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Cold Temperatures and Colds, and What You Can Do to Avoid Colds

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Cold Temperatures and Colds, and What You Can Do to Avoid Colds

Are you more likely to catch a cold when the temperatures outside are colder? When I was growing up as a kid, that was the common thought, and yet in later years a lot of information came out that colds are caused by viruses, not cold temperatures. Well, recently I came across some research that shows why temperatures can also be a factor in your ability to fight off colds. Here’s the link to the USA Today article:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/01/07/colds-more-common-in-cold-winter/21385309/

According to this research, our noses don’t work as well in colder temperatures—chemicals that our body normally produces to detect and fight infection are hindered when our noses are colder. This is a logical reason that rhinoviruses are more common during cold weather. (Another factor, of course, is that more people stay inside during cold weather and are therefore in close proximity to others more often.)

Nevertheless, even with “colder noses” we can take steps to boost our immunity, and in the rest of this article I would like to discuss some strategies for strengthening your immune system against colds. These strategies have worked great for me, as I rarely catch colds—about once every 2-4 years.

Ideas to Strengthen Your Immune System Against Colds

Beyond the usual common-sense adages such as being sure to get plentiful sleep, eating a healthy and well-balanced diet, and washing your hands more often, I have found the following items to be very helpful.

  • Deep abdominal breathing
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Herbal Complex
  • Fish Oil

Deep abdominal breathing (diaphragmatic breathing) helps to bring more oxygen into the body, which in turn promotes a stronger immune response. As babies we tend to breathe from the belly, but as we age and as stress accumulates in our bodies, we move towards more chest breathing. We also tend to take shallow conversational breaths, which doesn’t help our oxygen intake at all. The next time you’re sitting at the computer or at your desk, take note of your breathing—is it shallow or deep? I have a pretty good idea that for many it is shallow. That’s a good time to take a short break from your work to enjoy some relaxed and deep abdominal breathing. It helps to put a hand on your belly and note the expansion as you inhale, and return to original position as you exhale. This YouTube video has a nice demonstration of abdominal breathing.

Belly breathing requires less energy and has the additional benefit of massaging your internal organs.

I regularly take a good-quality vitamin B complex. The particular one I like from Swanson is their “Super Stress B-Complex with Vitamin C,” which includes as ingredients vitamin C, vitamin B-1, vitamin B-2, Niacin, vitamin B-6, Folic Acid, vitamin B-12, Biotin, and Pantothenic Acid. I take this supplement almost daily; Swanson’s version can be accessed here.

Some of the benefits including anti-stress qualities are mentioned in this University of Maryland Medical System webpage: http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-b1-thiamine.

Many herbs such as ginger and garlic have natural anti-viral and antibiotic qualities. (An article for another time is how herbs can help solve the medical crisis of super-bugs that have developed resistance to antibiotics.) One product I use if it seems that a cold could be coming on is the herbal complex Super Viragon®, which can be found on Baseline Nutritionals’ website here.

The ingredients include fresh ginger root, fresh onion root, olive leaf extract, fresh garlic bulb, fresh horseradish root, fresh habanero fruit, liquid ionic zinc, wild mountain oil of oregano, bryonia alba, pulsatilla, apple cider vinegar and d-Limonene. I don’t use this product on a daily basis—only when I feel that my resistance level may be down. The formula was developed by Jon Barron; to see his thoughts on the immune system and destroying pathogens, to to http://jonbarron.org/article/herbs-boost-your-immunity#.VLFT-orF-Xw.

Fish oil is anti-inflammatory and helps to restore a proper ratio of omega-3 fats to omega-6 fats. I have written in more depth about fish oil here.

Do a search online and you will find other favorites that people like to use against colds such as zinc and Echinacea, but the above is what has worked especially well for me personally. Here’s to a healthy winter for all!

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