"If I feel something coming on, I eat a big bowl of lightly steamed broccoli with fresh garlic and olive oil, and hydrate with lemon water and echinacea tea." -Coach Brandee Ellis, MS, RDN, CDN
“I love that it has a ton of vitamin C and is also real food. It’s also high in fiber, which helps keeps the gut moving. Your gut is a pathway to your immune system.” -Coach Brandee Ellis, MS, RDN, CDN
"If I'm already in it, spicy pho for dinner, lots of rest, nedi pot and humidifier with eucalyptus. I make my own cough syrup too." -Coach Brandee Ellis, MS, RDN, CDN
Avoid sharing, wash your hands, get enough sleep, load up on vitamin C ... what do you really need to know to stay healthy through the dreaded cold and flu season? Understanding the common links between most cold and flu remedies will help you make informed decisions beyond a tip or two. Here are the three distinct categories into which popular remedies fall.
Sip lemon tea, take a ginger shot, have a spoonful of honey, drink OJ, eat your veggies -- you may have already noticed that most nutrition-focused remedies encourage eating plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans) and that is not a coincidence. For your system to fight illness, your cells need energy – and there’s no better fuel for cellular energy than the platter of micro-nutrients, phytonutrients and complete proteins contained in foods from the earth. (Conversely, foods with chemicals, added sugar and hormones will deplete your cellular energy.)
Bottom line: Don’t worry about which specific foods do what – instead, make sure that you are proportionately choosing more of your foods from plant sources.
During cold and flu season, inflammation can be particularly destructive as it depletes your immune system’s resources and leaves you vulnerable. What is inflammation? Your body's response to anything that it deems a threat -- from an allergen to physical strain to mental stress. How do you know if you have it? Symptoms can include blemishes, dry skin, weight gain, brain fog, lethargy and a host of mental health issues.
Bottom line: Adopting practices that send your system signals that it is safe (sleeping and eating well, meditation, exercise) will prevent its defense system from stepping in.
Touching germs with your hands alone won’t make you sick; it’s when they cross the three mucus membranes – eyes, nose, mouth – that sickness can occur. Since germs can live on surfaces for 24 hours, it’s a good idea to wash your hands thoroughly (20 seconds is the benchmark) and give your phone and keyboards a wipe down every few hours too. Still not sure how long to wash? Check out this CDC tutorial.
Bottom line: If you haven’t had a chance to suds up, take care not to rub your eyes, pick your teeth, etc.
KKR Coaching is currently available in New York, San Francisco, Menlo Park and London. To learn more about the program, visit kkr-wellnessworks.com/coaching.
Still need a flu shot?