12 Holistic Hacks for Not Getting Sick this Winter by Svetlana Kogan, M.D.

Here are some of my favorite “on the go” ways to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy this winter:

Grate a little ginger on your meal                                                                                                              Ginger is packed with compounds which trigger a 30% increase in germ-killing T-cells, plus cut two days off the length of colds, researchers say. Add ¼ teaspoon to rice, stirfry, soup, or casserole recipes.

Slice up some fruit                                                                                                                                                   Eating 2 cups of fruit daily could cut your risk of infection by 85% by providing antioxidants to boost your immune cells. Brightly colored fruits are the most effective. So, make sure your shopping basket contents burst with colors.

Orange-colored snacking
USDA research found that dried apricots are packed with betacarotene, a phytonutrient which spurs a 33% rise in blood levels of virus-fighting T-cells. Other great natural sources of beta-carotene include pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes and carrots.

Plain is best
When buying yogurt – chose organic (no hormones or antibiotics), low fat or fat-free (goodbye cholesterol) and plain. Plain yogurt has more live probiotic bacteria than sweetened/flavored yogurt, and probiotics are very important for properly functioning immune system.

Go for the garlic
Garlic is packed with more than 70 immunity-boosting compounds. Just one clove daily could strengthen your ability to fend off viruses by 40%. Lightly cook garlic to eliminate the odor or try Kyolic odor-free garlic extract as a supplement.

Keep your supplements by the coffeemaker
This will remind you to take them daily, which will help you avoid 17 sick days per year. In addition, most immune-boosting supplements are best taken with food, so the juxtaposition with the breakfast items makes sense.

Keep your personal hygiene items clean
Airborne viruses and germs from your bathroom visitors can contaminate your own toothbrush. So, keep it covered and dip it into a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution or antiseptic mouthwash solution like Listerine once a week.

Swish and Spit
Swishing with salt twice a day can cut your risk of viral infections by 34%. Water flushes viruses before they can attach to throat cells and salt kills the ones that do hang on. Mix ¼ tsp of salt and 4 ounces of warm water. Gargle in your mouth and throat and spit.

Contrast showers
While hot soaks are great in the evening, as they relax you and help you fall asleep, in the mornings I prefer contrast showers, also known as contrast hydrotherapy. Contrast showers improve your circulation, boost your immune system, stimulate brain function, and have a host of extra perks like helping with candidiasis and depression. To do: shower in hot water for 3 minutes, then switch to cool/cold water for 1 minute only, repeat 3 times and make sure to finish with cold water.

And finally: Stay positive and fight stress with gratitude                                                                    People who think a lot of positive thoughts have the strongest immune systems, thanks to their lower output of harmful stress hormones. Mindfulness will also fire up your production of immunoglobulin A, one of the body’s first lines of defense against the viruses – speeding your recovery time and cutting your risk of getting future infections by 13%. There are so many ways to be grateful: meditate, pray, volunteer, and take care of someone weaker than yourself.

Dr. Kogan is a Concierge Holistic Internal Medicine doctor in Naples.
Her website is CustomLongevity.com

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