The cold and flu season is here once again with this year shaping up to be a pretty rough one compared to previous years. Use the information in this post to minimize the length of an illness or avoid it altogether.
A traditional Western diet is (surprise!) not compatible with good health. A diet over saturated with white bread, meat, alcohol and sugar will inevitably lead to a rarely talked about problem: unbalanced pH levels and eventual acidosis. A proper pH balance is crucial to maintaining good health; when too much acid is present within our bodies we become more vulnerable to viruses and bacteria. Excess acids in the body need to be neutralized and this takes up precious energy the body could be using to maintain itself at optimal levels. When the body is acidic it uses calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium and other minerals to neutralize the acid and remove it from the body; if an acidic environment persists for a prolonged period of time this essentially means that our body’s minerals are perpetually diverted from other important functions. Here’s a list of some problems we will eventually encounter when we have an overly acidic pH:
– Cardiovascular damage, including the constriction of blood vessels and the reduction of oxygen.
– Weight gain, obesity and diabetes.
– Bladder and kidney conditions, including kidney stones.
– Immune deficiency.
– Acceleration of free radical damage, possibly contributing to cancerous mutations.
– Hormone concerns.
– Premature aging.
– Osteoporosis; weak, brittle bones, hip fractures and bone spurs.
– Joint pain, aching muscles and lactic acid buildup.
– Low energy and chronic fatigue.
– Slow digestion and elimination.
– Yeast/fungal overgrowth.
Here’s a chart of acidic vs alkaline foods to help illustrate how we can achieve a proper balance:
(click to view full size)
As we can see, some of the most popular foods and drinks in the Western diet are also the most acidic. If your goal is to avoid the cold and flu, or shorten their duration, it would be a good idea to minimize the amount of acidic food in your diet and increase the alkaline foods. For those like myself who are on a budget this is probably one of the best options. Organic foods, supplements and other health products can be expensive, but we can get closer to optimum health by simply cutting out some foods from our diet and adding in others.
Phil of Good Mind Seeds has some advice for those looking to fight off the bugs and germs of winter:
Slowly chew raw garlic to coat the throat with its juices. Saltwater gargle after eating and drinking to keep any food and bacteria away from your throat. Wild black cherry bark is good for the throat – keeps it clean and free of bacterial mucus. Drink tons of fluids but make sure you keep up your electrolytes with a onion garlic broth with salt. Oregano, thyme and sage in the broth will serve to kill a wider range of pathogens in your throat and also decrease inflammation in the sinus and lungs. Small nibbles of cedar leaves stop coughing but too much will cause kidney stones. if you have access to an herb store i recommend astragalus for the immune system. You can also take osha for cough, and elderberry for immune too. Licorice root will help check any infection in the lungs along with the osha but if the cough persists with those you might want to consider going to a doctor eventually. After 2 weeks of a persistent cough i will go to a doc to prevent pneumonia.
My own cold/flu remedy involves trying not to get it in the first place, but of course this is not always possible. I’ve started using raw honey and bee pollen with organic cinnamon taken twice a day with a glass of warm water to help ward off germs. I’ve also recently decided to dramatically reduce my wheat and sugar intake and essentially eliminate alcohol from my diet (though this can be very hard to do at social functions). Creating an internal environment that’s conducive to good health is key; this way even if you do get sick you’ll be able to bounce back relatively quickly. Also keep in mind that taking herbal supplements and vitamins is pointless when your body has an overly acidic pH because then they cannot be absorbed – a balanced pH level is a necessity for good health!
For those who live in or near Philadelphia I would suggest checking out Fair Food Farmstand and the Herbiary, both located inside the Reading Terminal Market. There you can find organic foods and supplements at reasonable prices; Fair Food Farmstand even accepts EBT and offers a “double dollars” service for low income people, giving us more much needed access to healthy, organic foods.
At the Herbiary
So good luck to you all! Go forth and conquer this year’s flu season!