This past Sunday we all had the bittersweet task of setting our clocks back an hour, gaining that precious hour of sleep but seeing the sunset oh so low early in the evening.

With that signals the beginning of the sickness season, sniffles will creep up on us and next thing you know, your sinuses are pounding, you’ve got that dreaded scratchy throat, and you’re grabbing the nearest tissue box.

The absolute best time to ramp up your immune boosting efforts are when you notice the FIRST signs of a cold. For example: scratchy throat, excessive tiredness, ringing in the ears, sniffles, sneezes, post nasal drip.

Here I would like to share with you things I like to do in order to keep me functioning as highly as possible through the winter months. Please keep in mind as you read this, that I am not a nutritionist, nor am I telling you that you must do everything I have listed here in order to stay healthy. But perhaps if you read a few things that strike your fancy, you may pick up a few new habits of which I already utilize and stay healthier than you ever have during this winter!

The following are things I like to do and keep in mind to have my immune system running at 100%.

  • First thing in the morning, put freshly squeezed lemon juice in about 10oz of water (half lemon or use whole if you are over 150lbs). Do this before you brush your teeth so you don’t have a yucky taste, plus it gets rid of any residual acid on your enamel.
    • This helps to activate your gall bladder, which secretes bile. It helps your liver and stomach digest well.
    • Lemon is the most basic, natural immune booster you can get!
  • Avoid excessive sugar. This includes sugar in drinks and processed foods (White flour, starchy foods, white pastas and bread, white rice, etc).
    • Sugar compromises your immune system and feeds viruses/bacteria.
  • Avoid excess dairy if you are sick.
    • Dairy increases mucous production.
  • If you do get sick, eliminate all sugars. This includes fruits, they possess naturally occurring sugars. (Yes, I’m saying OJ has too much sugar!)
  • Consume dark green vegetables, raw or steamed are the healthiest for you. Examples:
    • Broccoli
    • Spinach
    • Kale
    • Arugula
    • Romaine lettuce
    • Note: Iceberg lettuce has NO nutritional value.
  • My favorite way to consume dark green veggies is by using a centrifuge juicer! It is my absolute go-to for sickness prevention! Check out my Instagram page for juicing recipes!
  • Useful vitamins and herbs for prevention & to use if you do get sick:
    • Vitamin C (1,000mg/day. I will take 2,000 if I am really feeling unwell)
    • Vitamin D (2,000 IUs per day should be sufficient, but having your blood drawn and analyzed is the best way to find out what levels you may need.)
    • Ginger (peel and boil in water to make tea)
    • Turmeric supplement (Turmeric root also; peel and boil in water with ginger to make tea)
    • Zinc
    • Echinacea (High quality liquid form is best, but pills work too)
      • You must use this on a week-on and week-off basis or it will lose its potency.
      • 7 days take it, 7 days do not take it, repeat.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar Tea
    • Purchase the vinegar with the “mother”.
    • Make hot water but not boiling, otherwise it will kill the beneficial bacteria.
      • Recipe:
        • Two tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
        • One tablespoon RAW honey
        • Hot water
        • If you’re feeling brave, squeeze a wedge of lemon. This is not a pleasant tea in my opinion, I only drink this when I’m really feeling like I am coming down with something! It works like no other, though. This has to do with the imbalance of your body’s alkalinity when becoming sick. The vinegar restores it to proper balances and creates an environment hostile to germs.
  • For those interested in more potent antivirals, look into:
    • Elderberry extract
    • Monolaurin
    • Oregano oil
  •  Also…
    • Probiotics
      • Best if it is a brand that needs to be refrigerated.
  • Get plenty of sleep!
    • This is when your body recovers, repairs, and fights off sickness. Take a nap if you need to. Just rest your body when it is feeling overwhelmed. This includes putting your phone down. I know, it’s hard. But necessary.
  • Avoid alcohol if you do get sick.
    • Not only does alcohol have excessive sugar, it taxes your system and hinders your body’s repair process.

I am not recommending you go out and buy all the supplements and vitamins I have suggested. You shouldn’t take everything at once listed above, usually a combination of two or three work well. The best thing is to consult a nutritionist/doctor to figure out the best options for your own system.

I hope these tips help you understand how your body works better. As always, questions are welcomed and encouraged for better understanding. Be well.