I grew up in a very Western Medicine based house. For any ailment, there was a pill. We were pretty much pill poppers. Now don't get me wrong-Western Medicine is a miracle when it comes to setting broken bones, acute trauma and eradicating infectious diseases like polio. However when it comes to cultivating and maintaining optimal sustained health and nipping any small cold or flu in the bud, not much is better than some rest and a few old world food tips:
1. Sleep-Have you heard the phrase "You can sleep when you're dead"? I have and I despise it. Especially when you are starting to feel under the weather. Let go of perceived weakness (or whatever nonsense that keeps your from taking care of yourself), take a nap, cancel a work event or trip and put yourself into bed (without your electronics). Try this short sleep meditation to encourage rest and relaxation (even if you only have 20 minutes for a nap).
2. Bone broth-You've probably heard of people saying that back in the day, grandmothers everywhere would cook up a big pot of chicken soup when someone was starting to feel sick. Of course Campbell's and other big food manufacturers jumped on this touting the benefits of their stuff. Don't believe it! The true magic in old school chicken soup is in the broth. Healing, nourishing and immune supporting broth (aka bone broth) is made with bones and feet from pasture raised animals and simmered for 24-48 hours. This pulls out all the valuable minerals, nutrients, collagen and amino acids from the bones. Ancient cultures in Asia and South America often have a constant pot of bone broth going on their stoves to use in every day cooking. I happen to own the Green Grocer (Dallas and Chicago) and we make our own incredible bone broth. If you are interested to try it, you can find it in our stores or even order online and have it shipped or delivered to you. Read about all the benefits in this article by Dr. Mercola.
3. Elderberries-The particular species Sambucus Nigra of Elderberries seems to be very powerful in building immunity and shortening the length and intensity of a cold, flu OR allergies. Again, full disclosure that we sell an amazing Elderberry Syrup (only in our Dallas store) but I have seen people go from miserable human beings (Stuffy, coughing, running noses, achy) to normal within 36-48 hours. That is why I love it so much. Even WebMD acknowledges the potential of elderberries. Check out this article about some more benefits!
4. Fermented, probiotic foods-I wrote a blog post last week about the benefits of fermented foods that encourage healthy gut bacteria. For long term and sustained immunity, I consider a daily dose of fermented foods a must (notice I didn't say a supplement). Find your favorite live, raw, probiotic kraut, pickles, kim chi, kefir, kombucha, or apple cider vinegar. Make it a habit to have a little each day or preferably at each meal. This might not necessarily improve the flu at hand but it will make your overall immunity much better and resistant to those nasty cold and flu bugs!