The best way to stay healthy is to build your immune system. So how do you prevent catching the cold or flu? Short of staying home and being a hermit, making sure you give your immune system what it needs is the best way to prevent for getting sick. Here are some of my favorite items in my Cold & Flu Prevention Kit. I use these items to help strengthen my immune system and it works great! I take these with me every where I go, and they are airplane friendly as well.
1- Olive Extract
Olive extract is a powerful supplement that’s fantastic for enhancing the immune system. The olive plant is a rich source of such beneficial plant compounds as tocopherols, flavonoids, anthocyanins, sterols and polyphenols. Research shows olive leaves have enhanced the functioning of the immune system and help fight viral infections, especially when fever is present. Because of polyphenols in olive leaves, it has also been shown to have antimicrobial effects against a variety of viruses, bacteria, yeasts and fungi. You can take Olive Extract with water, but I prefer to just take it straight. Although it is certainly not tasty (think of a combination of Everclear Liquor and Olive), it has proven time and time again to keep me from being sick, even when I am stuck in with a plane full of coughing people. Make sure to take it before you get sick or if you feel like you are about to catch something. My favorite liquid oil of olive leaf is Nature’s Answer Olive Leaf Extract. My favorite capsules is Health Harmony’s Olive Leaf Extract
2- Oil of Oregano
Known for for its antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, it works really well. Studies also show Oil of Oregano is helpful in treating fevers and respiratory symptoms, which are both associated with the flu. Unfortunately, it has a really intense oregano flavor. In fact, I use to video tape my friend’s reaction when they first try Oil of Oregano! My favorite go to Oil of Oregano liquid is from North America Herb & Spice – Oil of Oregano. This is also carry on airport friendly. If you prefer pills or capsules, try the Puritan’s Pride Oil of Oregano Soft Gels. No after taste and really reasonably priced.
Propolis is shown to boost immune functions and has antimicrobial properties. Propolis comes from the resin of trees. It is made by bees and they gather the resin from trees, then transforming it into a very sticky and antimicrobial mixture they use as glue for their hive. Propolis works in two ways. First, it suppresses harmful infection and bacteria. Second, it stimulates the immune system and increases your body’s nature resistance. Take it with water or you can do what I do: Take is straight. Again, not the tastiest (think honey scented Everclear) but it works like a charm! My favorite one is Brazilian Green Bee Propolis. It works really well and can go in your carry on luggage.
3- Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil, also called Melaleuca, has antiseptic properties and is known to fight germs. It comes form a tree native to Australia. It has been used to treat skin infections, minor burns, athlete’s foot, insect bites, acne, eczema, colds, flu and more. Tea tree oil is used topically and should never be taken internally. For colds and other respiratory problems, add the oil into a vaporizer and inhale the mist. I like to get the tea tree oil in a roller bottle and put it under my nose to help me breath. It’s great if you are congested. It also helps you relax. Because tea tree oil has so many other uses, it is quite versatile. I use it if I am breaking out and it helps clear my complexion. You can also add a few drops of the oil to bath water too. My favorite is Maple Holistic 100% Pure Tea Tree Oil.
4- Green Tea
Green tea is an amazing source of antioxidants as well as polyphenols, boosting your immune system. Polyphenols in tea has been linked to killing the flu virus. I’ve been drinking plain green tea for as long as I can remember (thanks Mom!). I am a bit partial to green tea and oolong tea. Oolong tea has also been know to reduce the risk of health conditions such as heart disease, inflammatory disorders, and high cholesterol levels, while being high in antioxidants. Don’t add milk though, because milk proteins bind to the polyphenols and make them ineffective. If you need to sweeten it, try adding a touch of honey or Stevia. My favorite green tea bags are the Organic Green Tea Bags by FGO.
Sleep is an essential part of being healthy and having a healthy immune system. When you are sleeping, you give your body a chance to repair itself. In studies, scientist found that sleep plays a critical role in healthy immune function, metabolism, memory, as well as learning. Not getting enough sleep can lead to reduced immune function and even increased cancer risk. How much sleep do you need? For most people, it is any where from 6-9 hours. Try waking up naturally without an alarm clock and see how many hours you slept for. This will give you a good idea of how much sleep you need. If you are having trouble falling asleep, try cutting back your caffeine intake by early afternoon and see how you feel.
Kava is a plant native to the South Pacific which helps you relax. Sometimes when I am trying to get some sleep but my mind is racing, I take this supplement and it helps me relax. Unlike melatonin which makes you drowsy, this will relax you, but you can take it during the day as well. Kava is used to calm anxiety, stress, and restlessness, and treat sleep problems (insomnia). My favorite kava is VH Nutrition’s Kava Kava. At only $12.99 for 60 capsules, this Kava is a really good deal and works really well.
7- Cough Drops
If you are sick, try your best to not cough. Once you start coughing, you irritate the delicate lining of your esophagus, which causes you to cough even more and leading to a sore throat. At night, you can try to gargle with warm salty water, which can draw excess fluid from inflamed tissues in the throat, making them hurt less. During the day, I turn to cough drops. I like Ricola Natural Honey Cough Drops because they are natural and made with herbs. They also use organic farming practices and no chemical pesticides.
8- Wash Your Hand for 30 Seconds
To help prevent picking up germs and virus, wash your hands for 30 seconds. You have to wash wash your hands for about 30 seconds with soap in order to kill the bacteria and virus. One trick I learned when I was in the medical field was to sing the “Birthday Song”. It’s about 30 seconds long. Just don’t sing it out loud or people will look at you funny…
9- Cover Your Cough
Lastly, if you are sick, make sure you cover your cough it doesn’t spread. Try coughing into the crook of your elbow instead of your hands. When you cough on your hands, you’re spreading germs when you touch other things. Yes, it looks a little funny, but it works.
And of course, eating healthy foods and maintaining an active lifestyle also helps boost a healthy immune system. I’d love to hear your favorite cough and cold remedies. Feel free to leave comments! =)
Here is the video for ya:
Make it a Healthy day,
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“Remember, being fit and healthy is a marathon, not a sprint. And I am here with you every step of the way.”