Being the mother of two small children ages 2 and 4, I found myself getting sick quite frequently. I was appalled at how often we were all passing around colds until I researched and found that on average, kids get 12-20 colds PER YEAR! Ugh. So getting sick is, for the time being, inevitable and unavoidable.
However, I have been doing some things to keep from getting completely knocked on my butt each time one of the kids get sick. And I have actually noticed that I have escaped some illnesses that have affected my kids and if I do get sick my symptoms are noticeably more tolerable and I get better faster. Here are my tips for getting better faster and maintaining a healthy immune system:
1) Sinus Rinse: I use a sinus rinse everyday regardless if I am sick or not. If I am sick, then I do it once in the morning and once at night before bed. Not only does it help keep my nasal passages clear but it helps wash out bacteria and allergens giving you a better chance of avoiding sickness and getting over an illness faster.
2) Elderberry tea: I make myself a cup of elderberry tea at least once per day. If I’m fighting a bug then I try and drink a cup every two hours or so. Elderberries have an exceptionally high amount of antioxidants, more than Vitamin C, and other immune boosting attributes. I buy dried elderberries in a 1# bulk package from Vitacost. Just pour boiling water over a teaspoon and steep for about 5 minutes. I also use it to make Wellness Mama’s Elderberry Syrup that I give to myself and my family when we’ve got a cold. It’s much cheaper to make than to buy.
3) Apple cider vinegar: I also drink a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar every morning. I know, it sounds terrible but it’s actually not that bad mixed with a cup of ice cold water. You’ll want to make sure that you actually mix it with water since taking a straight shot of acetic acid can irritate the esophagus and be hard on your teeth enamel. There are loads of articles that talk about the many benefits of apple cider vinegar but I mostly consume it to help with heartburn and help my liver in flushing out toxins.
Elderberries (Sambucus) have been a folk remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, hence the medicinal benefits of elderberries are being investigated and rediscovered. Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not. (Source)
4) Dry Brushing: Your skin is your largest organ yet it’s generally a very neglected part of our body. Our skin is our first line of defense in preventing illness and disease so it’s a great idea to give it as much TLC as possible. Dry brushing is not only great for exfoliating the skin but it also aids the body it getting rid of toxins by stimulating the lymphatic system. Other benefits include increasing circulation, reducing cellulite, and improving digestive and kidney health. I do this every morning before I get in the shower. Use a stiff bristled body brush and brush in an upward or circular motion towards your heart. Dry brushing helps with circulation as well as ridding your body of toxins since you are brushing across the hundreds of lymph nodes throughout your body.
5) Fermented Cod Liver Oil: I take about a 1/2 teaspoon of Green Pasture’s Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil daily. I really like the ‘Cinnamon Tingle’ flavor and it doesn’t taste ‘fishy’ at all. If I am sick then I will take up to 10mL a day which is about 2 teaspoons to help me get better faster. Not all fish oil is created equal and Diane Sanfilippo has an excellent article, “FAQs: All about fermented cod liver oil (and why I don’t take fish oil)” explaining the differences between a regular fish oil supplement and cod liver oil.
6) Eating a clean and processed food free diet and staying hydrated: This is probably the most important thing you can do for your health and immunity. By eating a clean and processed food free diet you are giving your body the necessary and best tools to fight off illness. If it comes in a box it’s probably not that great for you. Don’t be fooled by ‘low calorie’ and ‘low fat’ labels. These labels often mean the product has an exorbitant amount of sugar in it. Drinking enough water throughout the day makes for better digestion, clearer skin, and more energy among many MANY other benefits.
What do you do to stay healthy?