Fight and Win the Cold and Flu War
For many people, the coming of winter months brings the possibility of becoming sick, mainly from colds and the flu. Millions of Americans suffer from at least one bout of the flu or cold each year, resulting in millions of hours of lost work time, millions of dollars spent on remedy products, and a lot of just plain misery. Those who contract the flu or cold usually end up going to the medicine cabinet to seek out the seemingly endless number of syrups, lozenges, tablets and pills that are designed not to eradicate the infection, but only to suppress its various symptoms. To date, there has been no cure found for the various strains of viruses that cause colds and the flu.
Despite conventional medicine's attempt to suppress symptoms of the flu and cold, most products remain relatively ineffective and usually bring with them a host of undesired side effects. There are, however, natural therapies and substances that not only help prevent viral infection, but also shorten the duration and severity of infections already started. Why do we get sick? The runny nose, hacking cough, aching muscles are all indications that the body is trying to rid itself of a foreign agent, usually consisting of a large body viruses or bacteria. Generally, our immune system deals effectively with these unwanted invaders, literally killing and disposing of them. There are a number of things we can do to help our immune system prevent the onset of infection.
Prevention: The Best Medicine
But what happens when our immune system fails? The following are natural products that have been shown to effectively prevent and combat the cold and flu.
- Wash hands often. This is a simple yet extremely effective way to avoid the flu and cold, since most viruses are spread by self-inoculation, the touching of a contaminated object, then touching your own mouth, nose, etc.
- Eat healthful foods. Eating right will not only help prevent viral infection, but also promote overall health. The function of our body depends principally on what we ingest. Its ability to fight infection is directly affected by diet. Make sure to incorporate whole foods: fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, etc. These are the highest in phytonutrients, the substances our body uses to complete its myriad of functions.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Because the body is nearly 75 percent water, and because liquids are necessary for many body functions, a viral infection can be lessened by optimal fluid levels. Schedule breaks throughout the day to consume water.
- Exercise. Even the most simple physical activity helps the body condition itself and better prepare itself from unwanted invaders. Studies show the immune system is directly aided by exercise because of the increased release of virus-killing cells.
- Get plenty of rest. Quality sleep is a key in preventing the onset of any kind of infection. It also allows the body to relieve most forms of stress.
Natural Cold/Flu Fighters
- Echinacea. This herb is one of the most well-known and respected herbal virus fighters. Numerous studies show that it enhances the body's immune function in a number of ways, and that it has direct antiviral properties, fighting the viruses that cause the cold, flu, herpes and vesicular stomatitis.
Many of these studies have tested patients suffering from cold/flu infections and the results have been extremely impressive: in general, echinacea can shorten the duration of an infection, lessen its severity, or both.
- Vitamin C. Another well-known nutrient for battling the cold and flu, vitamin C possesses powerful antiviral and immunostimulatory capabilities.
There is a large body of research indicating that vitamin C can enhance white blood cell production, increase interferon (a group of proteins released by white blood cells that combat viruses), increase antibody responses, promote secretion of thymic hormones, and repair connective tissue.
One great thing about vitamin C is that it is found abundantl
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