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    Cold & Flu Prevention

    Cold & Flu Prevention

    First off, it's important to understand that colds are a normal part of human physiology to restore the body back to a state of balance. There is considerable debate (now more than ever) as to what causes the collection of these symptoms that we call colds/flu. Like most things in biology, it seems to be a complex interaction of many environmental factors such as nutrition, toxicity and mental/emotional states, not just exposure to microbes! The important thing to remember is that the body is doing exactly what it needs to do to heal, and the last thing we want to do is interfere with the healing process unless it is absolutely crucial!

    The biggest bang for your buck when it comes to preventing colds is to focus on the following 3 principles:

    • Proper Nutrition
    • Detoxification
    • Stress Reduction


     Proper Nutrition

    Eating properly will provide your body with the nutrients that it needs to perform all of its functions optimally, simple as that! This includes the function of your immune system, lymphatics, liver, mucous membranes, respiratory system and anything else you can think of that's involved when you get sick. 

    We are often advised to take supplements like Zinc, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D to boost our immunity but we can easily obtain these with a well balanced diet and sun exposure. There are cases when supplements will provide additional help but we should seek to obtain these through food first!
    Here are some good sources of common nutrients that support your immune system:
    Zinc - Oysters (by far the best source), Shellfish, Red Meat, Pumpkin Seeds
    Vitamin C - Raw Fruits and Vegetables (heat destroys Vitamin C)
    Vitamin D- Cod Liver Oil, Seafood, Egg Yolks, Butter, Pasture Raised Lard. The most effective way to increase Vitamin D is through UV-B sun exposure.
    Vitamin A:
    - Retinol (more bioavailable): Beef Liver, Cod Liver Oil, Egg Yolks
    - Carotenes (less bioavailable) - Red, Yellow or Orange Fruits and Vegetables

    For a deeper dive on nutrition, check out our blog post What is the Optimal Diet for Humans?


    Environmental toxicity is a growing issue that is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid. Air pollution, agricultural pesticides, tap water, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics...the list is long! Our bodies have excellent detoxification systems BUT they are not designed to handle the amount of chemicals that we are currently exposed to. 

    Even prior to this level of toxicity, many traditional cultures practiced various forms of cleansing and detoxification to remain vital. I see detoxification as a 3 step process:


    1. Remove Sources of Toxicity

    Preventing toxic accumulation is the best strategy, but a difficult task in today's world! Getting a good quality water filter (reverse osmosis) or drinking spring water is a crucial step to reduce your toxic burden. Consume organically grown food as much as possible. It is most important to buy organic for your "Dirty Dozen" produce, grains and legumes, and animals products that are fed grain. Avoid using deodorants, toothpastes, skin lotions and other personal care products that contain toxic chemicals. If you can't pronounce the ingredient, it's probably toxic!


    2. Open your Emunctories 

    Your emunctories are your organs of elimination. This includes your liver & gallbladder, colon, kidneys & bladder, skin and lungs. This is a large topic but some basics include drinking plenty of filtered or spring water, regular & frequent movement, deep diaphragmatic breathing, castor oil packs over your liver/abdomen, sweating (especially passive sweating in a sauna), as well as various herbs to support your emunctories (this is an excellent tea to support cleansing - use code NATUROACADEMY15 for 15% off!).  

    Listen to our podcast on Opening your Emunctories for more info on this topic.


    3. Stimulate Cellular/Extracellular Detoxification

    Again this is a huge topic but some of the useful tools in this department are various forms of fasting to induce autophagy, a process of "cleaning house" for your old & dysfunctional cells. Hydrotherapy is extremely beneficial as well to clean up your lymphatic system and extracellular matrix. Alternating hot and cold (example sauna --> cold bath) is very effective. Several herbs and nutraceuticals also target specific pathways involved in detoxification. It is often advisable to use binders such as activated charcoal, chlorella, zeolites and bentonite clay during this phase to ensure you are getting toxins out of your body safely.


    Stress Reduction

    Lastly, taking care of your mental/emotional health will directly impact the function of your immune system. Stress and fear are two of the most potent immunosuppressants! Often times we fall ill with a cold/flu directly after a period of significant mental/emotional stress. One of the most simple yet effective strategies you can implement to reduce stress is eliminate your consumption of any fear promoting media. Watching the news is literally one of the worst things you can do for your health (scrolling negative content on social media content is no better). Another tip is to spend more time in nature, the earth is constantly emitting an electromagnetic field that tunes our bodies to a frequency of relaxation (alpha brain wave state). Standing barefoot on the earth enhances this effect. Learn some breathing techniques to calm down your nervous system. Nasal breathing slowly with a focus on expanding your diaphragm (belly breathing) is one of the quickest ways to change your mental state. Lastly, spend more time doing things that make you happy 😊

    In closing, I encourage you to focus your energy on optimizing your own health and resilience. Over the past few years it has become evident that we carry a lot of fear over microbes harming us but we always have the choice to step out of victim mentality and take control of our health and overcome our fears 💪

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