This week I've got some more advice about arming yourself against winter's worst viruses and bacteria. In addition to vitamin D and probiotics, there are quite a few things you can do to protect yourself winter during cold and flu season.
First off, make vitamin C part of your daily regimen. It's a powerful detoxifier that also stimulates our immune system. But here's what most people don‘t realize about vitamin C: It doesn't work a lick once you've got a cold. So taking a few extra tabs once you‘ve got the sniffles isn't going to help you much. On the other hand, it works magnificently for the prevention of colds. So take it daily while you‘re healthy and you'll stay that way during this cold and flu season.
Also, it's important to remember that vitamin C only stays in your body for a few hours at a time. So you've got to take it a few times throughout the day during cold and flu season. For basic cold prevention, take 1,000 mg two to three times a day. If you're under any type of stress -- physical or emotional -- you may want to go for more.
Secondly, like vitamin C -- take the herb Echinacea daily to prevent catching a cold in the first place. It doesn't work well once you've caught a cold. In fact, a few years back, scientists found that taking Echinacea and vitamin C together can reduce your risk of catching a cold by a whopping 86 percent!
Thirdly, at the height of cold and flu season, for some extra immune system support add some EpiCor, Beta 1,3 Glucan, and Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) to the mix. EpiCor is 100 percent natural and helps to balance your immune system. Beta 1,3 Glucan is a natural polysaccharide that activates your white blood cells. And last but not least, ALA is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body to absorb nutrients from the food you eat.
Home remedies that work
I‘m also a big believer in saltwater gargles. Most folks know that it can help relieve a sore throat. But did you know that rinsing with saltwater could even block you from catching a cold in the first place? A few years back, that‘s exactly what scientists discovered!
They recruited 400 healthy volunteers to see if saltwater rinses could actually prevent colds. Half of the volunteers rinsed with salt water every day for 60 days during cold and flu season. The other half did nothing.
Scientists found that the volunteers who gargled regularly caught 40 percent fewer upper respiratory tract infections compared to the non-garglers. Plus, when they did get sick, they got over it faster.
Saltwater is effective against the common cold because it kills the bacteria in your throat, tonsils, and adenoids. I usually recommend dissolving half a teaspoon of salt in a glass full of warm water. Gargle for a minute or so before spitting it out. This will also help kill off bacteria that cause bad breath, so I gargle in the morning, after brushing and flossing my teeth.
What should you take once you get a cold?
Should you catch a bug this cold and flu season, there are a few things to do to get over it quicker. First off, here‘s the obvious: Lots of fluids and rest. Secondly, take a 13 mg zinc lozenge five or six times a day during your cold.
Zinc is an essential mineral that plays a role in your immune health. And while most research is mixed as to whether or not it can prevent a cold, one fact about zinc is quite clear. It can help you get over your cold faster!
In 2008 scientists found that men and women who took a zinc lozenge every few hours within the first 24 hours of developing a cold got over the bug faster. In fact, their colds only last half as long as the control group who took a placebo. Plus, their coughs lasted for two days instead of five. And their noses only ran for three days, instead of four and a half.
This cold and flu season just be careful about which kind of lozenge you buy. Find one that contains zinc acetate. Your body will absorb this kind the best. Also, avoid lozenges that contain citric acid or other flavorings. These added flavors block zinc‘s natural ability to boost your immune system and may actually make things worse.
Also, long-term use of zinc is not safe. This can lead to a copper deficiency. So just make sure to stop the lozenges after you kick your cold.