21 Wellness Tips to Prevent Colds and Flus

21 tips to fend off colds and flu, banish dry skin, ease stress, and much more.
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21 tips to fend off colds and flu, banish dry skin, ease stress, and much more.

As the long lazy days of summer wind to a close, the colorful leaves and crisp air announce the arrival of fall. There are so many things to love about fall, from pumpkin lattes, to apple picking, to cozy sweaters and scarves. But with the change of seasons, cold and flu season begins in earnest. Shorter days and cooler temperatures mean we spend more time indoors, and we have a tendency to be less active as a result, which can lead to weight gain. Busier schedules this time of year may mean increased stress levels for many people. Never fear. These stay-healthy tips can help you make it through the season with your sanity and health intact, including everything from how to avoid catching that bug that’s going around to a comforting, guilt-free superfood dessert idea (see tip #16). 

1. Switch to Non-Toxic Soap

Of course, you should wash your hands frequently during cold and flu season. But avoid antibacterial soaps. Antibacterial ingredients in soaps can destroy beneficial bacteria without improving cleanliness, and synthetic fragrances can disrupt hormones. Look for a soap that is either unscented or gets its scent from natural essential oils. Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial ingredient that doesn’t destroy beneficial bacteria.

2. Promote Whole-Body Healing with Garlic

The health-giving attributes of the stinking rose are numerous. You can turn to garlic year-round for immune support—the herb has broad antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and other antimicrobial actions. Increase the dose if you’ve got a cold or the flu to speed recovery. Garlic supports heart health in a variety of other ways too, including lowering blood pressure and improving artery health. And Aged Garlic Extract (AGE), a proprietary supplement form of garlic, has been shown to enhance memory retention and improve learning deficits. It’s also been shown to fortify liver function and protect against drug and chemical toxicity.

3. Get on the Bone Broth Bandwagon

Chicken soup is always good and comforting when you’re under the weather, but bone broth may be even better. If you haven’t taken part yet in the bone broth craze, it’s time. “Simmering causes the bones and ligaments [in meats and poultry] to release healing compounds like collagen, proline, glycine, and glutamine that have the power to transform your health,” says Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, who recommends daily consumption of bone broths. Bone broth offers inside-out health benefits, including stronger immune function; healthier hair, skin, and nails; less joint pain; and better gut health.

4. Indulge Your Skin

During the fall and winter months, dry indoor air, low humidity, wind, and cold weather contribute to dry, flaky, and itchy skin. But instead of using body lotions with synthetic fragrances and other toxins, indulge in naturally moisturizing lotions with shea butter or natural oils such as coconut, vitamin E, almond, argan, or sea buckthorn oil. All have a long history of being used to enhance beauty.

5. Don’t Fear the Shaker

Eat more salt. You read that right—more salt. “One of salt’s most intriguing properties is its importance for many facets of reproduction—from sexual desire and procreation to gestation and lactation—and this connection has been known at least since the time of the ancient Greeks,” says James DiNicolantonio, PharmD, author of The Salt Fix: Why the Experts Got It all Wrong—and How Eating More Might Save Your Life. How should you eat more salt? Start eating real food and salt it to taste, says DiNicolantonio.

6. Soak Away Soreness and Stress

There’s nothing like a hot bath to diffuse stress and soak away muscle soreness. While adding Epsom salts (magnesium) to a bath can ease tension and stress and renew tired muscles, there are other natural ways to infuse a bath with healing and pain-relieving powers:

  • Powdered vitamin C: Add approximately 2 Tbs. of vitamin C powder or a single-serve vitamin C packet.
  • CBD oil: This is especially good for tension and anxiety. Add a few drops before stepping into a bath.
  • Essential oils: The top three for sore muscles are lavender, helichrysum, and rosemary; use a few drops of each.

7. Keep Apple Cider Vinegar on Hand

This healing elixir has been used for centuries to cure a host of ailments. Apple cider vinegar is known to enhance immune function, important as cold and flu season sets in. But benefits don’t end there: improved digestive health, weight loss, blood sugar regulation, energy, and detox and cleansing are attributed to this panacea-like remedy. Add 1–2 Tbs. to a glass of water and drink daily in the morning. Always use raw,
unfiltered apple cider vinegar.

8. Turn Down the Thermostat for Better Sleep

“We get more restorative sleep in cooler environments,” says Joe Colella, MD, author of The Appetite Solution. He recommends turning down the thermostat to keep your bedroom temperature no warmer than 69 degrees.Need help falling or staying asleep? If melatonin is too strong for you, try passionflower. This beautiful herb has been shown to induce sleep while also improving sleep quality.

9. Use Green Drinks for Optimum Healing

Taken daily, green drinks can support immune health. Green drinks contain a healthy mix of nutrient-filled algae such as chlorella and grasses like barley or wheat grass that offer detoxifying amino acids, minerals, and antioxidants. These alkalizing formulas also encourage a healthy pH balance in the body. A good green drink supplement should clearly list each ingredient and the amount it contains per serving.

10. Take a Multi—Every Day

Studies show that taking a good-quality multi-vitamin can immediately reduce stress and boost mood, and ongoing use can improve memory and mental performance. In a survey of 10,000 American adults, people taking a multi on most days were more than twice as likely to get recommended amounts of essential nutrients.

11. Refresh with an Easy Desk Stretch

“You’re only as young as your spine is flexible and your mind is open,” says Christopher Harrison, founder of AntiGravity Fitness. For a quick stretch at your desk, he recommends a spinal twist: Cross your right leg over your left. Twist your chest to the right so that your left elbow is above your right knee, and reach your right arm behind your chair. Look over your right shoulder and take three deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.

12. Be Good to Your Thyroid

Iodine is a key nutrient for thyroid health, but anyone who doesn’t eat iodized salt—commercial table salt—may not get enough. Symptoms of low thyroid can include low energy, morning stiffness, sore soles of the feet, weight gain, and depression. In addition, says Nancy Evans, ND, at Holtorf Medical Group, “Achiness is one of the main symptoms of low thyroid.” She recommends taking a multivitamin with iodine and selenium, another nutrient that will help keep your thyroid happy. Sea vegetables such as kelp are rich food sources of iodine. Other important nutrients for thyroid health: L-tyrosine, zinc, and copper.

13. Get Rid of Toxic Candles

Scented candles most often contain synthetic scents made with hormone-disrupting toxins. Swap them for unscented candles or those scented with nontoxic, natural essential oils—sometimes labeled as aromatherapy candles.

14. Combat Hypertension with Celery

Have high blood pressure? Here’s a remedy you may not know about—celery seed extract. This small but mighty seed contains an important compound known as 3-n-butylphthalide (3nB). A human study looked at the ability of 3nB in celery seed extract to decrease blood pressure in 30 patients with mild-to-moderate hypertension. The results showed that those taking the extract experienced an 8.2 mmHg drop in their systolic pressure and an 8.5 mmHg decline in their diastolic blood pressure after six weeks of supplementation. Other research suggests that 3nB also helps to minimize the flow of calcium into the muscle cells that line blood vessels.

15. Take a Quick Heart Test

Studies following more than 1.2 million people show that resting heart rate, meaning beats per minute when you’re just sitting around, is a good indicator of heart health. The best time to test is in the evening. Take your pulse for 60 seconds, or count for 10 seconds and multiply by 6 to get beats per minute. Heart attack risk is higher for resting rates above 90 beats per minute; 60 to 70 is ideal. If your heart rate is high, start an exercise program—with your doctor’s permission.

16. Make Your Own Chia Pudding

Make your own chia pudding.

“Chia pudding is packed with nutrients, has the texture of pudding (yes, please!), and is totally customizable to whatever flavor you are in the mood for,” says Alexis Kornblum Davidson, author of Lexi’s Clean Kitchen and creator of the blog lexiscleankitchen.com. Here’s her basic chia pudding recipe:

  • 1 cup nondairy milk of your choice
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 2 tsp. honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup diced or sliced fresh fruit of choice

Combine milk, chia seeds, and honey in a container, and refrigerate for a minimum of three hours and up to 24 hours. Remove from fridge and add fruit topping or layer pudding and fruit in a serving jar or glass.

17. Pick the Right Probiotic

When it comes to probiotics, each group of bacteria has different species, and each species has different strains. Researchers are still studying which strains should be used for which health conditions, but a handful have been demonstrated to help with the following:

WHEN YOU HAVE...TAKE...

A prescription for antibiotics   

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and/or Saccharomyces boulardii   

International travel Plans   

Saccharomyces boulardii and/or Bifidobacterium longum   

Lactose intolerance   

Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Streptococcus thermophiles   

Irritable bowel Syndrome   

Bifidobacterium infantis, Lactobacillus plantarum 288V, or Bifidobacterium bifidum   

Impaired digestive immunity   

Enterococcus faecalis TH10 or Bifidobacterium longum   

A vaginal infection   

Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, and Lactobacillus reuteri   

A cold   

Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium animalis   

18. Ditch Diet Soda

Studies show that people who drink diet soda can gain more weight than regular soda drinkers. One possible reason for this is that artificial sweeteners in diet soda trick the brain into craving more food. Research also shows that diet soda contributes to diabetes, heart disease, and stroke risk just as much as regular soda, and that diet soda can even raise the risk of dementia. Instead, try natural sodas with a hint of sweetness from fruit or stevia. Or make your own: Combine sparkling water with a splash of pomegranate juice and a squeeze of lime for a refreshing soda-like beverage.

19. Take Curcumin Daily

Curcumin, the active ingredient in the curry spice turmeric, can help improve the liver’s ability to detoxify on an ongoing basis. Gaetano Morello, ND, recommends taking a patented form, such as BCM-95, Meriva, or Theracurmin, for enhanced detoxification. Turmeric supplements are another way to take curcumin and have been shown to reduce inflammation, enhance mental focus, and more.

20. Decorate with Ferns

Plants don’t just look pretty. Indoor air pollution in offices and homes can emanate from particle board, furniture, window coverings, carpeting, and paper products. Formaldehyde is a major culprit, but indoor plants can absorb and neutralize significant amounts. Korean scientists tested 86 different plants and found that ferns are the most effective, the top one being a Japanese royal fern (Osmunda japonica).

21. Brew a Cup of “Golden Milk”

Golden milk is made from turmeric, a sweet-and-bitter root that can reduce inflammation, enhance proper functioning of the liver, boost brain health, and clear out toxins.

View or "Golden Milk" recipe

Love Your Heart

BERKELEY LIFE HEART HEALTH supplements provide the dietary nitrates found in plants to help you support your healthy heart, and BERKELEY TEST strips give you the confidence that it is working!

Berkeley Life Heart Health

Chris Freytag is a certified personal trainer and health coach and founder of GetHealthyUTV.com, a streaming website for on demand workouts.

Chris Freytag

We all have one heart and need to take care of it. Nitric oxide plays a big part in supporting healthy blood pressure and a healthy heart. BERKELEY LIFE HEART HEALTH supplements provide the dietary nitrates found in plants to help you support your healthy heart, and BERKELEY TEST strips give you the confidence that it is working!

MEET THE EXPERT: Chris Freytag is a certified personal trainer and health coach and founder of GetHealthyUTV.com, a streaming website for on demand workouts. 

Astaxanthin Power

Nutrex hawaii BIOASTIN HAWAIIAN ASTAXANTHIN contains natural astaxanthin from Hawaiian microalgae, along with naturally occurring carotenoids, including lutein.

Bioastin Hawaiian Astaxanthin

Gerald Cysewski, PhD, is an authority on microalgae with more than 35 years’ experience in microalgae research and commercial production of microalgae products.

Gerald Cysewski, PhD

Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant that benefits overall health, supporting immunity, cardiovascular health, joints, skin, eyes, and more. Research shows that you can improve the quality of your skin from the inside out by taking astaxanthin, as it fights oxidative damage that leads to wrinkles, fine lines, dry skin, and hyperpigmentation from sun damage. Effective dosages of astaxanthin range from 4 mg to 12 mg. Nutrex hawaii BIOASTIN HAWAIIAN ASTAXANTHIN contains natural astaxanthin from Hawaiian microalgae, along with naturally occurring carotenoids, including lutein.

MEET THE EXPERT: Gerald Cysewski, PhD, is an authority on microalgae with more than 35 years’ experience in microalgae research and commercial production of microalgae products.  

Beyond GI Health

When taken daily, Bacillus coagulans, the probiotic strain found in Healthy Delights Probiotic soft chews, can aid in reducing cavity-causing microorganisms in the saliva

Healthy Delights Probiotic soft chews

Maryann Walsh MFN, RD, is a registered dietitian and owner of Walsh Nutrition Consulting based in Palm Beach, Fla.

Maryann Walsh MFN, RD

In addition to probiotics promoting gastrointestinal health and boosting immunity, there is also favorable research showing the benefits of probiotics for oral health. When taken daily, Bacillus coagulans, the probiotic strain found in Healthy Delights Probiotic soft chews, can aid in reducing cavity-causing microorganisms in the saliva. These great-tasting chews makes getting your daily dose of these probiotics easy, especially for children or those who dislike swallowing pills.

MEET THE EXPERT: Maryann Walsh MFN, RD, is a registered dietitian and owner of Walsh Nutrition Consulting based in Palm Beach, Fla. 

Elderberries Strengthen Immunity

NATURE’S ANSWER SAMBUCUS (Black Elderberry) Super Concentrated syrup can be taken year-round, and particularly when you want to support your immune system.

Nature's Answer Sambucus

Jonathan Selzer, PhD, studied biology at Stanford University, and has worked in natural product development since the early 1980s. He is currently the VP of Scientific Affairs at Bio-Botanica/Nature’s Answer.

Jonathan Selzer, PhD

Elderberries strengthen and support the immune system with a highly concentrated combination of various biologically active phytochemicals. These include anthocyanins and quercetin, which are likely responsible for the elderberry’s health benefits. NATURE’S ANSWER SAMBUCUS (Black Elderberry) Super Concentrated syrup can be taken year-round, and particularly when you want to support your immune system. Made from concentrated Sambucus nigra (black elderberries), this syrup provides the equivalent of 12 grams of fresh elderberry juice or 60 grams of dried elderberries in one serving.

MEET THE EXPERT: Jonathan Selzer, PhD, studied biology at Stanford University, and has worked in natural product development since the early 1980s. He is currently the VP of Scientific Affairs at Bio-Botanica/Nature’s Answer. 

AHCC Boosts Immunity

200cc Kinoko Platinum
Dan Lifton is CEO of Quality of Life Labs, holds a certificate degree from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

Dan Lifton

Many people turn to alternative and complementary therapies when dealing with immune challenges. If you are searching for an effective supplement for strengthening immunity, there is Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC), a mushroom extract. QUALITY OF LIFE AHCC has been extremely well-researched and is supported by over 20 human clinical studies.

MEET THE EXPERT: Dan Lifton is CEO of Quality of Life Labs, holds a certificate degree from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

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