1. Get your 8 hours of sleep every night and keep that sleep bank full this season! With sufficient rest, your immune system will stay strong and you will be less susceptible to the common cold. Without sufficient sleep, not only does your immune system get compromised, but your judgment, coordination, memory, and desire for exercise all decrease as well.
2. Use your neti pot every morning to cleanse your nasal passage from airborne germs or pollutants from the environment. The neti pot will help thin out mucus, making it easier to flush out. When the mucus is cleared, the tiny hairs in your nose (called cilia) are able to move more freely and can more effectively remove allergens before they move into the respiratory tract.
3. Add a few drops of nasya oil into your nostrils after you do your neti or alone if you don’t use the neti pot. Nasya oil massaged into your nasal passages helps to clear congestion; protect your nasal passage from cold, dry air; and open the subtle passages or channels in the head for prana to move more freely and to clear your mind! These are just a few of the reasons why I never leave home without my nasya oil. Example of where you can find nasya oil: www.banyanbotanicals.com.
4. Stay hydrated. Drinking warm water is essential for our health and the simple practice of staying hydrated can go a long way in regards to your health. Here are a few of the reasons drinking water is so important: prevents constipation, maintains fluid balance in body, improves skin tone, enhances muscle strength, and fosters the health of the kidneys, which are instrumental in helping your body detoxify.
5. Don’t leave home without your Echinacea/Propolis Throat Spray. As soon as you think you might be catching a cold and your throat feels a bit scratchy, grab your spray and use it religiously for a few days! You might just get lucky and prevent the cold from advancing. This spray is most helpful to use BEFORE you get sick. This stellar combo helps to boost the activity of your immune cells and reduce inflammation. The propolis, a resin-like material gathered from beehives, also contains an anti-viral component.
6. Eat an alkaline diet. According to the Greenopedia website: “Eating an alkaline diet is important because our blood pH level needs to stay between 7.35 and 7.45, which is slightly alkaline. It takes work for our bodies to stay balanced within this small window, and the more acidic our diet, the more we work against our body’s efforts. In turn, we leave ourselves feeling tired, and our immune systems vulnerable to disease.” Check out their printable alkaline food chart at http://greenopedia.com/article/alkaline-food-chart-degree to help you see what foods promote a more alkaline rather than acidic nature in the body.
7. Herbs, herbs, and more herbs. For starters, consider drinking a few cups of ginger tea throughout the day to maintain your agni (gastric juices). Other herbs to potentially add to your wellness repertoire include Triphala to maintain colon health; Chyavanprash, an herbal jam and excellent source of antioxidants; and Ashwaghanda to help combat the effects of stress. In the kitchen, be sure to use generous amounts of ginger, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, clove, and black pepper to your dishes to help stimulate your appetite and decrease digestive disturbances. You can order these and many more herbs at: www.banyanbotanicals.com.
8. Make friends with probiotics and fermented foods. Probiotics are the bacteria that live in the intestines and help maintain the health of your digestive system, which is home to roughly 70% of your immune system. In the digestive tract, you will find roughly 400 types of probiotic bacteria. The largest group of bacteria are called Lactobacillus acidophilus, which happens to be found in fresh yogurt made with live cultures and also in fermented foods and other cultured milk products. Here is a more complete list of probiotic foods you might want to add to your diet this winter: fresh locally made yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, microalgae, miso soup, pickles, tempeh, kimchi, and kombucha tea.