Quantcast

6 Natural Ways to Avoid Getting Sick

Food

Seems like every year around this time you start feeling worn down, a little congested, maybe develop a scratchy throat, and before you know it, you're faced with a full-blown cold. But this year can be different. Arm yourself with these six tips to evade nasty bugs before they knock you out.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

1. Keep Clean, the Right Way

Hand washing is so important to keeping those harmful germs out of your body, but there is a right and a very wrong way to do it. The biggest bad-news culprit when it comes to washing your hands? Antibacterial soaps. Triclosan, the antimicrobial chemical, is a hormone disruptor; it damages your heart, and creates antibacterial-resistant superbugs. And it's totally pointless. The Food and Drug Administration and the American Medical Association have found that antibacterial soaps are no better than using regular soap.

2. Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer

Can't find a sink? Hand sanitizer is the next best thing. Just make sure you're not slathering on more triclosan. Instead, try this natural recipe from Renee Loux, author of Easy Green Living, for a clean hands spritz.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon plain aloe vera or lemon witch hazel

1/8 teaspoon tea tree oil

24 drops essential oils of lavender, lemon, cinnamon, peppermint, and/or thyme (use two or more varieties for good action and a balanced aroma, and also because these oils are potent)

4 drops grapefruit seed extract

Directions:

1. Mix all the ingredients in a 1-ounce glass spray bottle.

2. Shake well before using.

3. Spray two or three times on grimy paws and rub them together.

3. Bundle Up Strategically

Staying warm doesn't just help your immune system focus on the real threat; it can also help protect you from germs in the environment. Avoid warm winter clothing with claims of being "antibacterial," "germ-fighting" or "odor-free." These are often catchall terms for chemical- or nanoparticle-based ingredients. For a safe, warm, naturally antimicrobial material, look for hats and winter gear made of wool.

4. Say "Ohm" Instead of "Ah"

"Stress really hammers the immune system," says Danny Penman, PhD, author of Mindfulness. He explains that the human body evolved to suppress the immune system during times of great stress, such as getting chased by a tiger. "Under acute stress, the body diverts all its resources to escaping," he says. "The body doesn't waste time when we're being hunted with maintenance. The problem is, under long-term stress, the body has the same reaction, so it can't repair itself the way it's supposed to." And, while most of us aren't getting chased by tigers, we do face sustained stress from sources like jobs or financial worry.

The good news is meditation is the perfect solution to immunity-killing stress. Research has shown that participating in meditation programs decreases biomarkers associated with disease and increases activity of the immune system's protective "killer cells."

5. Trust Your Gut

Your gut bacteria are also proving to be insanely important for a strong immunity. In fact, research has shown that probiotic foods can help prevent colds in kids (a demographic that's especially prone to getting sick since young ones tend to constantly put things in their mouths).

6. Eat Your Breakfast

Not only is breakfast a chance to load up on nutrient-rich foods, such as eggs, but it also may keep you healthy. Research from Cardiff University found that eating breakfast was significantly related to lower rates of illness. This is a correlational study, so it's possible that those who ate breakfast also generally took better care of themselves, but we'll never balk at a good reason to eat some breakfast greens.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Kale is King: 5 Reasons You Should Eat It

7 Steps to Going Gluten-Free

5 Reasons Honey is Healthy

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Dan Nosowitz

It's no secret that the past few years have been disastrous for the American farming industry.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD

Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil and coconut oil are fats that have risen in popularity alongside the ketogenic, or keto, diet.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Bijal Trivedi

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on Nov. 13 that describes a list of microorganisms that have become resistant to antibiotics and pose a serious threat to public health. Each year these so-called superbugs cause more than 2.8 million infections in the U.S. and kill more than 35,000 people.

Read More Show Less
Rool Paap / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Inflammation can be good or bad depending on the situation.

Read More Show Less

By Joe Vukovich

Under the guise of responding to consumer complaints that today's energy- and water-efficient dishwashers take too long, the Department of Energy has proposed creating a new class of dishwashers that wouldn't be subject to any water or energy efficiency standards at all. The move would not only undermine three decades of progress for consumers and the environment, it is based on serious distortions of fact regarding today's dishwashers.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

By Emily Moran

If you have oak trees in your neighborhood, perhaps you've noticed that some years the ground is carpeted with their acorns, and some years there are hardly any. Biologists call this pattern, in which all the oak trees for miles around make either lots of acorns or almost none, "masting."

Read More Show Less

By Catherine Davidson

Tashi Yudon peeks out from behind a net curtain at the rooftops below and lets out a sigh, her breath frosting on the windowpane in front of her.

Some 700 kilometers away in the capital city Delhi, temperatures have yet to dip below 25 degrees Celsius, but in Spiti there is already an atmosphere of impatient expectation as winter settles over the valley.

Read More Show Less

The Dog Aging Project at the University of Washington is looking to recruit 10,000 dogs to study for the next 10 years to see if they can improve the life expectancy of man's best friend and their quality of life, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less