Natural Ways to Win the Cold War this Winter
By Victoria Webster, Lifestyle writer. As featured on the Carousel website.
You begin to feel that tickle at the back of your throat, your nose starts to run and you get that all too familiar muscle ache. You know you have the flu. Great.
There is nothing worse.
We know that antibiotics are not a good idea for a viral infection. However, it is so easy to reach for pain killers or cold and flu medication to numb the symptoms and get on with our day.
They say that nature has the best medicine and when it comes to the flu, nature provides all the soothing pain relief you could want, without any of the drawbacks of pharmaceuticals.
One of the best natural remedies, believes Stephen Eddey, a naturopath and nutritional consultant from Australis Natural Health College, is olive leaf extract.
This medicinal herb has been making waves in the holistic health community as an incredible source of antioxidants and brilliant antidote for flu symptoms.
“While other holistic remedies such as manuka honey, propolis, ginger and lemon can also help improve your wellness, olive leaf extract has a higher antioxidant power than many,” says Stephen.
“A study conducted by Australia’s Southern Cross University and published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine determined that it is the strongest, free-radical scavenging antioxidant of a whopping 55 medicinal herbs.
“But rather than take a single supplement alone, by consuming a diet rich in a combination of healthy ingredients, including with olive leaf extract, you’re giving your body its best chance to prevent illness.“
When looking for a brand of extract to try, Stephen advises looking for one which contains fresh-picked leaves. This ensures the highest potency of antioxidants.
These help boost our immune systems at a time of the year we often need it most.
“Many people assume that we’re more prone to colds and flu in winter because of the chilly weather – however that’s just not true,” says Stephen.
“The reason we tend to fall ill more frequently when the temperature drops is because, to stay warm, we’re so often shut inside with minimal ventilation, leaving us more exposed to our family, co-workers’ and acquaintances’ germs.”
Although he’s quick to stress there is still no cure for a cold or flu, he believes you can help ward the bugs off, or speed up their elimination, the natural way.
Here are his five best tips:
1. Load up on plenty of leafy greens
Greens are loaded with phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals – a fantastic concoction for ensuring good health. Try including them with every meal – like eating spinach with breakfast, or whipping up a smoothie with kale, while cutting down on your intake of processed carbs.
Research has shown that people who work out catch fewer colds and flus, so don’t skip those workouts just because it’s chilly.
3. Drink water
Water flushes out toxins, preventing waste products from building up in your body and compromising your immune system.
4. Eat fermented foods
Good health starts in the gut, with studies showing that stomach bacteria can not only impact your immune system, but also be the reason why some people have trouble losing, and maintaining, a healthy weight. So reduce bacterial imbalances with a blend of probiotics, found in leafy greens, and probiotic-rich fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso and kombucha.
Give yourself the best chance of beating illness by ensuring you’re getting optimum levels of vitamins and minerals, such as zinc, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin C, which are found in olive leaf extract. Speak to your doctor to determine which supplements might be beneficial, adds Stephen.