6 Simple Strategies for Winter Cold & Flu Season

Root Whole Body Uncategorized

As the weather turns cool and we spend more time indoors in close contact with others, viruses and bacteria causing cold, flu and other illness thrive. Thankfully, there are plenty of natural-first approaches you can take to be prepared, to stay resilient and feel your best this winter.

1.    Urgent Care for those seeking a natural-first approach.

Natural medicine is often synonymous with “preventive care.”  But naturopathic physicians have much more to offer than that. They help facilitate the body’s inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health using a variety of tools and techniques, including the types of tests and prescriptions you find at a conventional medicine physician’s office.  They routinely treat conditions such as allergies, chronic pain, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, obesity, respiratory conditions, heart disease, fertility problems, menopause, adrenal fatigue, cancer, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

So the next time you’re in need of urgent care, call us —  or go online– to schedule an appointment with Dr. Katherine Walker (see her bio, here) or Dr. Nicole Kilinan. Both are experts in their field and ready to be your natural-first resource for urgent care.

Or call to schedule:
Irvington  503-288-7668
Slabtown 503-292-7668

2.    Add detox practices to your self-care routine.

You don’t smoke, you don’t drink to much and you eat a pretty clean diet. No matter how hard we may try, exposure to a host of toxins is a reality of modern life. Let’s clean it out before the new year.Here are some simple practices that can easily be worked into everyday life. 

  • Drink water with a little fresh lemon juice in it every morning upon rising. 
  • Eat more dark, leafy greens such as arugula, kale, basil, spinach, chard, parsley, and cilantro. 
  • Use a dry brush every day to stimulate blood flow and lymph movement. 
  • Take a detox bath or try a medicinal hydrotherapy soak. 
  • Enjoy a warming sauna session at least once a week, cedar or infrared. Studies show that regular sauna visits can improve immune function. 

Want professional help? Come see us for a 3-, 7- or 10-day detox and get set up with products that can gently detox your system and give your immunity system a fighting chance as you head into cold and flu season. Schedule an appointment with Doctor Katherine Walker or Dr. Nicole Kilian.

3.    Discover bone broth.

Bone broth is an old-fashioned remedy for our modern world.  Bone broth is full of proteins, minerals, and other important nutrients that are useful to the human body. The process of cooking the bones allows for all of the nutrients to be transferred into the water. Sip on warm mugs of it for several days until illness has passed… or stock up and use the delicious broth as base for Fall and Winter soups. 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. Read Taylor Zerull’s recipe for making bone broth

4.  Get the sleep your body needs.

Sleep is a process that promotes the body’s natural healing. 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 defense against bacteria and viruses. For natural sleep support, reach for a relaxing herbal tea an hour or so before bedtime. Lavender, Schizandra, Chamomile and Kava are all relaxation-promoting herbs that can help you get the healthful rest you need. Stock up on Nervous System Tea.

5.    Get outdoors.

This piece of advice might seem obvious, but can be hard to follow through on when the Portland area’s weather turns cold and rainy. But research shows that spending time outside can promote better sleep, boost overall wellness, and may improve your mood. “Being outdoors in daylight for as little as 20 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. To make it easier to get outside even in rainy weather, invest in a rain jacket, rain pants and a pair waterproof shoes. Find a friend or family member to walk with… and make a point to schedule the time. There are a number of beautiful hiking trails within an hour’s drive of Portland—accessible year-round and perfect for Sunday outings. Pack a lunch and your camera an enjoy the enriching peace and solitude.

6. Eat nutrient dense, warming foods.

When the weather turns cold and and days are short, the body craves warmth to better support digestion.  With this in mind, Chinese medicine espeically supports a shift from salads and smoothies to soups and warming spices.

  • Minimize dry, rough, cold food such as cold breakfast cereals and smoothies, opting instead for warm, cooked cereals like steel-cut oats and porridge, and gently cooked grains, vegetables, soups and stews. 
  • Avoid cold water beverages. Herbal teas are a great way to increase hydration and inner warmth when it is cold and rainy. Warming, herbal teas are to a welcome addition to a fall diet. 
  • Use warming spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and turmeric to help the body generate and retain warmth while supporting the immune and digestive systems. 

Make sure you are also getting adequate protein, either from clean animal sources or complete vegan sources. Soaked, organic almonds and cashers, organic tofu, organic eggs, wild salmon, grass-fed beef and organic, foraging chicken are all good options. 

6.    Add supplements for extra support.

Supplements used under the guidance of a health professional can help boost resistance to illness, improve sleep and reduce the impacts of stress.  

  • Vitamin D is essential to ideal immune function and 
  • Probiotics decrease the incidence, duration and severity of respiratory illnesses, as well as the duration and severity of the common cold. 
  • Elderberry extract can help fight bacterial and viral infections 
  • B Vitamins and Adaptogens such as ashwagandha, holy basil and reishi support the body’s ability to cope with stress, which can compromise the immune system. 

Taking steps now to support your body’s natural resistance to infection area easier than you think and will go a long way toward keeping you well and out of the doctors office this winter.

Schedule your new patient appointment now and save

Schedule your New Patient Appoint patient appointment for acupuncture, chiropractic or naturopathic care now and be ready to feel your best this winter.

Or call to schedule:
Irvington  503-288-7668
Slabtown 503-292-7668