7 Steps to Not Get Sick
Getting sick sucks. Here are the best ways to avoid it.
There's no two ways about it: getting sick? It's decidedly the worst.
Okay, so having the day off to luxuriate in feeling sorry for yourself and watching Netflix kind of rules. Ditto the excuse you now have to impulsively experiment with various health tonics and juices while simultaneously justify reaching for comfort food. But the runny nose, scratchy throat, complete loss of energy and the vague desire to sleep forever can't be offset by all the grilled-cheese-and-tomato-soup combos in the world. And if you're going to play hooky, you might as well be at full health to enjoy it, right? (JK!)
In search of a more definitive way to ward off the common cold and flu this season, we sat down with Nikki Ostrower of NAO Nutrition to talk hand sanitizer, grocery shopping your way to a better immune system and why you should start carrying around almond butter in your purse.
...on the essentials she throws in her purse to keep sickness at bay:
"I always carry Kleenex, Thieves hand-sanitizer and lozenges from Young Living. And an apple with a packet of almond butter."
...on your new excuse to eat and sleep more (we can't argue with that):
"To boost the immune system, start by getting really getting regular with your sleep and meal times. This helps the body to stabilize the metabolic processes and to build up the immune system. If you enter 'starvation mode,' your body’s first defense is compromised due to lack of adequate nutrition—a.k.a. not enough vitamins and nutrients to properly fight off foreign bacteria and viruses. A few easy ways to do this is to have a healthy snack on you at all times, and to schedule your day and week in advance."
...on the foods to reach for to boost your immune system:
"Food-wise, we always think about Vitamin C first, but you also want to include items that are rich in Zinc, Vitamin A and Vitamin D. Foods like dark leafy greens, broccoli, berries, whole eggs (the yolk is the most important part!), mushrooms (shiitake are great!), sweet potato, carrots, grapefruit, almonds, oysters, poultry, red meat and superfoods like acai, cacao. Switch it up every day so you are getting a variety! Using coconut oil and turmeric are also a great addition to an immune support regimen because they are naturally anti-bacterial and fungal. An overall great food is bone broth—traditionally made soup stock. It’s very rich in vitamins and nutrients, and they’re easily bio-available and digestible when they’re in this form. You can either make your own (Google or YouTube it!) or get some from a traditional foods club in your neighborhood."
...on the vitamins to start popping come flu season:
"I always recommend taking Fermented Cod Liver Oil—specifically the Blue Ice blend from Green Pasture. It’s naturally high in Vitamins A and D as well as being fermented. Fermented foods contain friendly bacteria that help our guts break down and absorb nutrients. There’s a lot of research coming out about how our guts are really the house of our immune system—so the stronger we can make our digestive tract, the better our defense against seasonal colds and the flu."
...on the one cold-banishing tonic you're probably not taking:
"I always most highly recommend the Thieves Oil from Young Living Essential Oils. It is a therapeutic-grade essential oil that is a blend of cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus and rosemary—which got its name from the grave robbers during the black plague in Europe. When they were caught and found to be healthy, despite their contact with the bodies of plague victims, it came out that this blend of oils had been their method of staying healthy. Every time I start to feel a little something coming on, I use it right away and the effects are noticeable pretty much immediately."
...on rethinking your hand sanitizer habit:
"I never use hand sanitizer. They not only contain questionable ingredients, but they also effectively weaken our immune system over time. We are meant to be in contact with germs and bacteria, and our body fights them off. It’s like we have this army—the immune system—and it practices with the everyday germs so when an attack comes, it’s totally prepared to take it down. Instead, wash your hands with soap and water regularly, and get on the essential oils train and grab a bottle of Thieves hand sanitizer!"
...on what to do when those germs finally catch up to you:
"The ultimate way to fight off the symptoms is to rest! Rest is one of the most important aspects of keeping healthy. We get so focused on working hard (and maybe playing hard) that when we start to feel a little extra tired—a clue that you’re about to get sick—or a little sniffly, we ignore it and hope for the best. Really when those little clues pop up, the best thing to do is put yourself to bed. Also, make sure you up your water intake if you feel like you’re coming down with something. Water helps the body to flush out toxins and other bad stuff. Adding a slice of lemon or cucumber can also bump this into high gear. For best results, avoid having cold water and stick to room temperature or warm water. It’s less shocking to your system."