10.01.2011

Vegan MoFo #1: Fighting Colds Naturally



Let's be serious. NO ONE enjoys being sick. Oh wait, you do?


Well, you are weird. :)
But honestly.
Being sick sucks. I mean, who wants to just lie in bed, barley being able to breathe, with a stuffy nose, a headache, and a sore throat?


NOT ME.


So here are some tips and tricks to fight those colds, the vegan way. Naturally and healthfully. Forget the medicine!


But first, how can being a vegan help you avoid sickness?
Well, for starters, a vegan diet is full of vitamins and nutrients. Being sick is a result of your body fighting off toxins in your system, so if you are limiting your intake of toxins by avoiding meat, eggs, and dairy products, you're already on the path to healing. You're eating foods that are good and healthy for you. As long as you don't load up on the sugary vegan junk food and you eat lots of fruits and vegetables, your colds and illnesses will be minimum. A vegan diet will provide with you with tons of cold fighting vitamins, like vitamin A and C, as well as other nutrients like zinc. 


How do you get a cold?
First, you breathe in the cold virus from the air or you touch a surface that has the cold virus on it and then touch your face/nose/eyes. You can also contract the virus by being close to someone who has the virus already. Colds grow in warm places, like your nose, throat, and sinuses, which is why most of the cold symptoms show up in those areas. Once infected, the immune system develops antibodies and mucus to help fight the cold.  Creation of excess mucus is what causes our stuffy noses, coughing, and sneezing. It takes your body about a week to completely rid itself of the virus.


Ready for those tips?
1. Get plenty of sleep.
Seriously. Sleep is the best thing that you can POSSIBLY give yourself while you are sick.  "Those who slept an average of fewer than seven hours a night, it turned out, were three times as likely to get sick as those who averaged at least eight hours. Sleep and immunity, it seems, are tightly linked," says the New York Times. Our bodies need time to heal, so give it time to do so by resting and sleeping away the sickness!


2. Drink lots of juice. Lots. 
Juice is great because it contains of vitamins that can help fight the cold. You know how you're always told to drink orange juice when you're sick? Listen! All that vitamin C and great enzymes... your immune system will be up and running in no time.


3. Squeeze fresh ginger into your hot tea. 
Fresh ginger fights colds like no other. "Consumption of ginger for medicinal purposes is primarily to aid in digestion. It contains calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, sodium, potassium, minerals as well as vitamins A, B complex, and C. Consumption of ginger encourages the gall bladder to release bile, which stimulates digestion. This increases the assimilation of nutrients from the food consumed. Consumption of ginger makes the body feel warm and promotes perspiration. This property is especially useful when a person is suffering from a fever, since perspiration causes a fever to break faster. Consuming ginger is also beneficial if you have a cough, cold or a sore throat." - India Parenting. What else do you need to know?


4. Stay hydrated. 
Because your body needs fluids to flush out all those toxins. And your body needs water to function. Drink lots of tea and water to keep yourself working properly!


5. Eat Drink lots of hot broth. 
Hot liquid is just good for the soul. Miss chicken noodle soup when you're sick? Well, did you know that the reason why chicken noodle soup helps fight colds is because its hot, liquid, and salty? Yep! Drink up that salty broth! 


6. Eat as little as possible.
Seriously. Why eat and introduce more things that your body needs to digest when its trying to heal your body from all the crap you've been eating already? Take this time to eat only the minimal amount of food you need. Your body will thank you, and you will be healed quicker than you could ever imagine. DON'T. EAT. A. LOT.  Thanks :)

7. Get those probiotics. 
Yogurt contains probiotics, which help to keep your immune system functioning and working the way it should. Plus, they aid in digestion. Go drink some GoodBelly or eat some soy yogurt and get those probiotics! 


8. Eat the BRATT diet. 
"What it is: the BRATT diet is prescribed to anyone who is having trouble with digestion, is too ill for heavy foods or simply needs simple, bland foods. BRATT stands for: B-bananas R-rice A-applesauce T-tea T-toast." -From Healthy. Happy. Life. All of these foods are so simple and so vegan! They are great to eat when you're sick just because they are simple. 


9. Stop multi-tasking and just relax. 
Seriously. Stop overloading your body by trying to use your downtime from being sick to get all the homework or chores you need accomplished. It's not worth it. Your body needs rest so it can heal quickly, so give it the downtime it needs. 


10. Take a nice, hot shower. 
Taking a shower opens up your nasal passages and just makes you feel warm and happy all over. Trust me, showering always makes me feel a bit better when I'm sick. The steam is just so refreshing! 


11. Eat vitamin A and vitamin C.
Vitamin A strengthens your body's defenses, while Vitamin C assists your immune system with fighting off the unwanted virus. These are the two vitamins you need to load up on! Vitamin A, "which you get in a form of beta-carotene from foods such as carrots, spinach, mustard greens, kale, yellow and orange squash, to keep mucous membranes soft and moist. This is important, because these membranes, which line the nose, mouth, throat and other parts of the body, are your first line of defense against infections. As long as they moist, they are able to trap viruses and other germs before they get into your system. As a form of double protection, the body also uses vitamin A to manufacture special enzymes that seek and destroy bacteria that manage to get inside the body and vitamin A is critical for preventing infections." Vitamin C can be found in foods like citrus fruits, peppers, guava fruit, dark leafy greens, berries, and broccoli. (Source). Zinc is also really good to eat when sick because it can help keep your white blood cell numbers up so your body can fight off immunity!  


So, are you prepared now to fight that cold? 


What is your favorite thing to eat when you are sick?


Much love, 

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