils for massage, applied to the back or neck, used in the bath tub or in a diffuser to fragrance a room.

Try the following immune boosting essential oils!

  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Tea Tree
  • Parsley
  • Olive Leaf Extract
  • Elderflower
There are a lot of ways we can prevent getting sick. We have yet to even begin the holiday season, which is the best time of the year, but is often tiresome, busy, and stressful for people. So start helping your health now. Go to the store and load up on plant based immune boosting foods, herbal tea’s, herbs and spices. Start practicing the healthy habits of getting to bed earlier and making time to exercise. Make this Holiday season one that is enjoyable, joyful and healthy!

 

Megan

Megan Roosevelt

Megan Roosevelt is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Host, Video Producer as well as the founder and CEO of Healthy Grocery Girl®

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