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

Matt Cardy / Stringer / Getty Images

The Guardian is changing the way it writes about environmental issues.

Read More Show Less
Blueberry yogurt bark. SEE D JAN / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD

Having nutritious snacks to eat during the workday can help you stay energized and productive.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A 2017 flood in Elk Grove, California. Florence Low / California Department of Water Resources

By Tara Lohan

It's been the wettest 12 months on record in the continental United States. Parts of the High Plains and Midwest are still reeling from deadly, destructive and expensive spring floods — some of which have lasted for three months.

Mounting bills from natural disasters like these have prompted renewed calls to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by Federal Emergency Management Agency and is now $20 billion in debt.

Read More Show Less
Jennifer A. Smith / Moment / Getty Images

By Brenda Ekwurzel

When temperatures hit the 80s Fahrenheit in May above latitude 40, sun-seekers hit the parks, lakes, and beaches, and thoughts turn to summer. By contrast, when temperatures lurk in the drizzly 40s and 50s well into flower season, northerners get impatient for summer. But when those 80-degree temperatures visit latitude 64 in Russia, as they just did, and when sleet disrupts Mother's Day weekend in May in Massachusetts, as it just did, thoughts turn to: what is going on here?

Read More Show Less
Shrimp fishing along the coast of Nayarit, Mexico. Tomas Castelazo / Wikimedia, CC BY-SA

By Paula Ezcurra and Octavio Aburto

Thousands of hydroelectric dams are under construction around the world, mainly in developing countries. These enormous structures are one of the world's largest sources of renewable energy, but they also cause environmental problems.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Activists in North Dakota confront pipeline construction activities. A Texas bill would impose steep penalties for such protests. Speak Freely / ACLU

By Eoin Higgins

A bill making its way through the Texas legislature would make protesting pipelines a third-degree felony, the same as attempted murder.

Read More Show Less
An Australian flag flutters in the wind in a dry drought-ridden landscape. Virginia Star / Moment / Getty Images

Australia re-elected its conservative governing Liberal-National coalition Saturday, despite the fact that it has refused to cut down significantly on greenhouse gas emissions or coal during its time in power, The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
Tree lined street, UK. Richard Newstead / Moment / Getty Images

The UK government will fund the planting of more than 130,000 trees in English towns and cities in the next two years as part of its efforts to fight climate change, The Guardian reported Sunday.

Read More Show Less