This year began with a bang. For some that unfortunately meant getting hit with serious respiratory colds or infections. Most commonly, I’ve seen people experience ear infection, cough, fever and fatigue, and bronchitis and walking pneumonia have been rampant. The nature of these symptoms have been persistent this year. Very frequently I have seen these patients treated with antibiotics, then after completing their course of antibiotics, the same or similar symptoms reoccur. Perhaps the New Year’s festivities of fireworks and air pollution set the stage for increased susceptibility once the vog rolled in for days at a time during January and February. Whether child, adult, asthmatic or not, this winter season has been plagued with infections galore. Now that flu season is upon us, the infections that make us sick are not letting up.
So what’s the solution? Prevention.
While it’s not completely possible to avoid infection unless you live in a bubble, it is possible to support and boost your body’s vitality and natural defenses. To start, eating a clean, organic & plant based diet will go far towards building body vitality. People never get sick because they eat too many vegetables, people get sick because they don’t. Not only are vegetables vitamin & mineral rich, but the benefits of fiber from vegetables will help the good bacteria that live in the microbiome of the gut. These good gut bacteria help your gut immune system, which in turn helps your overall immunity.
High potency, good quality probiotics that have a diversity of strains can also help your immune system, by similarly helping build a healthy and strong microbiome filled with good bugs. Plus, when probiotics support a healthy microbiome, food is digested more efficiently, enhancing vitamin absorption and production.
Another tried & true, popular preventative is Vitamin C. Vitamin C can not only reduce the incidence of catching a cold but may also help speed recovery and moderate cold symptoms. For people living in Hawaii, suffering from vog and other environmental triggers, vitamin C may even be able to mitigate respiratory symptoms aggravated by these air pollutants.
Some of my favorite herbs for cold prevention include astragalus, thyme, rosemary and Echinacea, all of which are easy to find in most health food stores. Ginger and turmeric are similarly helpful by increasing antioxidant function and promoting healthy immune system function.
The list for prevention of illness is long and diverse, varying by region, culture, and season. May this brief list help you weather this season in health and vitality.