This is amazing to me, and perhaps I am, from another planet, but every year, at the same time between mid fall to February, we are flooded with ad after ad touting relief (and now prevention) from colds and the flu.
I’ve seen my clients stockpile products from tissues to conventional cold & flu remedies, but they still feel miserable.
In Ayurveda, the belief is that the body doesn’t become sick or diseased just because it interacts with a germs and bacteria, it gets sick, because of an increase of a specific element which lowers our immune system, and thus, pushes us it’s out of balance.
Looking at seasonal changes from the Ayurvedic perspective; spring is birth, summer is growth, fall is demise, and winter is the death. Seasons are change and are there to remind us that we need to follow mama nature’s lead and change as well. Ideally, we should change our diet, our activities and lifestyle to match the season. Taking our cues from nature can help prevent us from becoming “sick”.
Colds and flu are the signs from your body telling you to IMMEDIATELY stop what you are doing, and let it rest, so it won’t get you sicker. If you rest, take warm liquids and fast, for 24 hours, your body will actually start to rebalance itself – seriously, it’s that simple.
Sadly, we are too focused on the task of life, and tend to rely heavily on our immune systems coming to our rescue – that goes double for all Pittas reading this! If we could only listen to our bodies, rather than trying to “power through”, we would all be a lot healthier.
However, I am a realist, so here are a few tips on preventing a cold and the flu as well as some suggestions on what to do when you do have one or the other.
- At the first sign of a cold or the flu, stop eating any foods which produce excessive mucous – this is good for both colds and flu. Mucous only extends the duration we are sick, and can cause ear infections and sinus infections. Avoid all types of cheese, any meat (including chicken & fish) and lay off anything fried. Ideally, fresh salad (without any dressing) is preferred. Salads can be taken in moderation in Vata season (mid fall to late winter). Remember, salads will dry out the excessive mucous in the body, so if you are Vata, eat hot broths with some root vegetables, but not too many. One of my favorite weapons is Braggs amino acids (https://bragg.com). Drinking 4-6 hot cups of this in a day will energize you and warm your system up – so put down the Tylenol warming liquids. Braggs is made from soy, so if you have soy sensitivity, reach for vegetable or chicken broth.
- In the evening, leave your day at work, and soak in a tub of Epsom salts and eucalyptus oil. 20-25 minutes will take the aches and tiredness away. The eucalyptus oil will help open up your nasal passages, and clear some of that mucous out of your head.
- Neti Pot – 2-3 times a day. It helps you to breathe easier and will help stave off a sinus infection. A lot of people find using a neti pot a little strange. If you are one of those people, you can pick up a sinus cleanser, but I find this more invasive than the Neti pot. You can learn more about the proper neti pot use at www.sinussupport.com. By the way, those articles about neti pots killing people are bunk. The REAL story was that the people who died from brain amoebas were using contaminated swamp water from the bayous of Louisiana. Oh, and Oprah uses a neti pot.
- If you have access to a Sauna, the dry heat will help warm and dry out our system – just make sure you are in a condition to use on. MAX 25 minutes. Check with your doctor before using a sauna, especially if you re pregnant, have a heart condition or any condition which may cause complications to your condition.
- If you are feeling really slow, food-grade vitamin B12 is a great booster for you. Please put down the coffee and all caffeine products, and take one of these bad boys. You’ll be on without the crash and headaches, which are just what you need when you have a cold or the flu! B12 also helps support your immune system fight the imbalance.
- Vitamin C. I am a big fan of this popular vitamin, as it keeps your immune system in check. BUT, all vitamin C’s ARE NOT created equal. Vitamin C, which is chemically based, has ascorbic acid as an ingredient. The reason for this is that when you separate pure C from its indigenous environment is indigestible by the human body. Ascorbic acid tries to help the body to absorb and assimilate the C; otherwise, the body has no idea what to do with it, and will get rid of it the next time you pee. Favor food-based C, specifically in leafy greens (in soup!) and citrus fruits – your body will know exactly what to do with them