This year has seen a disturbing increase in the number of flu-related deaths in California, and it is a cause for concern, but certainly, not panic. The purpose of this article is to educate and arm you with simple, effective, natural and holistic methods to prevent or recover from a cold or flu. With the information presented in this article, you will know what to do for yourself, and your family to prepare for and breeze through the cold and flu season.
Of course, the best answer to cold and flu season is not to come down with one in the first place. So, the first part of this article is on prevention. There are many, many things that you can do to help yourself out; and, I’m not talking about getting a flu vaccine. I’m not a proponent of injecting disease, contaminants, and even heavy metals into my body – in the name of prevention. Medical journals have published thousands of articles revealing that injecting vaccines can actually lead to serious health problems including harmful immunological responses and a host of other infections. This further increases the body’s susceptibility to the diseases that the vaccine was supposed to protect against. For more information on the hazards of flu shots, check out this enlightening article – Flu Shot More Dangerous than Flu. There are much safer, effective, and simple steps that can be taken. In fact, they are so simple that they fall into the Duh Category. But, SOOO FEW of US actually do them. Anyway, here I go…
1] Get enough sleep:
Oh my goodness, if there’s one thing on the list that could wipe out half the colds and flus in the world, it would be everyone getting enough sleep. Our bodies are amazing at fighting off viruses and bacteria, but only if we’re in top physical condition. So, if you feel like something is trying to get you, take heed and hit the sack for some shut eye. During sleep your body can devote all of its resources to fighting off whatever is trying to take hold inside of you.
2] Eat the right foods:
Well, I could go on ad nauseam about getting proper nutrition and all that, but I’ll restrain myself for the moment. Good nutrition is the ammunition your body needs to fight anything, it’s more important than any drugs you can take. If you’re feeling vulnerable to a cold or flu, there are foods that will help you stay strong, and foods that will send out flyers inviting a cold or flu to come and party in your body. Which do you want to eat? So, when you’re feeling vulnerable to getting sick start implementing the tips below until you feel stronger again.
- First, eat warmer foods that are easily digestible. Cold foods are harder to digest and will drain your body’s resources. Things like salads and sandwiches. This also means that you should not drink cold drinks, but have them at room temperature instead.
- One of the biggest no no’s, and a direct invite for a cold or flu is to eat dairy products. Dairy creates mucus, lowers your immune response, and slows your digestion to a crawl. So, NO milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, yada yada…
- The right soups are fabulous. This means thin stock soups, like vegetable, minestrone, and miso soup are wonderful. A little bit of meat in your soup is ok, like fish, chicken or even an egg, but avoid red meat; it’s really hard on you, hard to digest, drains your resources, and lowers your immune response; absolutely, no cheese in your soup, ok? It’s a mucus making machine, all dairy products are.
- Drink tea, not coffee. Coffee depletes your immune system. It’s hard on your adrenals, kidneys, and heart. Green tea however is good. It is fabulous for boosting your immune system, and is full of antioxidants. Now If you really want to strengthen your immune system, one of the best teas to drink is rosehip tea. Not from a teabag though. Go to a health food store and ask for dried rosehip pieces, not whole rosehips. Why not? Because you’d have to take a hammer and smash them up, that’s why. To make the tea, boil water and pour it over about 3 tablespoons of rosehips and let steep for at least ten minutes. You can use RAW, UNHEATED honey as a sweetener which is full of antibacterial and antiviral enzymes. Good stuff.
- It’s so obvious, I shouldn’t have to say it, but oh well. NO fried foods and NO processed sugar! You might as well inject yourself with staphylococcus and save some time.
- Avoid pastries, pastas and any other wheat products, they are cold and flu factories.
- Basically, the rule is to keep your food simple and easy to digest, and for goodness sake, chew before you swallow, that way you actually get some of the nutrition out of it.
3] Drink enough Water:
Water is the most important cleansing medium for your body to eliminate unwanted garbage. A reasonable estimate would be to say that more than 75% of us are chronically dehydrated. That’s fairly astonishing, but not surprising given our busy, lifestyle. Water is life, our bodies need it to for well, everything. Do yourself a favor, and drink more of it.
4] Preventative Herbal Formulas:
There is one gentle herbal formula that I do recommend to my patients if they are motivated to gradually build their immune system over time, or take preventative herbal measures for an upcoming cold and flu season. It’s called Yu Ping Feng Wan or Jade Windscreen. I’ve taken Yu Ping Feng Wan myself for many years, and it’s been many years since I’ve come down with a cold or flu. If you want to do yourself a favor, and prep for the cold and flu season, I recommend taking Yu Ping Feng Wan beginning in August, and continue taking it throughout the season. You can discontinue when you feel the danger is passed. You can also take Yu Ping Feng Wan for a much longer term, years, if desired. It’s a great way to gradually build your immune system up. It’s subtle, but eventually, (especially if you’ve fixed your nutrition and sleeping habits) colds and flus will be a thing of the past. I do have one caveat; stop taking Yu Ping Feng Wan if you do catch a cold or flu for as long as you’re sick and then wait to start up again until after you’re well. Since Yu Ping Feng Wan is tonifying it could strengthen a cold or flu if you continued taking it while you’re not feeling well.
If you’re going to put yourself in harm’s way of a cold or flu – such as, visiting your tiny nieces or nephews or flying on a plane or must be around someone who’s hacking their lungs up – then you can take Gan Mao Ling or Yin Chiao Wan, as extra protection and prevention during your time of exposure. Either one is just as effective.
For convenience, I do have these formulas available through my website at www.inspirewellnesscenter.com
Article by: Holly Reese, MSOM, L.Ac. She is an acupuncturist, herbalist, wellness coach, food-healing expert, founder of the Inspire Wellness Center, which specializes in natural and holistic health alternatives for the recovery of chronic illness. Holly Reese is also author of Rising from the Abyss: My Journey into and out of Chronic Illness a gripping memoir that details Holly’s personal descent into and eventual rise from a nearly fatal auto-immune disorder using all the natural and holistic health methods that she espouses and uses for her wellness practice. Feel free to contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week, my 78 year old Mother had Open Heart Surgery unexpectedly after a heart attack that came seemingly without warning. Her heart attack only showed up as a burning sensation in her chest so she actually wasn’t sure what was happening to her because she had no idea she even had heart disease. Other than having high blood pressure and being on blood pressure medication, she was living a healthy lifestyle.
So what happened? And why aren’t women more aware of heart disease? From what I have learned it’s all about a lack of awareness and sometimes even denial.
“A recent national study conducted by the American Heart Association showed that fewer than 50% of American women know that heart disease is their leading killer.” – AMA website
“Heart Disease remains the number one killer of women in the U.S., and younger women are twice as likely to die after suffering a heart attack as men of the same age. – Vogue magazine (Nov 2011 issue)
Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States and it claims the lives of almost 500 000 women each year. There is more awareness and media exposure for about Breast Cancer which claims the lives of about 30,000 women each year.
I have seen denial about health issues first hand with my own family. My mother admitted she ignored the warning signs and how her body was feeling. She thought being tired all of the time, having a hard time sleeping and shortness of breath were just “signs of aging”. Having lived a healthy holistic life she is “shocked” she has heart disease. Like a lot of women she thought she was doing everything right.
Nieca Goldberg, M.D. a cardiologist at NYU’s Langone Medical Center, says, “Women don’t have what I call the Hollywood heart attack that men have – severe chest pain, for instance. They might be tired. They might just feel uncomfortable.”
Denial is common in women with heart disease.
Surveys suggest such denial is common in women with heart disease.
Now after an emergency 5 Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery which saved her life, my mother is asking the big questions. Why did I get this and why didn’t I know I had heart disease? And as her daughter, I am asking those same questions too. Both of my parents now have had heart disease, a genetic predisposition could be one of the risk factors of heart disease.
But noted genetic researcher Dr. Robert Hegele, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Lecturer at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2009, says “When it comes to heart disease, lifestyle usually trumps genetics.”
Dr. Hegele’s work is unraveling the nature vs. nurture debate that has intrigued scientists for years. He says that for about five per cent of patients, the effect of genetics is so strong there is little they can do, but that 95 per cent of us can override our genes by following a healthy lifestyle.
“To be sure diabetes, a result of the obesity epidemic, factors heavily in the recent increase in the heart disease, but there has also been a devastating lapse in awareness, particularly among women. Studies show, for instance, that women today are much less likely to call 911 and more likely to delay going to the hospital than they were just 5 years ago.”
“And yet any hesitation”, notes Elsa- Grace V. Giardina, M.D., a cardiologist and the director of the Center for Women’s Health at Columbia University’s College of Physicians & Surgeons, only makes matters worse. “ When you finally do get to the hospital, there’s been a lot of damage.”
Plus there has been a spike in deaths among younger women in their 30’s and 40’s.
When a heart attack strikes a young woman, she is likely to suffer debilitating damage or die. In a study that looked at gender differences among heart attack victims, researchers found that heart attacks were far more likely to be deadly if the victim was female. In fact, when Dr. Viola Vaccarino and her colleagues looked only at patients under age 50, they found that twice as many women as men died in the days following a heart attack.
Part of the explanation for this frightening statistic is that young women with heart attacks often get either no treatment or they receive delayed care. Sometimes women, and sometimes their doctors, miss the attack because they don’t realize that the symptoms of a heart attack may vary with the patient’s gender, says Vaccarino, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Medicine.
Compared to men, during a heart attack women are much more likely to experience back pain, indigestion and nausea and/or vomiting, rather than chest pain, as their symptoms.
But, while doctors are at a loss to explain why heart attacks occur in otherwise healthy young women, they have pinpointed a group who are at an elevated risk. Women who smoke, are obese, have diabetes and/or high blood pressure are more likely than others to have a heart attack.
My mother had high blood pressure as an elevated risk, but she didn’t smoke, wasn’t obese or have diabetes. Having never taken medications in her life, she is now on a smorgasbord of medicines including a blood thinner called Coumadin,.
The following symptoms could signal heart ills:
1. Angina (chest pain). Can also include back pain or deep aching and throbbing in the left or right bicep or forearm.
2. Breathlessness. Also may include waking up having difficulty catching one’s breath.
3. Clammy perspiration.
4. Dizziness. Unexplained lightheadedness, even blackouts.
5. Edema. Swelling, particularly of the ankles or lower legs.
6. Fluttering. Rapid heartbeats.
7. Gastric upset (or nausea).
8. Heavy fullness. Also may include pressure-like chest pain between breasts and radiating to left arm or shoulder.
If you are experiencing these symptoms please do not wait, contact a doctor immediately for your own safety.
Being aware of personal risk and treatment options can empower a woman to live a long and healthy life.
Heart Healthy Cooking
These top 6 Lifestyle Changes are your first line of defense against heart disease:
1. Stop smoking cigarettes and avoid secondhand tobacco smoke.
2. Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. See CrossFit >>
3. Blood pressure is optimal at less than 120/80 mm Hg. If there’s a slight rise in pressure, the first line of self-defense is to improve your lifestyle habits.
4. Cholesterol levels are important for women to know. Total cholesterol optimally should be less than 200 mg/dL; LDL (bad cholesterol), less than 100 mg/dL; HDL (good cholesterol), more than 50 mg/dL; and triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood), less than 150 mg/dL.
5. Eat a heart-healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, grains, low-fat or nonfat dairy products, fish, legumes, and sources of protein low in saturated fat (such as, poultry, lean meats, and plant sources). Limit intake of trans fatty acids such as those found in hydrogenated oils.
6. Maintain a healthy weight, balance the calories you eat with the amount you use up each day. Diabetes (high blood sugar) is becoming more common in the United States. Unhealthy eating habits and gaining too much weight are leading causes of type II (acquired) diabetes.
Overwhelming evidence suggests that heart disease can be prevented in women. Every woman should know what her risk level is and her prevention goals and the best way to reach them.
Need more ideas for Cooking Healthy Meals, then check out: The Healthy Urban Kitchen Cookbook The Healthy Urban Kitchen is a simple, step by step system for shopping, cooking and eating the world’s healthiest foods. It was created for busy people who want to improve health, have more energy, and prevent disease.
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