What’s better Antioxidant Foods or Supplements?

We live in a short-cut society. We want things big, and awesome, and we want them NOW. Unfortunately, this desire for instant gratification can be backwards or even harmful when it comes to our health.

There are supplements on the market for just about everything today; joint health, eye sight, heart health, and intestinal support. But do we really know how these supplements stack up against whole-food nutrient sources?

Getting your nutrients in supplement form is tempting because it’s so convenient, especially multivitamins (more on them here) but don’t let your busy lifestyle cheat you out of getting your nutrients from whole foods.

Supplements have their place. As I’m writing this there is a bottle of GABA on my desk (GABA is a neurotransmitter known to produce a calming effect in the body). The trouble with supplements comes when we think they can replace whole foods.

In today’s post we’re looking at antioxidant and how whole food sources stack up against supplements. I give you simple ways to get more antioxidants in your diet, especially if you’re known to skip meals, because you need them.

Antioxidants are just that: they fight (anti) oxidation.

The chemical process of oxidation is like rusting metal. A molecule loses electrons and creates the “free radicals.”  Oxidation is also the reason why apples, bananas, and avocados go brown when the skin is broken, and they're exposed to air - they're getting oxidized.

Another way of thinking of oxidation is that it’s a form of “stress” inside your body.

Free radicals in the body cause inflammation and can contribute to diseases like cancers, diabetes, and heart disease (to name a few). So, the antidote to oxidation is the antioxidant. Vitamins like vitamins A, C, and E are examples of antioxidants. So are other compounds in foods like carotenoids and phenols. These compounds sacrifice their electrons to stop the oxidation process; this why squirting some lemon juice on your sliced apples, bananas and avocados slows down the browning process.

But don’t think that all oxidation in the body is bad. It’s not. Your body naturally oxidizes compounds all the time when it’s doing healthy things like metabolizing nutrients or exercising.

As with many things in life and health, the key is maintaining a good balance. In this case, as the balance between oxidation and anti-oxidation.

We can throw off that balance with exposure to too much alcohol, smoking, or environmental pollutants. Even over-exercising or too much sun exposure can create too much oxidation.

The best sources of antioxidants to combat this effect are nutritious whole foods, like colourful fresh produce, e.g., blueberries, purple cabbage, etc. In fact, the more colourful and darker the plant is, the higher levels of antioxidants it usually has. Chemicals that give the plants their deep colours are often the antioxidants themselves.

Antioxidants in food

Here’s a list of common antioxidants and the foods they’re found in:

  • Vitamin A - Found in liver, dark leafy greens (e.g., kale), orange fruits and veggies (e.g., mangoes, carrots & squashes)
  • Vitamin C - Found in bell peppers, citrus, berries, and leafy greens
  • Vitamin E - Found in leafy greens, nuts (e.g., walnuts), and seeds (e.g., sunflowers)
  • Carotenoids (e.g., beta-carotene, lycopene, etc.) - Found in tomatoes, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, and salmon
  • Phenols - Found in green tea, black tea, coffee, cocoa, red wine, and berries

A lot of these foods are quick and easy to eat, How can you add more green tea to your day? Think beyond your main nutrients (protein, fat and carbs) to the micronutrients that you’re getting from whole foods every day. You could add a handful of nuts as a snack, or eat a salad with coloured vegetables for lunch to get more antioxidants into your day.

Blueberries are probably one of the most studied antioxidant foods. They contain a range of phytochemical (i.e., plant chemical) compounds and are very high in anthocyanins (the blue-coloured compound).

The antioxidant capacity can be measured in a laboratory; this is called the "oxygen radical absorption capacity," or "ORAC." And blueberries have one of the highest ORAC levels.

Hey all you coffee lovers: Some studies estimate that the highest source of antioxidants in the average American is not from berries, it's from coffee! This doesn’t mean that coffee is the highest food offering antioxidants, just the highest one consumed. Can you imagine how much healthier you would be if you added a few more servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables to your day?

Antioxidant Foods vs. Supplements

While antioxidant supplements have been tested, their results haven’t been as good as many hoped. Compared with eating a nutrient-dense antioxidant-rich colourful array of plants, antioxidants supplements have fallen short.

Many studies of antioxidant supplements haven’t shown any benefit against heart disease, cancer, or other diseases. And these are diseases that are known to be reduced in people who eat a lot of foods that are naturally full of antioxidants.

More isn’t always better. In fact, too much of any individual antioxidant, like when overdoing supplements, can be harmful. Too much vitamin A is linked to increased risk of hip fractures and prostate cancer. Too much beta-carotene increases the risk of lung cancer in smokers. Too much vitamin E increases the risk of prostate cancer, lung infections, heart failure, and even death.

One of the reasons why we think that antioxidant foods work so much better than antioxidant supplements is because of synergy. The concept of synergy means that by taking one component out of healthful food (i.e., the antioxidant), it loses the effect it has when combined with all the other healthy components it came with from nature.

This is the difference between eating a whole orange and taking a vitamin C supplement. The orange is going to have more than just vitamin C, and many of those compounds will work together for overall health better than just isolating one and having higher-than-normal doses of it.

Conclusion

There are antioxidant vitamins (A, C & E) and other antioxidants like carotenoids and polyphenols. They're highest in colourful fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some meats, tea, coffee, and cocoa.

You can’t replace a diet full of nutrient-dense antioxidant-rich whole foods with supplements. So stick with the foods.

Which antioxidant-rich foods and drinks are your favourites? Let me know in the comments below.

Recipe (Antioxidant-rich): Blueberry Smoothie

Serves 2

1 handful baby spinach leaves
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 banana
1 Tbsp. almond butter
1 Tbsp. flax seeds
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or coconut water)
1 dash cinnamon

Directions

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Use any greens you have on hand in place of the spinach.

References:

https://www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/antioxidants

https://www.precisionnutrition.com/soreness-and-blueberries

https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-coffee

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/supplements-a-scorecard

https://examine.com/nutrition/4-science-based-superfoods-you-should-be-eating/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/family-health-guide/swan-song-for-antioxidant-supplements-the

Which Foods Can Help With High Blood Pressure?

Guess how many people have high blood pressure?

A billion!

It’s said to be the “#1 risk factor for death and disability in the world.”

If you have high blood pressure, it's best that you are monitored by your healthcare professional. And if you're on medication for high blood pressure never change that without speaking with a medical professional.

In this post I’ll share what exactly blood pressure is, and which foods and lifestyle factors can help with it.

What is high blood pressure?

It’s something your doctor commonly checks. You can even do it yourself in many pharmacies, or purchase at-home blood pressure monitors. There is an inflatable tube placed around your arm that gets blown up and tight. It measures how hard your blood is pushing against the walls of your blood vessels.

If your vessels are stiff, the pressure increases. It's important to get your blood pressure checked regularly because for many people there are no symptoms as it slowly creeps higher and higher.

This measurement is important because elevated high blood pressure for too long can cause serious damage. In extreme cases, it can result in blindness, kidney damage, stroke, or even a heart attack.

Here are a few of the foods and drinks that can help with blood pressure.

Eat more plants - This is key

If there is one thing you can to eat to help with lowering blood pressure, it’s plants.

Plants increase your intake of many critical nutrients. Especially vitamins C, E, and folate; and minerals like magnesium, potassium, and sulfur. Not to mention the all-around health booster known as fibre. All of these nutrients are needed for optimal heart and blood health.

Some plants to eat more of include leafy greens (kale in particular), legumes, nuts/seeds, broccoli, cauliflower, and tomatoes.

Two plants I want to highlight in particular are flaxseeds and beets. A few tablespoons of ground flaxseeds a day is one of the best foods to help with high blood pressure. Beets contain a blood pressure lowering substance called nitrate. Beet juice has been shown to reduce blood pressure within hours of drinking it.

Eat fewer processed foods

We've all heard the advice to reduce sodium intake for high blood pressure. Not surprisingly, most of the sodium in our diet is from the salt added to processed foods. It's not from the dash or two on your homemade cooked-from-scratch dinner. Reducing processed food intake not only reduces sodium and sugar intake but also increases intake of more nutrient-dense less processed foods. Win-win.

Ditch the fast-food, takeout, restaurant meals, and convenience snacks. Replace them with some of the plants I mentioned above.

Ditch the caffeine… particularly if you’re sensitive to it

Coffee has been shown to temporarily increase blood pressure. Its effects can last for up to three hours after drinking it. It may not be so bad if you're not sensitive to it, but caffeine affects some people more than others. Some caffeine sensitivity symptoms include shakiness, worry, irregular heartbeat, or difficulty sleeping.

If you find caffeine affects you, then try switching to decaf or eliminating it altogether.

Tip: Since caffeine can affect your blood sugar, it’s wise not to drink coffee or have other sources of caffeine right before your doctor’s appointment or blood pressure test.

Drink hibiscus tea

This is not hype. There is science behind the blood pressure lowering effects of hibiscus tea.

Several clinical studies have shown that it works. In one study, people drank two cups of strong hibiscus tea every morning. Those two cups were made using a total of five tea bags. This lowered the subjects' blood pressure as much as a blood pressure medication.

Lifestyle

In addition to food, know that a number of lifestyle factors can be helpful too.

  • First of all, if you smoke, make a plan to quit.
  • If you drink alcohol, stay within the recommended daily limits.
  • If you're seriously stressed, try yoga, deep breathing, walking in nature, or any other activity that calms you and reduces your stress.
  • If you don’t exercise, start small. Also try not to overdo exercise if you already have high blood pressure.

Conclusion

High blood pressure can be a silent, and all-too-common issue.  Elevated blood pressure puts you at risk for serious diseases.

If you have elevated blood pressure, you should be regularly monitored by your healthcare professional, and never change your medications without his/her input.

Some of the key food and lifestyle upgrade tips that can help with blood pressure are:

  • Eat more plants, particularly ground flaxseeds and beets
  • Eat fewer processed foods
  • Cut out caffeine if you're sensitive to it
  • Drink hibiscus tea
  • Quit smoking
  • Moderate your alcohol consumption
  • Reduce stress
  • Exercise wisely

Which of these are you going to try first? Let me know in the comments.

Recipe (Blood pressure balancing): Smoothie Bowl

Serves 1

1 cup kale
½ cup berries (your favourite kind)
½ cup beets, raw, diced
½ banana
2 Tbsp. flaxseeds, ground
1 dash cinnamon
½ cup almond milk, unsweetened

Instructions

Add all ingredients to blender in order listed. Blend until smooth.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Feel free to top with a few berries or a sprinkle of cinnamon.

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-high-blood-pressure

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/natural-treatments-for-common-medical-problems#Highbloodpressure

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-to-prevent-high-blood-pressure-with-diet/

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-to-treat-high-blood-pressure-with-diet/

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/hibiscus-tea-vs-plant-based-diets-for-hypertension/

http://www.healthline.com/health/foods-good-for-high-blood-pressure#overview1

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/18-foods-to-lower-blood-pressure/

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/does-coffee-raise-blood-pressure/

Your Thyroid: Foods and Nutrients to Help Keep it Healthy

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that releases hormones. Thyroid hormones help your body regulate a few things - not a big deal - just the metabolism of ALL cells. And this is critical for maintaining a healthy body weight and having the energy to live your life.

(Yes, your thyroid IS a big deal!)

It’s estimated that at least 3.7% of US adults have an underactive thyroid.

When you don’t have enough thyroid hormone, it’s called hypothyroidism. This can result in the slowing down of your metabolism and cause difficulty losing weight; and even weight gain. Some of the other symptoms can include fatigue, forgetfulness, dry hair and skin, constipation, muscle cramping, and feeling cold.

An underactive thyroid can be diagnosed from a blood test from your health professional.

How does the thyroid become underactive?

There are many reasons why your thyroid may become underactive. The most common is autoimmunity, where the immune cells attack other cells in the body. In this case, the cells of the thyroid gland.

It can also be the result of low levels of iodine, which is an essential mineral. Combining that with high levels of goitrogens (food substances that inhibit iodine from getting into thyroid) and you can be at risk for an iodine deficiency.

Here’s a tip: Iodine-deficiency is not very common in the developed world, so supplements are likely not necessary, and may can exacerbate thyroid issues. Check with your healthcare professional before taking supplements, and always read the label.

Foods and nutrients for your thyroid

Enough iodine from food - Iodine is naturally found in fish and seafood. Other foods that contain iodine are navy beans, potatoes, and eggs. Sometimes levels of natural iodine depend on the amount of iodine in the soil. Iodine is also added (i.e., fortified) to some foods.

Tip: During pregnancy and breastfeeding iodine requirements increase by up to 60%, so pay attention to eat enough iodine-containing foods.

Enough selenium from food - Some people recommend selenium (another essential mineral) to support the thyroid. A recent review of several clinical studies showed that there is not enough evidence to recommend selenium supplements to people with certain thyroid conditions. Because of this, it’s best to stick with selenium-rich foods like Brazil nuts, mushrooms, meat, and fish.

Reduce goitrogens - Goitrogens are plant-estrogens that prevent the iodine in your blood from getting into your thyroid where it's needed to make thyroid hormones. Goitrogens themselves are not that powerful, unless they're eaten excessively, or are combined with a diet already low in iodine. They are found in "cruciferous" foods such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale. Goitrogens can be deactivated by cooking the foods they're found in. Because these cruciferous vegetables are very nutritious, you may choose to cook them instead of eliminating them altogether.

Enough protein - One of the common symptoms of thyroid issues is the inability to lose weight. If this is the case, one thing you can eat more of is protein. Protein has a "thermogenic effect" because your body has to spend energy metabolizing protein; this means that calorie-for-calorie, carbs will promote weight gain more than protein will.

Gluten-free - There is evidence of a link between underactive thyroid and gluten sensitivity. There may be a "cross-reactivity" where the immune cells that are sensitized to gluten can attack the thyroid cells by mistake; this is essentially how autoimmunity works and can affect more than just your thyroid. You might request getting tested for celiac disease if you are experiencing thyroid issues.

Lifestyle upgrade - Weight gain and difficulty losing weight are very common when it comes to thyroid issues. In this case, it’s important to get enough regular exercise, enough quality sleep, and reduce stress.

Conclusion

If you have concerns about your thyroid, ask to be tested. That along with testing for celiac disease can help to confirm your best plan to move forward in good health.

Foods to support your thyroid include iodine- and selenium-containing foods, cooked cruciferous foods, and naturally gluten-free foods. Don't forget to eat enough protein to help boost your metabolism. Also, consider reducing the amount of raw cruciferous foods you eat.

Supplementing with iodine or selenium should be done with a health professional’s advice.

And regular exercise, quality sleep, and stress-reduction are all part of the holistic approach to supporting your thyroid.

Do you or someone you know have concerns about your thyroid? What diet and lifestyle factors have you gotten the most benefit from? Let me know in the comments.

Recipe (thyroid-supporting): Shrimp and Veggie Stir-Fry

Serves 4

2 Tbsp. coconut oil (or ghee)
1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts, halved
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1/4 tsp  salt
½ pound shrimp, fresh or defrosted

Sauce:

1 tsp honey
2 Tbsp. coconut aminos or tamari (gluten-free soy sauce alternative)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 dashes cayenne pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat wok or large skillet with coconut oil.
  2. Add Brussels sprouts and fry until they're golden (4-5 minutes).
  3. In a bowl, make the sauce by combining the honey, aminos/tamari, garlic, and cayenne, if using.
  4. Add mushrooms and salt and fry for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add shrimp and fry until they're cooked and turn pink.
  6. Add sauce to skillet. Toss and cook until heated through.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Serve on a bed of cooked rice or quinoa.

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-thyroid

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/the-best-diet-for-an-underactive-thyroid/

http://www.who.int/elena/titles/iodine_pregnancy/en/

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/meal-plan-for-hypothyroidism-and-weight-loss/

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/meal-plan-for-hypothyroidism-and-weight-loss-week-2/

What to Eat for Healthy Skin

There are so many things that can go wrong with your skin: dryness, redness, blemishes, etc.

Healthy skin is a reflection of internal health (and has a lot to do with gut health and hormonal balance). There are many creams and cosmetics to put on top of your skin. But, there are also lots of things you can do to nurture and nourish your skin to better health from the inside.

That’s where food comes in.

Your skin needs many nutrients: water, essential fats, vitamins, and amino acids. Here are five foods (and drinks and lifestyle tips) I highly recommend if your goal is healthier-looking skin. As a bonus, I have included a short list of some key foods to consider avoiding.

Let’s dive in.

Skin Food #1 - Water

No doubt hydration is key for healthy-looking skin! Water and other hydrating fluids are great to help your skin stay moist and supple.

And for a bit of an extra anti-inflammatory hydrating boost, try boosting your water with anti-inflammatory green tea. Cold or hot green tea will work, though skip adding in any sugar.

Skin Food #2 - Fish

Fish contains many nutrients important for skin health - omega-3s, and vitamins A and D to name a few.

Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory to help cool the flames of inflammation. Vitamin A can help with blemishes and dryness, while vitamin D helps with skin tone.

Skin Food #3 - Bell peppers, citrus, and broccoli

Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in our body. It’s also known to help our skin stay firm and supple.

Vitamin C is necessary for your body to make collagen. Foods rich in vitamin C are great for producing healthy skin. Cue: bell peppers, citrus, and broccoli.

Did you know? Overcooking vitamin C-rich foods can destroy some of the skin-supporting vitamins. So, try having these lightly steamed or raw for maximum vitamin C levels.

Skin Food #4 - Bone broth

Homemade bone broth contains a lot of the amino acid glycine. Glycine is another essential component of the skin protein collagen.

Glycine helps speed the healing of the skin and the gut. Win-win.

Skin “Food” #5 - Sleep more & stress less

I know these aren’t exactly foods, but they’re an important part of naturally great skin. When we don’t sleep enough, or stress too much our body turns on hormones and systems that affect our whole body… including our skin.

Stress hormones can increase inflammation and lead to not-so-healthy looking skin. Prioritize sleep and stress management, and you can see results in your life, and in your skin.

Watch out for these foods

Some foods are allergenic or inflammatory. These can cause all sorts of issues in your body, including affecting your skin.

It's hard to come up with one list of inflammatory or allergenic foods for everyone. Each person is biochemically unique, so you may have to go through this and see what applies to you. There are a few common allergens that may be a good bet to eliminate from your diet.

The first is processed foods. These are unhealthy for everyone (though, there are various degrees of processing). Processed foods can affect your health in so many ways, including how your skin looks & feels. Try ditching pre-packaged and fast foods in favour of whole foods as much as possible. Not just for your skin, for your whole body (and mind).

The second is gluten. While only a small number of people have serious reactions to gluten (i.e., celiac disease), many more people are intolerant to it. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and a few other grains. Many people have had several health concerns, including skin issues, clear up after eliminating gluten from their diets.

Third in line is dairy. It could be a hormonal response or even an insulin response. We don't quite know why, but many people who cut out dairy report better skin…so if you’re eating dairy and you’d like to improve your skin, this could be a good place to start.

Conclusion

Skin health is not just about what you put on your skin, but what your skin gets from the inside too. There are lots of important nutrients and foods to help support healthy skin. Which also means, that there are lots of foods that can affect your skin in negative ways as well.

Staying hydrated, eating nutrient dense whole foods, and avoiding common allergenic and inflammatory foods might make all the difference for you.

Do you have an awesome recipe or tips for people to eat more of these “skin-helping” foods? Let me know in the comments below.

Recipe (Omega-3 vitamin C rich): Not Your Typical Salmon Salad

Serves 2

4 cups baby spinach (or mixed greens)
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes
½ large cucumber, chopped
8 oz smoked salmon, or 1 can salmon, roughly chopped
Drizzle of your favourite (gluten-free, dairy-free) dressing

Instructions

Place 2 cups of greens into each of 2 bowls.

Top with veggies and salmon.

Drizzle with dressing.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Serve with a large mug of green tea for an extra skin-supporting bonus.

References:

https://www.thepaleomom.com/beautiful-skin/

https://www.thepaleomom.com/overcoming-medical-dogma-eczema/

https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-acne-nutrition

https://www.healthline.com/health/4-best-vitamins-for-skin#VitaminD2

https://chriskresser.com/nutrition-for-healthy-skin-part-1/

https://www.healthline.com/health/ways-to-boost-collagen

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen

Natural Remedies for Cold & Flu

Getting a common cold doesn’t have to be so… common. There are things you can do naturally to decrease your likelihood of getting sick.

But, if you do happen to get sick, there are things you can also do to help support your body to fight it off.

Good hand hygiene and overall healthy habits can reduce your risk of getting sick in the first place. And good nutrition can help your immune system fight off a cold more quickly. Imagine your germ-fighting immune cells all hungry and tired, versus them being nourished and full of energy.

And that’s what this post is all about.

First, I’ll give you some tips to reduce your risk of getting sick in the first place. Then, I’ll let you in on some of my strategies to recover from that cold you may still get from time to time.

Natural tips to reduce your risk of sickness

Here are some great ideas to incorporate into your daily life to reduce your risk of getting sick.

1 - Wash your hands. A lot. Your hands can trap and transport all kinds of microbes that cause sickness. And I’m not just talking about colds here, but lots of different germs.

NOTE: Antibacterial soap is not recommended! Not only is it no more effective than regular soap and water, but it can contribute to antibiotic resistance.

2 - Get enough nutrients. I know this is way oversimplified, but I would be remiss to exclude it. Every cell in your body, including your immune cells, need enough of all the essential nutrients. The more nutrition you have, the better and stronger you will be, especially with vitamins A, C, and E. Vitamin A-rich foods include carrots, sweet potato, and organ meats. Vitamin C-rich foods include bell peppers and citrus. Vitamin E-rich foods include nuts, seeds, and leafy greens.

3 - Probiotic foods. Helping our health-promoting gut microbes with more of their probiotic friends is in order here to help keep the immune system strong. Try 1-2 servings/day of fermented foods and drinks like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kefir, or kombucha.

4 - Prebiotic foods. Feeding those friendly gut microbes their favourite foods can help them to grow and flourish. They love fibrous foods like onions, asparagus, berries, bananas, sweet potatoes, whole grains, and seeds. Aim for 2-3 servings/day.

5 - Get enough sleep. Did you know that our immune system cycles with our circadian system? When we sleep our immune cells produce antibodies to fight infections. Try to get at least 7 hours every single night, even when you're feeling great.

Natural tips to recover from a cold

When you do get an infection, not only do you need more nutrients to fight it off, but your body also has a harder time absorbing and using the nutrients you take in. Sometimes this is because of reduced hunger, sometimes due to gastrointestinal reasons. Either way, nourishing your body is even more important. When you do get sick, make sure you are implementing tips 1-5 plus the tips below that are crucial for getting over a common cold.

6 - Drink lots of fluids. Being sick can be dehydrating. Fluids like water, broth in soup, and green tea are warm, hydrating comfort drinks. Chicken soup is a source of electrolytes, especially if homemade from a real chicken with lots of vegetables. Green tea has been shown to boost some of our immune cells, and this can help to better fight off the invading germ.

7 - Rest and recover. When your body is fighting an infection, it’s busy working hard for your health. Give it a break and relax while you’re feeling under the weather.

Side note: catching a cold (or any illness really) is a “forced pause.” That means something has come along to make you take a break from work or your regular routine. Instead of trying to “power through” or ignore your symptoms, instead take them as a sign that there’s something else you need to pay attention to at the moment—probably yourself. Give yourself a much-needed time out and do the self-care you’ve been neglecting. Journaling, reading, colouring, taking a bath or watching a feel-good movie are great ways to take some time out for yourself when you’re forced (by a sickness) to take a pause.

Conclusion

There are lots of things we can do to stay healthy and reduce infections naturally. Washing your hands is a proven way to reduce your risk. And staying healthy in all other ways helps a lot. Getting enough nutrition, eating probiotic and prebiotic foods, and getting enough sleep are key year round.

If you do get sick, keep up all of your good habits above, and make sure to add some warm, healthy fluids, and extra rest.

What do you do when you get sick? Let me know in the comments below.

Recipe (Throat soothing): Honey Lemon Ginger Cough Drops

½ cup honey
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp freshly grated ginger root

Instructions

  1. Put ingredients into a small saucepan.
  2. Stir frequently until it becomes foamy. Be careful because the honey can burn easily.
  3. Remove from heat and continue to stir until the foam reduces.
  4. Put the saucepan back on the heat.
  5. Repeat this until a candy thermometer reads 300F.
  6. Drop a bit into a glass of ice water. If the mixture forms a hard, crunchy ball, it's ready! If not, keep stirring and heating for another minute or two and try with the ice water again.
  7. Once a hard ball forms from a drop into the ice water, let the saucepan cool until the foam has reduced.
  8. Drizzle the candy into a candy mold or onto oiled parchment paper.
  9. Let cool at room temperature until the cough drops are hard.
  10. Pop out of the mold or break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.

Tip: You can sprinkle them with vitamin C powder to keep them from sticking together.

References:

https://www.precisionnutrition.com/what-to-eat-when-sick

https://www.thepaleomom.com/natural-approaches-to-cold-flu-season/

https://www.thepaleomom.com/natural-approaches-to-cold-flu-season/

http://nutritionfacts.org/video/preventing-the-common-cold-with-probiotics/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dExiRwh-DQ

http://www.who.int/gpsc/clean_hands_protection/en/