If you’re reading this blog, I’m sure you can understand the feeling you get when you can’t work out with as much energy as you’d like because you have a cold or the flu. Sore throats, stuffy noses and lowered energy can make it a challenge to keep up with your workout routine. To make matters worse, if you don’t get your regular workout in, you’ll have even less energy and feel deprived of your much-needed exercise. I get it – you’re junkies, and it’s my job to help you avoid the colds and flus of wintertime so you can continue to get your fix and maintain optimal health.
So, let me introduce you to nature’s top immunity strengthening herbs and plants, and how you can use them to increase resistance to sickness during the cold and flu season:
Where I live, if you have a patch of Echinacea in a garden by a meadow, it’s going to get eaten by deer. And do you know WHEN it’s going to get eaten by deer? That’s right, October. These gorgeous wild animals know exactly what to eat before winter and they aptly set the example for their human counterparts.
You can easily find Echinacea herb in any natural food market or online. There are two basic ways of taking this herbal supplement. The first is by taking 10-15 drops of the tincture under your tongue. You can also drink 1-3 cups of Echinacea tea every day for six weeks at a time. Either method gives you a huge boost to your immune system, right as you head into winter.
How does it do this? By reducing inflammation and stimulating an increase in white blood cells. Numerous studies have pointed to Echinacea’s ability to reduce the chances of picking up a cold by over 50%. And by supplementing with Echinacea before and during a cold, you can cut the duration of your sickness by one to two days.
So, do like the deer, and start taking your Echinacea in October.
Of all the herbs I use, this may be the one I love the most. Yes, it’s a spice to many people, but its medicinal powers cannot be ignored. I enjoy making a fresh pot of ginger root tea as often as possible, especially in the fall. Here’s why:
- Keeps you warm
- Acts as a natural analgesic (pain relieving)
- Tastes delicious
- Antimicrobial and antioxidant
- Inhibits the activity of cancerous cells
- Contains natural antibiotics
- Helps normalize blood sugar
- Protects against respiratory viruses
So, whatever recipes you would normally use ginger in, just double or triple the amount of ginger, powdered or fresh. Or you can make a delicious, warming tea with a tablespoon of chopped fresh ginger, simmer for 15 minutes, strain and drink. Add sweetener if you wish.
Pumpkins are much more than just a Halloween decoration. Now I’m not just saying this because October 31st is coming right up and I’m jumping on the pumpkin spice bandwagon. Pumpkin is one of the healthiest foods on our planet, sporting 14,100IU of Vitamin A per cup of cooked puree. This amazing squash also sports a significant amount of almost all minerals (excluding selenium and sodium) and at least 10% of your daily Vitamin B2, B5, C and E.
Vitamin A has been long associated with increased immunity and strengthened ability to ward off infection. Having a delicious food packed with Vitamin A plus all fiber, iron and even a little protein as a staple from October through springtime, is just plain smart.
And I haven’t even mentioned the SEEDS yet! All the nutritional pumpkin information mentioned above was based on the pureed or cooked squash. The seeds are basically a smorgasbord of nutrients. They have about the same amount of Vitamin A as the cooked squash, plus:
- Tryptophan (it isn’t just in turkeys, folks) One-half cup of pumpkin seeds provides 115% of your daily tryptophan.
- Over 100% of the following minerals: Copper, Magnesium, Manganese and Phosphorus.
- A Solid amount of every vitamin except B12 and D, being especially high in Vitamin C and Folate.
Pumpkin seeds (right from the pumpkin, or mechanically seeded) are great when roasted lightly (300F for 15 minutes) with a smidge of salt. They can be ground up and put into smoothies and baked offerings, or eaten alone.
When you buy the seeds at the natural food market or online, usually they are just the hulled seeds, but these are still packed with the nutrition and immunity-boosting Vitamin A needed to carry you through the winter.
Super Immunity Starts in October
October is the crucial time to plan for optimal winter health. Incorporating these three herbs into your daily diet will help keep you healthy so your workouts don’t suffer in wintertime – when you need them most.
To learn more about using herbs and plants to optimize immunity all year long, check out my book, Immune System Boosters: How To Naturally Boost Your Immune System & Stay Healthy All Year Long.