Cold and flu season is here. While there may not be anything we can do to prevent these nasty germs from coming around, there are ways that we can naturally boost our immune systems to avoid getting sick. However, if you do happen to get sick, here are some natural flu remedies that will hopefully have you feeling better sooner!
Natural immune boosters
I personally think this may be the key right here to avoiding the flu and stomach bug altogether! Over the past three winters (this is our fourth one), our whole family has been taking whole food supplements with concord grape and elderberry in them—and we have avoided the flu, stomach bug, and strep throat. The one incident of sickness that we did have was just last month, my 7-year-old had an ear infection. Of course, we have had some sinus colds, but we have been able to avoid the nasty stuff and I attribute it to this! Now, maybe it is also some of the other things that we will talk about later that help too, but this was a game-changer for us!
I didn’t really make the connection of the concord grape until I read this article about how drinking concord grape juice can keep you from getting the stomach bug. Then I read this article about how elderberries can eliminate cold and flu symptoms within 48 hours. Both articles cite studies that back up these claims. Now, I am not a doctor, and I am certainly not making any claims here, but these articles verified the experience that we had after taking the vineyard berry blend supplements from Juice Plus+, which contained concord grape, elderberry, and nine other antioxidant-rich berries.
We had just started taking them as a family “to be healthy.” We really didn’t know what that was going to look like. But to have school-age children and only had to deal with one ear infection and some sinus stuff over the last three—going on four years now… I’ll take it!
Wash your hands
As a mom, I am perpetually reminding my kids to wash their hands… with soap. It’s not actually washing your hands unless you use soap, but for some reason, they always forget this! But even as an adult, washing my hands more often is a great way to avoid getting the flu. How many times to we touch a door handle at the office, or push a cart at the grocery store, or push a button on an elevator and don’t think anything of it? However, each and every time we touch these types of things out in public, we are picking up countless germs… and then touching the steering wheel in the car, our smartphones… you get the idea. The more we can wash away those germs, the better chance we have of not picking up any of the sickness that may be lurking with them…
Fruits and Vegetables Benefits
“The nutrients found in vegetables are vital for health and maintenance of your body,” according to the Dairy Council of California. Are you getting enough fruits and vegetables each day in your regular diet? I know my family doesn’t—and we try to eat healthy. As a mother, I read food labels. I don’t buy products with high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, color or additives… okay, occasionally we do, but, in general, we try to eat healthy. The best and easiest way to do this is to cut down on the fast food, potato chips, and snack cakes… and actually cook. Yes, it is definitely more work for me. But I’d rather take the time to cook dinner most nights because I know what’s going into it. And reserve eating out for a treat. Believe it or not, cooking at home is cheaper than grabbing fast food too!
Even though we try to eat healthy, we definitely don’t get the variety of fruits and vegetables that I’d like to, so we take whole food supplements—gluten free, no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or fillers—they even have chewable gummies for the kids (which are FREE with the purchase of the adult capsules!). They are simply dehydrated fruits and vegetables that provide all of the vitamins and nutrients from the source—no lab-created vitamins and minerals here!
Juices that boost immune system
Juicing is something that I love to do… when I have the time. I would love to say that I get this accomplished once a week, but it rarely happens that often. However, if I think that one of the kids is getting a sore throat, I will make Beet Root, Carrot, and Apple Juice to help boost their immune system. But honestly, since we started taking whole food supplements over three years ago, we really have been sick—no stomach bug, strep throat, or flu!
Drink more water
Okay, no one says that drinking more water boosts your immune system, however, there are so many benefits of drinking water, that I have to believe that it can only help support and maintain overall good health! Conversely, if you don’t drink enough water, your health will suffer.
Cut down on sugar
Eating or drinking too much sugar curbs immune system cells that attack bacteria. The result is a compromised immune system, which lasts for at least a few hours after downing a couple of sugary drinks. This is something that we really don’t think about, but sports drinks, soda, juice, even coffee (if you drink it like I do!) are loaded with extra sugar. Of course, we realize the sugar when we are eating a candy bar or piece of cake, but so many times, we get it in other ways, like the sugary drinks, that are compromising our immune systems and we don’t know it. I’m all about moderation, so I’m not saying to give it up entirely, but maybe just consume a bit less.
Change your clothes when you get home from work or school
When I taught preschool, I had to take a course on preventing communicable disease. I don’t remember everything that they taught us, but the one thing that stuck out to me was the advice to take off the clothes that you wear in public when you get home and put on clothes that are clean. This makes so much sense. Think about what your clothing might have leaned against, or the seat that you may have sat in, or the germs that were picked up when someone close by coughed or sneezed. I certainly don’t want those germs on my sofa, or bed, or anywhere else in my home.
Wash your kids’ stuffed animals
Yes, your child may have a favorite stuffed animal, but taking that beloved stuffed animal out in public and then putting it in your child’s bed at night is a huge no-no! Think about all the places your child’s stuffed animal visits in a day when you take it in public—possibly the floor in a public restroom, store, or car, the grocery cart, you get the idea—disgusting! And then if you don’t wash the stuffed animal before your little one takes it to bed, then they are taking all those germs and snuggling them right by their little face ALL NIGHT LONG.
Disinfect with Clorox Wipes or homemade disinfectant spray
Use whatever disinfectant that you like to wipe down doorknobs, light switches and other commonly touched surfaces in your home. Also make sure to regularly disinfect lunch boxes and school backpacks too. The things that we touch and use everyday can end up becoming magnets for germs, simply because of the amount of use they get—and that means that you come in contact with those germs if they haven’t been wiped away…
Don’t wear shoes in your home
You wear your shoes on dirty floors, public restrooms, filling your car at the gas station, maybe even through the mud—the last thing that you want to do is track all those germs and dirty particles throughout your home. One study found that “if you wear shoes for more than a month, 93 percent will have fecal bacteria on the bottom of them.” I have always been a stickler for this, especially when my kids were younger. Just think about having your baby crawl around all those germs and roll around on the floor; they pick stuff up from the floor all the time and put in their mouths… I literally cringe at the thought.
Natural flu remedies
Even with the best habits and a healthy diet in place, we can still get sick. Unfortunately, sometimes the germs just can’t be avoided. So what can you do to cut down the effects of the flu? Here are several natural flu remedies—and a few recipes too—that can help alleviate your symptoms, and hopefully, get you feeling better sooner!