Fight Colds and V’s Naturally [tips inside]
It’s officially Fall here in the northern hemisphere and that means allergy, cold, flu, and V season is upon us.
(Side note: V is that thing going around right now that everyone is talking about, but if I mentioned by name would impact the ability for you to receive this information)
Not only are we facing allergies, the common cold, and the typical flu, but the pandemic is still a thing too.
However, have no fear, because I’ve got some solid tips to help you fight allergies, colds, the flu, and V’s naturally.
There are actually a lot of simple things you can do daily beyond hand-washing or mask-wearing to boost your immune system and prevent these health hijackers from taking you hostage.
Years ago, I suffered from seasonal allergies, the occasional common cold, and nasty sinus infections. I would load up on symptom relievers, such as DayQuil, NyQuil, throat lozenges, Mucinex, and Tylenol or Advil for my painful earaches.
Now I take nothing.
No, really. I no longer have to take any over-the-counter symptom relievers because I don’t suffer from seasonal allergies anymore, and I haven’t had a cold or the flu in so long that I can’t even remember the last time I did (keep reading and I’ll tell you why).
I’m not superhuman or anything. I still occasionally feel the shift of the seasons in my body – my energy is lower some days, I get a slight runny nose or tickle in my throat when Spring or Fall brings about new allergens in the air, and I even feel the onset of what might be a cold from time to time.
BUT my symptoms are tolerable and I can stop them naturally.
When we take over-the-counter (OTC’s) medications, we have a false sense of healing our body in some way. What we’re really doing is just masking the symptoms until our body is able to make a slow and full recovery. This is why over the years, allergies, colds, and the flu can become more intense, frequent, and longer in duration.
When we mask symptoms with OTC’s, we’re ignoring our body’s call for help.
As annoying as a runny nose or postnasal drip can be, it’s your body’s way of saying, “Hey, something is really stressing me out right now, or I’m under attack. I’m trying my best to fight it off, but I could really use your support and help.
We’ve been taught to “push through it” when we get sick or feel under the weather. We use OTC’s to numb the pain so we can still go to work and take care of all our responsibilities, instead of ourselves. But what’s the price we pay in the long run for continually doing this?
Nobody ever reads the warnings or the side-effects list on an OTC medication. I mean, they’re over the counter so they must be safe, right?
OTC’s come with a laundry list of negative side-effects that can occur acutely or chronically over time. Here are just a few OTC’s side-effect highlights that we commonly overlook:
- Acetaminophen (aka Tylenol) – liver damage
- Ibuprofen (aka Advil or Motrin) – peptic ulcers and kidney damage
- Decongestants – high blood pressure or blood pressure spikes
- Antihistamines – damage to the heart muscle and the central nervous system
Large or small, long or short, any usage of OTC’s impacts the body’s ability to function normally and disrupts its homeostasis (balance). They do not boost our immunity, they block it.
OTC’s also are one of the number one contributors to leaky gut, aka a damaged digestive tract. Guess what happens when you have a leaky gut?
A leaky gut increases your risk for allergies, colds, and other V’s.
The gut is where 80% of your immune system lives. So if it’s dysfunctional, guess what else is going to be dysfunctional? Your immune system, and your ability to fight off allergies, colds, or other V’s.
When the intestinal lining is compromised, you’ve lost your first line of defense internally. Foreign invaders such as allergens, bacteria, and V’s are able to cross the gut barrier and get directly into the bloodstream.
In this week’s video and blog, I’m sharing natural ways to boost your immunity so you can fight allergies, the common cold, flu, and V’s naturally.
One of the first health improvements my clients usually notice very quickly in our work together is that they don’t get sick anymore, or when something starts to brew, it doesn’t fully develop and they make a very quick recovery.
It’s not magic, it’s just allowing the immune system to do its job.
The very first thing I focus on with ALL of my clients is digestive support and repair for 3 very important reasons:
- To boost the immune system, which lives in the digestive tract
- To increase nutrient availability for the body to improve its defenses
- To reduce inflammation and stress so the body is at less risk for illness
Healing your gut is the key to long-term sustainable health success, but healing the gut is a process that requires consistency. It can take months or even years to fully recover in some cases.
In order to heal the gut, you have to consistently:
- Avoid common inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, sugar, soy, alcohol, and others specific to you
- Get rid of gut bugs such as parasites, bacteria, and yeast (candida) that disrupt nutrient absorption and cause internal stress
- Add in foods and supplements to help repair the integrity of the gut, such as digestive enzymes, fish oils, L-glutamine, probiotics, collagen peptides, bone broth protein powder, and fermented foods
Healing my gut is what has made my seasonal allergies virtually non-existent and has given me the superhuman powers to fight off a cold or V before it even really gets started.
However, my immune system obviously wasn’t always able to do this. I suffered for years before I started to take action on healing my gut, and when I did, the results weren’t immediate. It took time. During the in-between time of healing, I still had to find ways to lessen the pain and suffering without using OTC’s because they would only set me back gut health-wise.
I began to slowly transition away from gut-damaging OTC’s and introduced more natural therapies to boost my immune system and my body’s own defense system.
Some of my favorite natural remedies for allergies, colds, and V’s include:
- Taking a supplement with quercetin and/or nettles leaf for allergies – I’ve done this in the past to reduce allergy symptoms when seasons change
- Combo of peppermint essential oil (diffused or topically) and arnica (ingested or topically) for tension headaches, migraines, or aches/pains
- Vitamin C, D, and Zinc to fight off V’s and the flu – taken preventatively or acutely
- Oil of oregano and/or garlic as a supplement for anti-microbial properties to kill off bacteria and prevent colds or sinus infections
- Ginger or peppermint tea and bone broth for upset stomachs
And feel free to reach out for specific product recommendations for these natural remedies if you want to give them a try to ensure they are of the highest quality for the best results.
We forget that OTC’s haven’t always been around, yet our ancestors found natural ways to ease pain, suffering, and symptoms. Natural remedies are still relevant and still work in our modern-day world. We just have to seek them out.
Aside from using natural remedies and healing your gut, there are a few other really important things when it comes to having the strength and stamina to fight allergies, colds, and V’s naturally.
The single most important thing you can do to fight off V’s naturally, that also helps ward of allergies, colds and the flu is…
BALANCE BLOOD SUGAR!
As more research is emerging about the recent pandemic, sugar is being identified as one of the primary risk factors for contracting the V and the severity of symptoms.
In fact, a recent study “suggests that prolonged uncontrolled hyperglycemia, and not just a history of diabetes mellitus, may be important in the pathogenesis of the disease.”
Hyperglycemia is when an excessive amount of glucose aka sugar is circulating around in the bloodstream. Essentially, what is being found is that high blood sugar levels can increase the number of receptors on a cell making it easier for V’s to enter and replicate.
PLUS, elevated blood sugar levels:
- Fuel inflammation weakening the immune system’s ability to respond adequately
- Disrupt your cortisol rhythm and restful sleep cycles that protect against illness
- Leave you craving more sugar and stuck on a blood sugar roller coaster
Any apparently healthy person can have high levels of blood sugar. I see this all the time in health-minded clients I work with, even the ones who are “eating healthy” and exercising regularly.
How could this be?
Foods that impact blood sugar goes beyond the well-known added white sugar used in baking cookies, cakes, and other sweet treats. Eating too many carbs, even the so-called healthy ones, for what your body can tolerate can also lead to blood sugar imbalances.
There’s a difference between eating healthy and eating right for your body. Eating right for your body will include healthy foods but not every healthy food is right for your body.
Globally, we could all agree a banana is a healthy food, but if you have an allergy or sensitivity to bananas, OR they contain too many carbs and sugars for what your body can tolerate, then they aren’t a healthy food for you.
When you eat something like said-banana that has these negative effects on you, it spikes your blood sugar and inflammation, making you susceptible to potential V’s, and leaves you craving more sugar to get another energy bump – the vicious cycle continues!
It’s possible to encounter these issues even if you’re eating a Paleo, Whole30, Autoimmune Paleo, or any other type of healthy diet. These diets deal more with food elimination than they do macronutrient (carb, protein, and fat) or blood sugar balance.
When you eat the wrong ratios of proteins, carbs, and fats for your body, it can lead to blood sugar imbalances making you feel:
- Tired, anxious, irritable, or needing to nap
- Snacky, bloated, heavy, or craving for sweets
- Brain foggy, wired but tired, or physically full and still hungry
- Worn down and vulnerable to V’s!
Figuring out your food ratios to balance your blood sugar, boost immunity, and energy is actually pretty simple. All you need to do is:
- Tune into your body 30 minutes to 2 hours after eating
- Notice how it’s responding to what you ate
- Adjust your food ratios until you get the perfect response!
To help you figure out what ratios are right for your body to balance blood sugar, click here to get my Food & Body Language Log.
Next, let’s address sleep as another natural and incredibly impactful tool to help you fight off allergies, colds, the flu, and V’s.
We must learn to value sleep as much as we do diet and exercise.
When you get optimal and restful sleep, the body is able to restore and repair itself, your hormones can rebalance and nutrients can be absorbed and converted into useful tools.
Staying up late at night or not getting a good night’s sleep not only robs your body of critical recovery time. It also disrupts your cortisol balance and energy, leaving you searching for energy via food, queueing the food, and sugar cravings!
To balance your energy, blood sugar, avoid cravings, promote weight loss, and boost your natural immune defenses, it’s ideal to be asleep by 10 pm most nights of the week (5 out of 7).
When you do get sick, don’t you always feel better faster when you sleep it off?
This is because your body can only heal in a relaxed state, so if and when you are fighting something off, sleep is critical to your recovery. Sleep is when human growth hormone is released to repair and replenish cells, and when the body performs other important functions to boost your immunity.
Bottom line is, you don’t have to suffer or mask your symptoms with superficial remedies. You can become your own health boss and thrive in this world any season of the year!
If we all committed to eating the right foods for our body to prevent blood sugar issues and building a great sleep routine this allergy, cold, and V season, I bet we could put this pandemic behind us faster.
Are you up for the challenge?
Comment below and let me know what steps, no matter how small, you can take to fight allergies, colds, and V’s naturally 🙂
P.S. For even more ideas on natural remedies to relieve your symptoms and support your immune system in defending you naturally, check out some of my favorite resources:
- Wellness Mama’s Natural Remedies for Illness – she even makes her own cough syrup
- Chris Kresser’s How To Prevent Colds & Flus Naturally OR The Truth About The Flu Shot & What To Do Instead – how to prevent and treat colds or the flu naturally