22 October 2009

coming soon to a subway near you: the common cold

Nobody has time to be sick these days, but it seems like everywhere you turn a friend or colleague is is sniffling, sneezing, and calling in with the flu. Here are a few tips on how to help you through your cold, or even keep from falling sick yourself (and don't worry - none of them involve donning anything like this):

Though it's gotten a lot of press lately as the "new miracle herb", echinacea has been around for hundreds of years and has been used medicinally for a slew of cold-related symptoms. Echinacea is particularly effective in relieving upper respiratory infections, and reports from the highly-respected medical journal Lancet have found that the herb may have significant immune-boosting effects. Derived from a purpleish colored coneflower, echinacea is available in a variety of forms, including pills and tasty teas.

Drink plenty of fluids! Water flushes out the toxins and germs that might otherwise do your body harm. It also rehydrates you, invigorates your skin, energizes your brain, and just plain does a body good!

Licorice has been used to calm aching throats and congested chests for centuries. Great tasting and soothing, this herb also contains anti-viral compounds that stimulate the body's immune system. Be cautious, though - in large doses, licorice has a laxative effect, and it has been known to counteract birth control pills in any amount.

Depended upon by college students everywhere, Vitamin C is one of nature's most famed flu-fighters. Also known as L-ascorbic acid, this essential nutrient has incredible antioxidant properties, improves your absorption of iron, and protects your body's cells from the damaging effects of everyday life (effects which are intensified during winter's harsh conditions). Widely available in many forms, Vitamin C is best acquired through whole foods such as red peppers, papayas, and (of course) oranges.

And as always, a healthy, organic diet rich in antioxidants will help keep you feeling energized and balanced, no matter what the weather outside.

Photo via Everythingchangesbook.com

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