It’s that time of year again. Frosty mornings, wet days and everyone’s a little run down from the end of term.
Ahead are 7 little tricks that I personally use at home, to keep my family well, and care for them when they're not. If you are going to try these - get the best and freshest quality ingredients that you can find - the active compounds in them will be much more potent!
1. Get a good nights sleep. Sleep is when our body rests and recuperates. When we don’t get enough of it, our immune systems ability to function drops dramatically. Common sense I know, but so many of us today are burning the candle at both ends. Aim for 7-9 hours.
2. Immune supplements. I’m not typically one to recommend supplements. However, as a mum of two, with a very irregular sleep pattern, I’ve found taking an immune boosting supplement that contains Tumeric, Garlic, Vitamin C and Echinacea helpful the last 6 months. All told, these power houses contain anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-microbial properties that give your immune system a real kick. A little extra note on Echinacea - it really does need to be taken preventatively, rather than as acute management to be most effective.
3. Raw Garlic. If you’re starting to get a little tickle at the back of your throat or a few sniffles, it’s not too late. Get some raw garlic into you ASAP. It works like an absolute charm. I chop up 1 clove finely, add it to 100ml of water and down it like a shot. It burns on the way down but it’ll give your immune system a real boost! I always find it works best on an empty stomach. You might say that you cook with a lot of garlic - but cooked garlic is no where near as potent.
For your little ones, marinate a quarter to a half clove of garlic in olive oil, rub their feet with olive oil, then apply the garlic to their feet and wrap them up with gladwrap and socks over the top. It increases circulation throughout the body, helping your immune system to fight any mild viral or bacterial infections. Using enough oil is important because raw garlic can burn the skin.
4. Essential oils. Once one family member has the sniffles it's easy for the whole family to catch on. Try using an oil burner with pure essentials of tea tree or eucalyptus oil to help purify the air in your home. Both are antimicrobial. Cutting an onion into quarters and placing it in a few different spots around the home can also help, as onion absorbs a lot of the bacteria in the air.
5. Heat compresses. If a sore throat or chesty cough has taken hold, try using a heat compress. Apply a cool damp cloth to the area (chest or around the throat), cover it well with glad wrap, then wear lots of warm layers or a scarf around your neck. Leave it on for about 2 hours. The cool cloth prompts the body to increase blood supply to the area, bringing with it all your kick ass white blood cells. You’ll soon find yourself coughing up a bit of gunk and detoxifying your body. Repeat as necessary throughout the day.
6. Lemon, ginger, turmeric and honey teas. Who doesn’t love a good cuppa on a cold morning when it’s filled with anti-inflammatories, antioxidants and anti-microbial compounds. Not to mention a good dose of Vitamin C. Honey has also been shown to act as a cough suppressant and soothe sore throats. Herbal teas are also a great way to keep your fluids up.
7. Open the window. I know it’s cold and wet out there, but opening the windows and letting the fresh air, even for 10 minutes, really helps to improve the air quality in your home by clearing out all the bugs the family have been coughing, sneezing and generally spreading around. If it’s too cold to do it when you’re home, leave them open when you pop out to the shops.
Take care of yourselves.