Every year, usually several times a year, (especially as the seasons change) people catch a cold, get a sore throat, get some kind of chest infection and generally feel pretty unwell, especially if they catch one of the terrible strains of flu that have been circulating over the past few years.
But there is a way to naturally protect yourself from such ailments, and to help yourself recover more quickly, should you become ill.
We should firstly remember what Hippocrates (who is called “the father of modern medicine”) famously said: “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.”
Essentially this means that if you eat the right foods and avoid the wrong foods, you are highly likely to stay well, and I have found this to be true over the years with my own health, especially when partnered with the other following practical tips that keep your immune system strong. So when there is illness around you, or you feel yourself getting poorly, follow these steps…
- Switch to mostly raw food. This keeps your immune system high and keeps your body light and vibrant. Don’t eat any “heavy” rich foods like wheat, flour, nut butters, cheese, too many nuts, or anything which takes alot of digestion. Don’t eat a cooked meal in the evening – just have a salad or a smoothly or something light. Use chilli powder or cayenne pepper to warm up your body if you feel cold.
- Completely avoid sugar and stimulants (coffee, chocolate, sweet treats etc). Sugar is the possibly the worst thing to consume, as it drastically weakens your immune system. Reduce your salt intake also, and do not have a salty meal in the evening.
- Drink plenty of water, and hot ginger & lemon tea (with optional herbs like echinacea or red sage). This will keep you warm, hydrated and strengthen your immune system, while helping to flush out any toxins that may be in your system.
- Get plenty of fresh air daily, especially in the evening before going to bed, as oxygen is the best fuel for your immune system. Take a walk around your garden and breathe deeply to put plenty of oxygen in your system. Fresh air is vital to staying well, especially when you are going to sleep in a house with central heating and no air ventilation. I always recommend sleeping with your bedroom window slightly open so you are breathing fresh air while you sleep.
- Include as many superfoods in your diet as your can. Powders like Spirulina, wheat or barley grass are the best, along with any other antioxidant boosters you like, like acai berry for example.
- Completely avoid all dairy products, as they will increase the amount of mucous in your system, increase the likelihood of congestion.
- Be physically active outdoors. Don’t stay indoors breathing stale air. Keep your body feeling strong in any way you enjoy. I always walk about 7 kilometres a day, and when there is illness around, I walk a couple of kilometres in the evening after eating, breathing the fresh air deeply when I walk, so I can go to bed well oxygenated.
If you follow these tips when you notice illness encroaching, you are highly likely to avoid it. Essentially the recipe is: raw food, fresh air and a lot of hot ginger & lemon tea.
If you have actually caught a cold or flu, exactly the same rules apply. Of course, it is essential to stay warm, but fresh air is still vital, as is consuming mostly light food. Although they warm you up, cooked meals in the evening will slow your recovery, when you really want to be speeding it up.
To keep warm, don’t rely on hot food, but instead rely on hot ginger and lemon tea, as well as hot spices in your food. Wrap up in cosy, warm clothing to keep your body heat in. Obviously, if you are cold do not eat foods which have come out of your fridge, as they will chill you inside.
When you eat lighter, mostly raw meals, your body can devote more energy towards restoring your health, rather than using it for digestion, which uses a tremendous amount of our energy, especially when we eat heavy meals (which include grains, pasta, potatoes, pastry bread, dairy, rich sauces etc.)
Energy which is not being used in digestion is available to your immune system, to speed up your recovery back to full health. By following the above suggestions, you can make the right choices that support this recovery.
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