Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Nip it in the Bud

In the last few weeks I've been hearing a lot of people talk about illnesses, mostly colds. Everyone wants the magic bullet that will kill the thing before it becomes debilitating.

There's an old phrase that some might have heard but few would know the meaning of.

"Nip it in the bud" literally means to nip (or cut off) the bud before the fruit appears. If you don't want the fruit, kill the blossom. If you don't want the cold, you need to catch it when it first shows its head rather than waiting until it's gnawing at your ankle.

There is no magic bullet that will kill a cold, but there are a lot of things you can do to keep it from becoming a monster. The same things that kill any other disease.

First, a healthy immune system. Vitamin C and D support immune system function, as do zinc and selenium. Vitamin B is another important vitamin for immune system function. Ironically, most of these items are found in fresh fruits and vegetables, something that was once much more difficult to acquire during cold season. Coincidence?

Lots of sunshine will take care of the D problem (although during the winter we all mew ourselves up like we're hibernating). Antioxidants also help build a strong immune system, but they are easily destroyed by excess heat--i.e., eat fruits and vegetables raw or steamed rather than boiled. Processed vegetables out of a can are better than nothing, but most of the nutrients are gone.

Another irony--the vitamins taken out of our food are re-processed and sold as vitamins on the shelf. But that's a rant for another time. Where were we?

Oh. If your immune system is in peak shape (which very few are) it will throw off the effects of most bacterial or viral diseases easily.

So when a cold rears its head, you need to take action.

1) A tablespoon of honey, morning and night. Taken on bread, in an herbal tea or simply from a spoon, honey has a multitude of beneficial vitamins and minerals that make it a miracle food. Too bad the bees are dying, huh?

2) A clove of crushed garlic every night (and every morning if your stomach will handle it). Eat it WITH the skin. Don't peel it. Whether in a capsule, a bowl of spaghetti or raw, garlic is an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-biotic all rolled into one tasty little package.

3) Vitamin C, as much as your system can handle. If you have the chewable vitamin C, use them as lozenges rather than the chemical drops you buy from the store. Save those for the sore throat stage. Orange juice, pineapple juice

4) Drink. Lots. Drink water until you leak, but leave the sugar drinks and caffeine drinks strictly alone. That's a general rule for all the time, because they make you lose more water than you get from them. It's the definition of a diuretic.

5) Sleep deprivation is one of the most common maladies in the modern world. If you can go to sleep an hour earlier or get up an hour later, it will help.

6) Destress. A no brainer, but sometimes the most difficult to do. Meditation, breathing exercises, reading a good book--whatever it takes.