As the seasons change, brisk mornings and breezy winds remind us to keep warm. Keeping layers on and keeping things cozy and warm inside our homes offer relief, and we know that warmth not only comforts but protects us from the cold. The only cold that warmth cannot protect you from are common colds.
I don’t have a book of remedies like some people have generational family recipes handed down, but I keep in mind all the tricks my mother used on me and my brothers. She had no choice but to fight back, because with four boys and two adults in the house, anyone could be the weak link to catch a cold and then the whole camp would be compromised. Today, we all carry that torch in our own homes, and I know that if my wife or our daughter gets ill, we have to fight it before it spreads.
Yes, there are several things one could do to minimize the chance for colds, and the episode when Superman and Superwoman let the city fall for a day because of strep-throat and the flu never aired, so you never knew even they could even catch a cold. Every now and then the greatest of us come down with something. For those of us who can go a winter or two without even so much as a sniffle, there’s much to their story than meets the eye.
Body temperature and thermogenesis have a major role in the body’s immunity, meaning, the ability for one’s body to endure extreme cold or extreme heat without compromising the person’s health. Genetics always have a role in health be it small or large, but what always overcomes genetics are your habits and behaviors. One of the things I noticed when I began to lift weights and build some muscle was that my body didn’t get cold as easily. Even lately, I’ve been taking cold showers and ice baths when I learned that they help with muscle recovery and thermogenesis. By doing this, I’ve become more adapted to the cold (and playing soccer in these Houston summers really helped me adapt to the heat).
Some people have jobs that require them to work outdoors and endure high heat and humidity or really cold temperatures. Our bodies adapt naturally to whatever circumstance or environment we are exposed to consistently. You, too, can build your thermogenesis by taking cold showers, ice baths, doing cryotherapy, sitting in steam rooms and saunas more often. If you’re easily chilled or if your body heat rises too rapidly, then try these things for just one or two minutes at a time until you can endure for longer. Therapy methods such as cryotherapy only last about three minutes in the tank each session and it is recommended to practice this no more than once per day. After any of these methods are applied, hydrate with natural nutrients and minerals to refuel your body because another huge part of good immunity is the food we eat.
Giving your body the ingredients it needs to perform and live with great energy is something that was established since birth. Even as toddlers, when we boycotted vegetables only wanting fast food french fries and sugary drinks, our bodies did its best to put the essentials to work. Now we know that it’s more critical for us to have the right amount of Vitamin D and Iron (for women), and having enough fiber and magnesium (for men). There are no minerals that the body can’t use, yet what matters most is the amount we are consuming and the method of consumption.
Every holiday season I get asked if the broccoli casserole is healthy because it has broccoli in it, or if sweet potato pie is good for you. My short answer is, “It depends…” To elaborate, portion is the first key, because even if it’s something healthy, you can have too much of it, and you can easily have too much of something unhealthy.
Of course, raw foods can taste earthy and distasteful, but the rawer the food, the better it is for your body. The more something is cooked, the more of its essentials will be depleted offering you nothing but macronutrients. I personally don’t agree with the term ‘empty calories’ because there can’t be calories without macros. So even if it’s just carbs, fats and protein, those are necessary for every body with the right amount of portions considered. What isn’t discussed enough are micronutrients; minerals and vitamins. Having these in the body will help process your macros making sure your carbs, fats and proteins are applied and used for good energy.
I’m the one who eats carrots and celery from the party platter without dipping in the ranch dressing. I juice about once per month and freeze the jars having one or two per week just to make certain that I’m not missing what my body needs. I drink a smoothie more often, almost every day, with real fruits and a protein powder. The difference between smoothies and juicing is smoothies have fiber yet tend to have more sugar than juice, and juicing removes the fiber but still keeps a high amount of essentials.
When it comes to fighting colds, the flu and other seasonal illnesses, consistency is your mate. By keeping a steady flow of things like ginger in your system, the chances for catching a cold are less. By going hours each day without eating, allowing your body time to digest and use what you’ve supplied it with to keep you healthy, intermittent fasting has proven to show great health benefits when you eat between a specific nine to twelve hour window only. Drinking hot herbal tea every day with some lemon or lime squeezed really helps your respiratory glands and your blood flow well. Keeping your head covered until it’s completely dried after showering, keeping layers of clothing on your body (especially your outer extremities), keeping socks on your feet at all times, and getting a consistent eight hours of sleep every night gives you the best chance for optimal health. Maybe my obsession with keeping my hands and body clean can seem a bit extra, but these are all second-nature to my lifestyle and I’m healthier than I’ve ever been.
There are several ways that you can protect you and your family from allergies and diseases any time of year, but it has to become second-nature for you and consistent. As much as I don’t like being sick, I do what I can when I’m well to stay well and enjoy my life without the concern of the sniffles or much worse. You should enjoy this time of year to the fullest, give your family and yourself the gift of good health this season.