How To Stay Healthy In Spite Of Winter Cold & Flu Season
It happens every year, the cold and flu season hits. Have you ever wondered why colds and flu are more likely to occur in the winter than any other time of the year?
There are a lot of reasons but first I want to frame the discussion with a simple fact:
No matter what kind of infection, there are always 2 components that must be present.
I know it’s an obvious point, but you can’t get sick without exposure to a Virus or Bacteria or some other form of invading organism.
This point often gets overlooked. Exposure itself is not enough to make a person sick. A weakened immune system is a prerequisite for an infection to occur.
Therefore, the formula for catching a cold, flu or any infection is this:
Exposure + Susceptibility = Infection
Understanding the structure of an infection we can break down the mystery of why so many colds and flu occur in the Winter.
One point to remember is that viruses and bacteria are around all the time. They don’t just magically appear in the Winter, but they DO multiply more during this season. Why?
- Kids proximity to each other at school provide opportunity for exposure.
- The population in general are huddle inside their houses in the winter and often interacting with children and many others who have been exposed.
How to avoid exposure
That’s a tough issue. You can certainly try to avoid contact with infected people but sometimes that isn’t practical and many times you don’t know you’re being exposed because the person you’re in contact with may not be symptomatic yet.
Best practices like washing hands, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze and not sharing utensils are all helpful. But there is so much more that we can do if we understand the other part of the equation.
The Key To Avoiding Infections
Boost Immunity and Reduce Susceptibility
The best way to fight a cold or flu is to never get one in the first place. The best way to do that is to strengthen immunity.
One point about the immune system that I learned from my Ayurvedic teacher Vaidya Mishra is this:
High Acidity Reduces Immunity
When acidity is high in the system, then immunity suffers. Without going into a lot of detail here but to satisfy my Ayurvedic readers I’ll state it this way: Immunity is related to Soma. Soma creates alkalinity in the system. Too much Agni (fire) on the other hand increases acidity and reduces Soma.
One example is the gut. 80% of our White Blood Cells live in the gut. How many people have acidic guts? Tons! Just look at all the remedies for Acid Reflux, Bloating, Gas and Constipation. The colon is supposed to be relatively alkaline. The Friendly Bacteria need alkalinity to protect us against overgrowth of bad bacteria and other microorganisms. So, acidity in the digestive system kills the friend bacteria and reduces immunity.
Tips for Boosting Immunity
Go to bed before 10 PM.
Staying up after 10 increases acidity in the system
Eat more green vegetables
Green vegetables have more of the alkalizing Lunar energy. Summer squashes like Zucchini and Yellow squash are great. Other green vegetables asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans are good. Don't forget cooked leafy greens like spinach and chard.
Don’t Skip or Delay Meals
Skipping or even delaying meals when you’re hungry stimulates the liver to dilate and release acidic toxins in to the blood.
Use spices in the diet
Certain spices such as Turmeric, Coriander, Fennel and others can open and alkalize acidic channels in the body. A simple spice mixture that most people can safely use is this:
- 1 part Turmeric
- 1 part Cumin
- 6 parts Coriander
- 6 parts Fennel
- ¼ inch stick of cinnamon (avoid in the Summer months or hot climates)
- 1 black peppercorn
To prepare the spice mix start with whole organic spices except for turmeric which you will buy in powdered form. Do not buy the spices from an Indian Store as we cannot be assured of the quality. Sometimes the spice isn't even correct, i.e. onion seed is substituted for Kalonji and yellow chalk is passed off as Turmeric. So, only buy the spice from an Organic Market.
Toast the whole spices in a dry pan with no oil on a low heat. Be careful not to burn the spice. Remove from the heat to cool and put the powdered turmeric on top of the whole spices. That way it will toast slowly without burning. Once cooled, then grind all the spices together. A coffee grinder, Magic Bullet or some similar device works well for this step. Store the spice in a glass jar to maintain the freshness. Plastic zip lock bags do not work well for spice storage.
Use about ½ tsp per serving. You can cook with the spice mix or use as a sprinkle spice.
Moringa is today’s new Super Food as you can see on the Internet. It is very good for immunity and very high in Vitamin A so, it’s good for the eyes as well.
A very effective Transdermal Cream that contains a famous Ayurvedic herb called Tulsi which supports immunity especially in the Respiratory System.
Amalaki or Indian Gooseberry is one of the highest sources of Vitamin C.
Pomegranate is very good for immunity but don’t use if you’re constipated.
Chiropractic Adjustments do more than just relieve back and neck pain. Have you ever noticed a feeling lightness and energy after an adjustment? That is an indication of increased balance and Homeostasis. Many of my patients come for adjustments every month as part of a prevention strategy.
To Your Health,