10 Tips to Prevent Illness Naturally

From meditation to bone broth, DIY illness prevention made simple

prevent illness
prevent illness

Last autumn, Naturopath Dr. Laura Wollman and Acupuncturist Jon Conant gave us their top 10 tips to prevent illness naturally, the best from Eastern and Western naturall medicine.

This year, we offer you these tips and simple home remedies that help you keep sickness at bay.

1. Vitamin C: Many studies have shown that supplementing with Vitamin C can shorten the duration of and reduce the severity of a cold. Be careful to choose natural Vitamin C, and not the synthetic ascorbic acid form.

2. DIY Cold and flu Tea: this site shows you how, with only four ingredients: echinacea leaves, peppermint leaves, lemon balm leaves and dried elder berries.

3. Bone broth:this book, Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World has recipes for making broth that relieve cold symptoms. Sip on warm mugs of it for several days until illness has passed. Insider's tip: your local New Seasons or Whole Foods has organic frozen lamb, chicken and beef bones in the frozen pet food section. Check with the butcher first, depending on the day of the week, they may have fresh bones. Otherwise, they chop and package them for the pet food freezer.

4. Avoid sugar: another reason to break the sugar habit is that sugar supresses the immune system and causes inflammation. Don't make it any harder for your immune system. Skip the sugar (read those cough syrup labels!) at least until your illness has passed. In Alex McMahon's blog on The 7 Biggest Sugar Craving Mistakes, #1 is replacing added sugar with natural sugars.

5. Essential Oils: these are powerful medicines not to be taken lightly. The best idea is to consult a naturopath (Root's front desk can set up a quick consultation for you!). Next best is to consult with a certified consultant with companies like DoTerra. While they are not doctors, these consultants have been trained to provide detailed information about the benefits of oils like peppermint for congestion or lavender to promote sleep.

6. Sleep: Speaking of sleep, this is Dr. Wollman's #1 piece of advice, and we will re-iterate it here. “You are three times more likely to contract a cold when exposed to a virus if you sleep less than seven hours compared with people who sleep eight hours or more. This may be because when we sleep we produce more T cells and cytokines, which are cells that help our immune systems and fight infection. Sleep also helps our bodies mount a fever, which is an important defence mechanism against bacteria and viruses.” says Wollman.

7. Probiotics: these helpful 'critters' decrease the incidence, duration, and severity of respiratory illnesses as well as the duration and severity of the common cold. It also helps with the treatment of diarrhea in cases of gastroenteritis. Probiotics are found in supplement form as well as in fermented foods such as yogurt or kefir, raw sauerkraut, kimchi, miso and tempeh. Here are our favourite recipes for probiotic rich kraut and water kefir.

8. Get outdoors:Research shows that spending time outside can promote better sleep, boost overall wellness, and may improve your mood...even when the weather outside is cold and less than ideal! "Being outdoors in daylight for as little as twenty minutes a day can make a big difference in raising your energy level and preventing the winter blues," says Norman Rosenthal, M.D., director of seasonal studies at the National Institute of Mental Health and author of Winter Blues. But don't forget to bundle up! Protect your head and neck from 'wind invasion' a Chinese medical term referring to keeping pathogens out by protecting vulnerable areas of your body.

9. Save your skin: It's not just about moisturizers – your skin can only absorb so much. Moisten your system from inside out – look into fish oils and flax seed oils to plump up your internal and external juiciness this winter. The Omega 3s in these oils are associated with healthier brains and hearts, improved mood, lowered inflammation, fewer cardiac arrhythmias, reduced joint pain, lowered triglycerides, and healthier skin and hair.

10. Meditation: Meditation boosts antibodies. According to the Deepak Chopra Center and a recent research study, “after being given weekly meditation training for 8 weeks, 48 biotech workers had significantly higher levels of antibodies than the control group (coworkers who didn’t meditate) as well as higher levels than before the study.