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Feed a Cold

by Jeff Cordeiro

Feed a ColdIt looks like cold and flu season is here. Let me take this opportunity to review some basics and introduce one or two remedies you may not know of.

First, the minute you feel a cold or flu-like symptom coming on, take action. We all know the importance of a good nightís sleep, drinking plenty of fluids, eating right and washing our hands. However, thereís no more important time to do all of these than when a bug is threatening.

Itís all about the immune system. The stronger your immune system is, the more it can fight off. So, get to bed early. Make sure the temperature of the bedroom is not too hot or too cold and dress comfortably Ė tossing and turning does not make for a good nightís rest.

When youíre ill, toxins build up. Iím sure youíve felt an ache in your muscles or a soreness in your lymph nodes just before getting sick. Maybe your skin was extra sensitive or your eyes started to burn. These are all warning signs. That tickle in your throat may be a sign that your defenses have begun to do their job. Your bodyís defense systems catch invaders and clumps them up (called agglutination) for easier expulsion. Plenty of clear fluids will help flush your filters (kidneys, liver, nose, etc.) and ease eviction of the intruders.

One of your bodyís first lines of defense is your nose. Every day your body breathes in over 5,000 gallons of air. Did you know that 90% of harmful bacteria enters your body through your nose? One of the main functions of mucus is to trap allergens, pollutants, viruses and bacteria. Mucus contains antiseptic enzymes. As the mucus traps more invaders, it thickens and becomes more difficult to expel, which is why you cough or sneeze. Antihistamines just make mucus that much thicker and more difficult to drain.

Using a Neti Pot several times a day can greatly assist in the elimination of mucus, keeping your first line of defense working as efficiently as possible. When fighting a cold or a flu, it is especially important to use distilled water in the Neti Pot instead of tap water. Your sinus tissues are inflamed enough at this point. The chlorine and the fluorine in tap water will just cause further irritation.

There now seems to be some debate as to whether or not you should blow your nose when youíre sick. The problem is that blowing your nose creates enough pressure to send infected mucus up into your sinuses and/or your ears, causing more problems. Surprisingly, sneezing and coughing does not cause this pressure. So, if you choose to blow your nose (and I do), be gentle, blow both sides at the same time and keep your mouth open. When finished, be sure to wash your face and hands with soap and warm water. These precautions should greatly reduce your chances of spreading the germs to uninfected areas.

I also like to use a drop of Visine in each eye after washing up. Eyes may burn from being too dry or from the virus but Visine seems to do the trick in either case. Iíve found no negative information regarding its use. Visine is also the proper pH for the eyes and, therefore, should not be the ideal pH for the virus.

Another way to assist your body is to keep moving. Donít exert yourself (you need rest) but donít sit in one place all day either. The lymphatic system, key in the delivery of nutrients and removal of toxins, does not have a pump, like the heart. Lymphatic fluids are dispersed by the expansion and contraction of surrounding muscles. Toxins can also build up in muscles, which then knot causing additional problems. Moving will help keep your blood circulating, muscles relaxed, spine in alignment and your bodyís electrical impulses from being short-circuited.

At this critical juncture (fight it off or succumb to the bug), proper nutrition is paramount. Not only is getting the right ammunition into your body vital for defense purposes but making sure you donít eat the wrong things is equally important. Iím not just talking about the obvious, like avoiding alcohol or junk food. Iím talking about not eating foods that your body may also see as an invader, giving it yet one more enemy to fight. This is when Eating Foods for Your Blood Type is especially important. Eating improperly just taxes your immune system that much more and you only have so many soldiers to go around. 

Also, some studies show that eating less may worsen the symptoms of a flu. So, you may want to rethink the ďstarve a feverĒ axiom. After all, a fever is the body's way of showing invaders that they are unwelcome, by kicking your metabolism into overdrive.

Eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as you can. Cranberries and blueberries are two fruits, however, to avoid when sick due to their acidifying effect on the body. Three to five servings a day is suggested for maintaining good health. Normally, a person should get 75% of their calories from fruits and vegetables. In this case, more is better.

Also, most proteins (meats, beans, and dairy) acidify blood pH, which illnesses prefer. The exception is whey protein, which is one of the few proteins that has an alkalizing effect on the body.

You may also desire foods that you donít normally crave. Listen to your body but use common sense. For instance, under no circumstances should you ingest refined carbs. A recent study shows that within two hours of eating just one teaspoon of sugar the effectiveness of a person's immune system is cut in half. Breads, pastas and cereals also have an acidifying effect on the body (see this chart for alkalizing foods).

On the other hand, Iím not normally a soup fan but, when I am not feeling well, thereís nothing I like better. The warmth is soothing and the liquid helps keep mucus from building up. Vegetables and salt are also vital when fighting off a virus but stay away from the noodles.

Green tea is good too. I am normally more of a coffee guy but, when Iím fending off a bug, tea seems to sooth my stomach. Itís also another warm liquid and this one is high in antioxidants.

Speaking of antioxidants, I believe MonaVie is the highest quality, most convenient and best balanced source available today. I normally take two ounces in the morning and two ounces in the evening, which provides my diet with an additional 4100 antioxidants a day (5000-6000 are suggested for good health). However, the minute I feel that tickle in my throat, I add an extra two-ounce shot to my daily routine. This works so well for me that, three out of four times I suspect I might be coming down with something, I wake up the next day feeling great with no signs of a bug. Itís also a very easy way to get the benefits of more fruits into my diet (each ounce of juice is equal to about 3 servings of fresh fruit).

Vitamin C (do not exceed 2000 mg/day), Echinacea (there are no uniform standardized dosages at this time), Ginseng (do not exceed 1000 mg/day, depending on the kind used) and Zinc (do not exceed 50 mg/day) are also good supplements to consider but do your research. Use only high-quality supplements and consult with your physician.

One thing I've never agreed with doctors on is the preventive aspect of a flu shot (and, of course, it won't help if you've already got a bug). First, each flu vaccination only covers a few strains (the one's that healthcare professionals guess will hit in the upcoming flu season - sometimes they guess correctly and sometimes they don't) but, more importantly, vaccinations contain mercury (see how mercury damages the brain) and aluminum - two metals that we want to avoid for good health.

Finally, dental care is extra important when fighting off intruders. The mouth is a perfect breeding ground (dark, warm, and moist with crevices). So, even though you may not feel like it, brush your teeth, floss, and gargle with mouthwash (and pour a little mouthwash over your toothbrush to sterilize it after brushing). Once youíve recovered, replace your toothbrush with a new one. Iím not completely sure of the chances re-infection will occur, due to the antibodies created for each illness, but it couldnít hurt and, besides, how often do you replace your toothbrush anyway?

As always, I hope you found this article thought-provoking and helpful.

 

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