What's up with my nose?! Part 2

So now that you have read about what mucus really is and the things to avoid, let’s talk about the things we can and should do during the winter season!

Things to eat to help ward off mucus and illnesses

  • Raw Honey: Raw honey is packed full of enzymes that are anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral as well as immune stimulating. When picking out honey, go for the local raw honey. Local honey contains the local pollen from the flowers the honey bees pollinate therefore becoming wildly anti-inflammatory and a great option for those who suffer from seasonal allergies. Caution with purchasing those store brand honey’s. This honey that has been filtered and processed to the point where the honey no longer contains pollen and essentially reduced to just sugar and possibly more added food coloring to make it look like smooth clear rich honey. To make honey more of a routine in your life, add 1 tbsp to afternoon tea or hot water with lemon. Honey is sugar so be sure to not overdo it each day if you have a medical condition that is sensitive to blood sugar changes. *Note: Do do not give honey to children under the age of 12 months for risk of botulinum toxin exposure.*
  • Berries: Pick your favorite: blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, or even goji berries. Berries in general have been known to be anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory on top of containing minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients we need on a daily basis. Most berries pack a flavorful punch while being immune system activating due to their high amounts of anthocyanins and flavenoids. Added bonus, goji berries are anti-viral so double plus if you are battling a viral infection. 
  • Whole Foods: We can have a well balanced meal with nutrient dense foods that boost our immune system. What are nutrient dense foods you ask? They are those whole vegetables and fruits you find in the produce section NOT in fancy packages or labels. When we start shopping those center isles of our local grocery store, we start getting into dangerous territory with packaged foods loaded full of preservatives, added sugars (see below), and chemicals that we can’t even begin to guess how they are pronounced. I know its tough to always have fresh vegetables and fruits on hand daily, I get it. Life gets busy. But what if we buy a little extra, prepare it and freeze it for later for those days when you look in your fridge and think you have nothing to eat. Psych, you have homemade frozen meals made from fresh whole foods!

So now what other things can we do to keep sickness at bay?

  • Alternating Hot and Cold Baths: This is such an easy and essentially free way to boost that immune system and maintain mucus and lymphatic movement. Our lymphatic system is that system full of those things called antibodies and other great things that help us ward off everything that doesn't belong in our body so when we stimulate it, we are essentially boosting our immunity and allowing our body to ward off illness easier and faster. There are many ways and varieties of hydrotherapy out there but I will share with you one simple method for you at home. If you are taking a bath, before getting into your bath, take 2 hand towels and soak them in very cold/icy water and wring out. Place in a bin next to bath. After soaking in your bath for minimum 2 minutes, place one hand towel over chest with chest out of the hot water and let it stay there for 30 seconds. Remove cold towel and soak in the hot bath again. Repeat same application again with second towel. If you are in the shower, you can do this without towels by either finishing your shower with a cold spray to the chest for 20-30 seconds or alternate hot water for 2 minutes then cold water for 30 seconds to your chest. Repeat up to 3 times. You just did your body a huge favor. Oh and an extra perk, it helps with sleep and stress reduction too!
  • Home ultrasonic humidifier: With the cold winter air, we also sometimes see a drier climate. If you live in the altitude like I do, you know how dry it can get- from bloody noses to cracked skin. It is really important to humidify the space you spend most of your time in to prevent the drying out of your outer and inner skin. Thanks to today’s increasing popularity of essential oils, there has been a resurgence of ultrasonic humidifier sales and they are now widely available. You do not need to use any essential oils to humidify but they can be an added bonus if you choose. Before you go to bed, add water to your ultrasonic humidifier and let it run through the night next to your bed. You will less likely wake up with a clogged up or bloody nose. Always be sure to use filtered water and clean the humidifier regularly to prevent mold growth
  • Nasal Spray or Wrinse: By lubricating our inner skin we are helping our inner skin stay hydrated therefore we get less swelling of our mucus membranes and less mucus production to keep moisture there. This treatment is only a palliative treatment and should not be used long term as it can irritate the skin with long term use. As addressed above, be sure to use filtered or sterile water and clean devices regularly to prevent mold growth.
  • Take a Multivitamin: Sometimes we have poor eating habits and sometimes we don’t, but to make sure we are getting all of those nutrients, we can take a multivitamin that includes vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin A, all of which help keep our immune system in balance. 
  • Keep Moving: Exercise! Don’t let that cold air keep you from staying active. Yes, staying active is still one of the best ways to stay healthy. When we choose to increase our heart rate, we are therefore moving blood and lymph through our bodies to prevent stasis. Movement doesn’t always have to be high intensity exercising but also includes yoga. When we create a healthy balance in mind, mood, and body, we are in harmony with the world and create positive energy. And believe it or not our positive energy intention and stress reduction techniques are felt throughout every cell in our bodies thus warding off illness naturally long term! So pick your favorite form of exercise and make it a priority by scheduling that time for yourself every week.
  • Drink Water: All in all, this is ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT points I am making today. And here is a secret, it isn’t about any special ionized or hydrolyzed water. We are talking about plain old clean water because this is what our body needs. Our bodies are made up mostly of water, if we let that water amount down, we start to experience things like headache, fatigue, brain fog, thickened mucus, illness, and the list goes on. As we drink water, we are continually preventing those bugs from adhering to our inner skin as well as maintaining a healthy mucus membrane. If you are like me and have a hard time staying hydrated, I recommend finding a water bottle you think is cool so you end up thinking about it often and always placing it in eye’s sight whether that be on your desk at work or school or in the car cup holder. (pause for a drink of water). 
  • Cover your mouth and nose: Yes, this is how illnesses can be spread so be sure to wash you hands regularly with good old fashion soap and water and cover your sneezes and coughs!

Here to empower you with the knowledge of healthiness,
Dr. Meg


Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. There are no financial ties to any supplement companies, pharmaceutical companies, or to any of the products mentioned in this post. This post is not meant to treat, cure, prevent, or diagnose conditions or diseases and is meant for educational purposes. As always, please consult your doctor before trying any new treatments or supplements. 


References:

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Bryant V, Jones G. The r‐values of honey: Pollen coefficients. Palynology. 2001;25(1):11-28. doi:10.1080/01916122.2001.9989554.

Children should eat less than 25 grams of added sugars daily | American Heart Association. Newsroomheartorg. 2017. Available at: http://newsroom.heart.org/news/children-should-eat-less-than-25-grams-of-added-sugars-daily. Accessed December 18, 2017.

Added Sugars. Heartorg. 2017. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Added-Sugars_UCM_305858_Article.jsp#.WjgqrbaZPVo. Accessed December 18, 2017.

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Wal J. Bovine milk allergenicity. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. 2004;93(5):S2-S11. doi:10.1016/s1081-1206(10)61726-7.

Www-uptodate-comnunmidmoclcorg. 2017. Available at: https://www-uptodate-com.nunm.idm.oclc.org/contents/chronic-nonallergic-rhinitis?search=vasomotor%20rhinitis&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~67&usage_type=default&display_rank=1. Accessed December 18, 2017.

Gaby MD, A. Nutritional Medicine. 2nd ed. Concord: Fritz Perlberg Publishing; 2017:23-29.

Segerstrom S. Optimism and immunity: Do positive thoughts always lead to positive effects?. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 2005;19(3):195-200. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2004.08.003.

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Lauren CarterMucus, Seasonal