Want To Lose Weight Faster? Try These Workouts

Photo credit: Petr Kratochvil [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Exercise is one of the most important factors for a healthy lifestyle. If you want to lose weight fast, then it’s essential that you choose the right workouts for the best results. Workouts are also needed to both tone muscle and keep the mind and body healthy.

The idea of ‘working out’ doesn’t have to incorporate a session at the gym. The term ‘workout’ means “a practice or exercise to improve one’s fitness,” or “a session of vigorous physical training.” So any kind of intensive activity can be classed as a workout.

 

Here are some excellent workouts to try if you want to lose weight faster.

  • Walking. This might sound like it is too simple for to be called a ‘workout’, but if you currently have a sedentary lifestyle, then walking can be ideal. Walking has been described as a low-intensity activity to lose weight. It should be possible to burn up to 360 calories in 45 minutes. This means that walking 45 minutes per day a person can lose around a pound a week.
  • Swimming. Swimming is a great way to lose extra pounds. Depending on the type of swimming, a person can burn between 450 and 700 calories an hour. This is a low impact workout as the body isn’t subject to the bumps and strains of lifting weights or running. It’s a good form of exercise for people with other health issues like obesity, arthritis, and asthma.
  • Kettlebells. What are they? Cast iron balls that have a single handle. The interesting aspect of using kettlebells in a workout is that, because the weight isn’t distributed evenly, the body has to work to counterbalance kettlebell’s weight. Kettlebell workouts can burn around 400 calories in about 20 minutes. In terms of cardiovascular benefits, a workout with a kettlebell can be the equivalent to running six miles.
  • Jumping/skipping rope. This shouldn’t be resigned to the school playground. A jumping rope workout can help you burn up to 800 calories in an hour. Just 10 minutes of this type of workout is the same as running a mile. There are more than just cardiovascular benefits to using a jumping rope. It’s also a great way to improve endurance, coordination, and agility. It’s more intensive that other workouts, but this means that you don’t have to do it as long.
  • Squats. Squats burn fat fast and build muscle. Squat exercises use most of the muscles in the body. Why is this important? The more muscle mass a person has, the better his metabolism, and therefore calories will be burned faster. Squat workouts can be used with or without weights, therefore perfect for either home exercising or at the gym.
  • Lunges. These can be performed at home and no equipment is needed. They are great exercises to tone your lower body, but more importantly they great for burning calories. It’s estimated that a person can burn around 275 calories in a 30-minute workout. There are various types of lunges, even ‘explosive lunges.’
  • Bicycling is another low-impact, high-rewards activity for losing weight. Depending on how fast a person cycles and the type of terrain, it is possible to burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour. Cycling can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle. For example, you could cycle to work or use the bicycle for leisure time. If that’s not possible, then most gyms have cycles.
  • Running. This is the ‘classic’ workout for losing weight. Running is great for strengthening muscle, improving the cardiovascular system and is generally good for the whole body and mind. It only requires a good pair of running shoes and a music player to help you keep pace. Even better is to use high-intensity interval running. This involves short bursts of running at top speed, then a slowing the pace before the next burst.

5 Simple Ways to Smarter, Healthier Eating

Photo credit: Jeff Krugh, CC BY-SA 4.0

The last few centuries have seen a lot of technological advances for us as a species. One of those significant advances was to change the way we farm and produce food. It used to be a deeply personal experience. We grew our own food, preserved it, hunted, and bartered with our community for the items we could not provide for ourselves. These days the majority get their food from huge factory farms. These farms are so massive in scale and the contamination factor so great that they often sterilize our food to make it safe for consumption. We have effectively removed ourselves from the process and become reliant on corporations to make our food choices for us. The rise of obesity, diabetes, and numerous other health problems indicates that we need to regain control of our food choices. Here are some simple ways to immediately improve what you eat:

1. Eat grass-fed and pastured meat and eggs. Factory farms mistreat their animals and feed them substandard food. When you consume an unhealthy animal, you’re not providing adequate nutrition to your own body. Animals allowed to graze and eat a diet natural to them are leaner than their “fattened” counterparts, they have more omega-3 fatty acids, and they’re more nutrient-dense.

2. Ferment your food. The fermentation process inactivates most of the anti-nutrients in certain foods so that they are easier to digest, and our body can make better use of their nutrients. Fermentation also creates healthy live bacteria and yeast. Our digestive system needs these beneficial bacteria to form a balance and to do its job effectively. You can ferment many foods in your own home for little money. Try starting with a simple vegetable ferment by soaking vegetables in a salt brine. You can ferment almost any vegetable like peppers, cauliflower, beets, cucumbers, carrots, or asparagus – the list goes on.  

If you choose not to ferment your food at home, visit your local grocery store and purchase fermented veggies, snacks, or drinks. Be sure to check the ingredients list for “Live and Active Cultures” or “Live Active Cultures.” The healthiest products will be those that list the different strains of live probiotics by name, such as Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium, and should mention how many millions of cultures are within.

3. Consume raw, pastured dairy. If you can get raw dairy in your location, it’s well worth the investment in your health. Raw dairy has healthy bacteria and numerous vitamins and nutrients that are destroyed during the pasteurization process associated with conventional milk. Many people with milk allergies find that they can’t drink regular milk, but they can consume raw. Use raw milk to make healthier versions of yogurt, butter, and kefir.

4. Shop the farmer’s market for local foods. Supermarket foods often travel weeks to get to you, and they’re less than fresh by the time they reach your plate. The nutrient loss associated with these foods is significant. Farmer’s markets usually have fruits and veggies picked that same day, and you would do better to shop there. For more fresh local produce, look into CSAs or visit your local farms yourself.

5. Grow your own or pick your own. Many people are reluctant or unsure of how to grow their own food, but they don’t have to be. Start by selecting one or two items you eat a lot of and planting those in pots or raised beds. Use seed or even buy starter plants from a local nursery. Growing your own tomatoes or strawberries, for instance, is a great start to being more self-sufficient. If you don’t have the resources or the time to grow your own food, you can still harvest fresh produce at local pick-your-own farms. These farms allow you to walk the rows of their crops and pick your own food. Raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, pumpkins, apples, sweet corn, squash, and beans are examples of popular pick your crops.

4 Nutrient-Rich Superfoods to Boost a Healthy Diet

Photo Credit: Diego CC-BY-2.0 2008

Looking good, feeling good and being healthy starts with good nutrition and exercise. Some foods contain more essential vitamins and nutrients per serving than other foods. It is important that you know the nutritional value of the foods you eat, especially if you are trying to lose weight. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that people need to eat more fruits vegetables, dairy and whole grain foods. A tasty way to add more of these foods to your diet is to eat more yogurt or low-fat milk, dry beans, eggs, and nuts.

Beans

Dry beans are rich in protein, magnesium, potassium and carbohydrates.  They are an excellent low-fat source of nutrition. In addition to vital minerals and protein, dry beans provide an abundant source of fiber that can help lower cholesterol and keep your digestive tract functioning well. Beans are a good substitute for meat or as a side dish when chicken or turkey is the main course. You can add beans to soups and gumbo dishes for extra nutrition and flavor. Thoroughly wash dried beans and soak them in cold water for about an hour. Cook dry beans slowly over medium heat until the bean is tender.

Yogurt

Low-fat and fat-free yogurt contains more calcium than a glass of milk. Yogurt also contains protein, Vitamin  D and potassium. Some brands of yogurt include probiotics that help to maintain the balance of good bacteria in your digestive tract. Add some raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or oatmeal to sweeten your plain yogurt. Berries and granola added to your yogurt makes it tastier and you get the nutritional benefits of the fruit and grains. Add yogurt to dessert recipes to replace a portion of cream cheese.

Eggs

Eggs are among the most versatile and nutrition-packed foods you can eat. Eggs are loaded with protein, almost all the vitamins and minerals your body needs and they contain choline for healthy brain development. Most people think of eggs for breakfast, but they may be eaten at other times, too. Hard boiled eggs are a great snack, or an egg salad sandwich made with low-fat mayonnaise on whole wheat bread is a nutritious lunch.

Nuts

Nuts in small portions or added to salads are a great way to get more protein, fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants in your diet. Try some  almonds, peanuts, walnuts, or pecans alone, in salads or in low-fat yogurt for a delicious way to enjoy a daily dose of extra nutrition. Add nuts  to your breakfast cereal, oatmeal or baked in cakes and breads.

Can Stress Sabotage Your Weight Loss Efforts?

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We face more stress today than we ever have before, but can stress sabotage your weight loss efforts? Well, it depends. If you find you’re constantly under stress and struggling with weight issues, then it’s probably a good idea to take a look at the level of stress in your life. You can experience stress in relationships, at work, financial hardships, moving, sitting in a traffic jam, losing a loved one, and so much more. If stress becomes chronic, it can lead to a cascade of chemical responses in the body and bring weight loss to a screeching halt. Learning to recognize stress triggers and how stress affects the body can help you to reach your weight loss goals and keep the extra pounds off.

How is stress sabotaging your weight loss effort?

The Body’s Response to Stress

When stress is triggered, the body releases hormones that have different effects. The primary stress response hormones are epinephrine and cortisol. The stress response is commonly referred to as the fight for flight response.

Flight or fight response

During this phase of the stress response, people experience increased heart rate, increased respiration, and a slowing of the digestive tract company with a release of glucose and fats into the bloodstream. The body also releases cortisol during the stress.

What Does Cortisol Do?

When cortisol dumps fat and glucose in the bloodstream, it’s designed to help you have access to quick energy when outrunning a lion.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many lions in our current environment, only traffic jams and demanding bosses.

So now, instead of using up all of the energy that cortisol pumped into your bloodstream, you have extra nutrients, glucose and fat just sitting around.

Not only does cortisol have the ability to release nutrients into the bloodstream, it also stops the digestive process. What does that mean for weight loss?

Insulin & Cortisol 

  • Cortisol has a direct negative impact on insulin. Cortisol suppresses insulin, the hormone that lowers blood sugar. If your cortisol levels remain high due to chronic stress, it will lead to poor blood sugar regulation and many other health problems such as obesity, moods swings, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
  • Cortisol also inhibits the muscle’s ability to take in amino acids, which can lead to fatigue because the muscles are not being properly fed.
  • Finally, cortisol partially shuts down the body’s immune system because when you’re running away from the bear, you don’t need to be fighting off the common cold. This means that chronically stressed people are more prone to illness.

So, what does this have to do with weight loss?

When the body responds to stress, all of the normal hormonal processes change. Instead of handling food, feeding muscles, fighting illness, and using fat, your body is doing the exact opposite…

Getting sick, losing muscle, storing food, and storing fat.

Increased hunger

The increased appetite that’s often associated with stress becomes more problematic when stress shuts down and alters the body’s ability to process food.

Fat becomes more easily stored and less used for energy. These changes happen in the body because of the excess glucose. When you are consuming more calories, and burning less of them, you’re going to store more fat.

Easy energy

Excess blood sugar happens during the stress response, and the body will always use glucose first. The process to convert glucose to energy is simple. Our bodies are nothing if not efficient. Stress provides a constant source of glucose. The rapid source of energy stops your body from using fat stores.

Your metabolism is lazy. It will always pick the power supply (glucose, amino acids, and triglycerides) that is easiest to process (glucose).

Positive ways to manage stress

Fortunately, the case for stress sabotaging weight loss is not hopeless. There are plenty of things that you can do to reduce your body’s response to stress.

Exercise

Exercise helps lower the body’s response to stress, and it is a wonderful way to get the right hormones in surplus within the body. Without exercise, many people would live in a chronic stressed out state.

Meditation/Prayer

Individuals who pray regularly and/or meditate regularly are usually better able to handle what life hands them.

Meditation and prayer have a calming effect that is seen well after the actual prayer and meditation stop.

Deep Breathing

When traffic hits or your boss goes berserk, stop and take a few long, deep breaths. This interrupts the stress response by slowing your respirations. Not allowing your heart rate to accelerate.

People who exercise, meditate, pray, and practice deep breathing all have statistically lower body weights.

Can this be because of their ability to handle stress better?

How do you combat daily stress?

Top Heart-Healthy Foods: Best Foods for Cardiovascular Health

With all the hype about “heart healthy” foods, it can be tough to know whether your diet is good for your heart. Obvious foods to avoid or to consume in moderation include alcohol, caffeine, sodium and sugar. According to the American Heart Association, less than 1% of adults, and virtually no children, meet the ideal diet guidelines. About 68% of adults in the USA are either overweight or obese. Some simple changes to your diet can help maintain or improve your heart health.

Reduce the saturated fat in your diet by switching from butter and other saturated fats to extra virgin olive oil for cooking. Extra virgin olive oil has a light flavor that won’t overwhelm your recipes and it’s rich in antioxidants. Replacing butter and other fats in your diet can help reduce your cholesterol. Use extra virgin olive oil to stir-fry vegetables or add herbs and pour over salads or brush on whole grain breads.

Sweet potatoes are a good choice to replace white potatoes. White potatoes can cause a quick spike in blood sugar, but sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index. They are rich in fiber, vitamin A and lycopene which helps maintain heart health. Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet so you don’t have to add sugar. You can enhance their flavor by adding cinnamon, which is also good for your heart.

Barley is a flavorful whole grain that you can use in place of white rice. Add barley to soup, stews or simmer with herbs and serve as a side dish. Barley can help lower your cholesterol, too.  Oats in any form can help improve your heart health by reducing your cholesterol. Oats are digested slowly which keeps you feeling full for hours and stabilizes your blood sugar. Replace 30% of white flour in recipes with oats or oat flour when you bake muffins, cookies, or make pancakes.

Fruits and berries are a delicious way to reduce processed sugar in your diet while increasing fiber and antioxidants. Blueberries contain lutein, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and loads of fiber. Cherries, raspberries and blackberries also contain these heart healthy nutrients. Add fresh fruit to low-fat yogurt, pancakes, muffins and salads.

Red meat is rich in protein but contains fats that, over time, can increase your cholesterol. Replace two red meat meals each week with fish. Fish, especially salmon, contain omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for a healthy heart. Salmon is delicious when baked with herbs and served with steamed or stir-fried vegetables.

Leave the salt in the pantry and cook with fresh or dried herbs. Herbs not only add rich flavor to food, they also contain powerful antioxidants to help reduce cell damage. Herbs should be part of your diet to help reduce heart disease, fight high cholesterol and reduce your risk of diabetes.

Overall, try to select a variety of whole foods over processed foods whenever possible. A well-balanced diet, daily exercise, stress management, and adequate sleep are some of the essentials for preventing heart disease and boosting heart health.

3 Best Sources of Veggie Protein

High cholesterol, heart disease, and obesity are serious health problems associated with eating a high-fat diet. Fatty meats, such as beef and pork, can increase the fat in your blood and raise cholesterol to unhealthy levels, leading to coronary artery disease and heart disease. One way to cut the fat in your diet is to eat less meat. While meat contains a rich source of protein, you can also get sufficient protein from vegetables. Protein is an essential nutrient, but you don’t need to consume a lot of it to be healthy. The recommended daily allowance of protein for most people is about 0.36 grams of protein for every pound of your body weight. For the average adult, this is about 50 grams of protein per day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.gov), women need about 46 grams and men 56 grams of protein each day. You may be concerned about getting enough protein if you eat less meat to help reduce cholesterol and fat in your diet. With some planning, even vegetarians and vegans can get enough essential protein by eating vegetables and grains.

The avocado is one of the richest vegetable sources of protein. Technically a fruit, avocado contains about 4 grams of protein per cup. Avocado also includes all the essential amino acids to build muscle tissue and make the additional proteins your body needs. Amino acids are crucial for building and repairing muscle tissue and critical to a healthy immune system. When you eat avocados, you get the added benefit of omega-3 fatty acids that are important for a healthy heart. Fresh, raw avocado is the best choice for protein. Eat it raw, sliced on a salad, a sandwich, or lightly sautéed in avocado oil. Try adding some avocado oil to your salad for a delicious, nutritious alternative to high-calorie, high-fat, and bottled dressings.

All legumes are high in protein, and peas are no exception. One cup of peas contains almost 8 grams of protein. Peas are a great option as a side dish, in soups, or eaten raw in salads. You can also blend peas into a dip or pesto, prepare as hummus, or add fresh peas to fruit smoothies. Other beans to add to your diet for protein include kidney beans, pinto beans, and black beans. Two cups of kidney beans contain more than 25 grams of protein or about half of the daily recommended amount of protein for the average adult male. Consume beans alone, as a side dish, or add to soups, stews, and salads. Try adding black beans to whole grain rice. If you buy dry beans, soak them overnight in plain water. Rinse and then cook them until tender.

Soy is a nutritious source of vegetable protein. Many people enjoy soy as a meat substitute and the main ingredient in veggie burgers. Even if you don’t like soy as a meat substitute, you might love edamame. Edamame is simply an immature soybean, still in the pod, like snow peas, except you don’t eat the bean pod. You can eat edamame raw or cooked, boiled, steamed, and hot or cold. Try it cooked and sprinkled with salt as an appetizer, a side dish, or add it to salads and pasta. Roast edamame like chickpeas and serve alone or as a side dish. One-half cup of edamame contains more than 8 grams of protein.

 

 

References:

Centers of Disease Control:  Protein

http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/protein.html

 

Photo credit:

Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

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Cyclonebill from Copenhagen, Denmark (Friske ærter Uploaded by FAEP) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Cyclonebill from Copenhagen, Denmark (Edamame Uploaded by FAEP) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Best Morning Exercises to Energize Your Day

Photo credit: Pedro Simões CC-BY-2.0 2009

We’ve all had days when we didn’t want to get out of bed. To energize your body for the day ahead, try doing some Pilates or other exercises right in your bed. Perform stretching exercises in your bed before you go down for your morning coffee and breakfast to jump-start your metabolism. A morning workout in your bed can help you have more energy for your regular workout routine later in the day. Your mind and body will ready to take on whatever challenges come your way throughout the day. Throw back the covers and exercise!

After hours of sleeping, your back may feel a bit stiff. Roll your body into a ball to stretch out your spine and work your abs. Sit up in bed and bring your knees to your chest. Hold your knees with your hands, and then curve your back by bending forward over your knees. Roll back on the bed on your back and then roll to the upright position again. Perform this exercise for 10 repetitions.

Strengthen and energize your core muscles by doing some leg lifts next. Stretch out on your bed with your legs extended and your arms relaxed by your side. Point your toes toward the ceiling. Lift your left heel off the bed about 12 inches. Lower your left leg until your heel is approximately 1 inch from the bed. Hold your leg off the bed for about 10 seconds, and then raise your leg back up. Repeat 10 times for each leg.

Bring your knees up to your chest and point your toes. Lift your head and shoulders off the bed, using only your abdominal muscles. Hold this position for about 10 to 15 seconds and then relax. Repeat this exercise 10 times. Stretch your abdominal and back muscles next by bending your knees so that your lower legs are parallel to the bed. Keep your feet and knees together, and your shoulders flat against the bed. Swing both knees to the right side of the bed. Try to keep your shoulders on the bed. Hold for 10 seconds and then swing your legs to the left side. Do 10 repetitions for each side.

Midlife Metabolism Boost

In simple terms, metabolism is the chemical action of transforming nutrients in food into energy.

Metabolism is a complex set of chemical reactions between enzymes in your cells and the food you eat. Your metabolism is responsible for using energy or storing that energy as fat cells for use later.

Unfortunately, many of us tend to store more energy than we use, particularly after age 40, and you may notice that you can’t eat everything you used to eat without gaining weight.

These changes usually occur because of a slowing of the metabolic processes that convert food into energy, and a natural slowing of your metabolism combined with less physical activity than when you were younger.

There are ways you can stimulate your metabolism after age 40 to lose weight and maintain your weight. Be selective about what you eat. You could probably eat cheeseburgers, French fries, and ice cream when you were younger without worrying about gaining 10 pounds.

After age 40, you have to be pickier about what you eat. There are foods you can eat that will help stimulate your metabolism without sacrificing the enjoyment of food. Cut back on the junk food and add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. You can get the carbohydrates and protein your body needs for energy and strong muscles and bones by eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.

Replace highly processed foods, such as white flour and frozen dinners, with fresh, whole foods. Whole foods, or unprocessed foods, make your digestive system work harder to digest and stimulate your metabolism. Your digestion will also improve with the addition of natural fiber and help you feel full so that you eat less.

Balance your diet by taking out foods that make you feel sluggish with foods that energize your body. Replace processed flour, sugars, and other carbohydrates with natural foods that will boost your metabolism. Add green tea and water to replace sugary sodas. Switch potato chips and fatty dips with fresh vegetables and low-fat fresh dips, such as guacamole or low-fat sour cream-based dips. Cut out candy and replace it with sweet, fresh berries and fruits.

Exercise will also help to boost your metabolism. Any form of exercise is good for your body. Start slowly if you have been inactive for a long time and get a complete check-up from your doctor. When you receive the all-clear, start by walking or riding a bike for a few minutes each day. Increase the amount of time you spend exercising by 5 to 10 minutes each week until you can exercise at least 30 minutes each day.

Try some weight lifting or other strength training exercises to increase your muscle mass. Muscle requires more energy than other tissues. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism will be to provide nutrients to muscle tissue.

Simple changes that include substituting bad foods for healthy foods and exercising will boost your metabolism and keep it working at a peak level throughout your life.

 

Nutrition for Women Over Age 50

Photo credit: Katie CC-BY-SA-2.0

As women age, their nutritional needs change. Middle-age women may gain weight, especially around the hips and belly. Osteoporosis is a serious concern for women after age 50. Proper nutrition plus weight-bearing exercises can help to reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis and fractures. Women are also at risk of losing muscle mass unless they stay active and exercise. Nutrition and exercise also help you to reduce the risk of heart attack, diabetes, and some cancers.

Cut back on your total caloric intake if you start to gain weight. Cutting calories does not mean skimping on nutrition. Replace high-calorie foods with little nutritional value with low-calorie nutrient-rich foods. Instead of a doughnut for breakfast, eat a bowl of hot oatmeal with some fresh blueberries and a cup of low-fat yogurt. Whole grains, fresh fruits, and dairy products provide your body with muscle and bone-building nutrients. Vitamin D and calcium are critical to keeping your bones strong and healthy. Your body can’t absorb calcium without vitamin D. Milk, yogurt and cheese are good sources of both vitamin D and calcium.

Eat more fresh vegetables and get plenty of protein in your diet. Lean meats, poultry, whole grains, and legumes are good sources of protein. Raw vegetables are best, but lightly grilling or steamed vegetables can provide optimal nutrition. Avoid overcooking vegetables to preserve the precious nutrients your body needs. Vegetables and fruits also provide your body with disease and age-fighting antioxidants. Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated. If you think you need a calcium or vitamin supplement, see your doctor.

 

10 Best Natural Antivirals to Kick Viruses to the Curb

Photo credit: Jonathan Billinger / Ripe Elderberries

Whether we like it or not, viruses are part of life. Every  year, the dreaded flu season creeps around the corner, and people scramble to treat every cough and sniffle before it becomes a full-blown case of the flu. Sometimes they’ll go to the doctor to get prescriptions for antivirals, which can be pricey and carries a risk of severe side effects.

Many people don’t realize that there are a plethora of natural antivirals out there that can safely treat influenza as well as other viruses, and help you feel like your old self again!

Evidence-Based Natural Antivirals and How to Use Them

These natural antivirals have been proven to work effectively against most viruses, including influenza A, B, or C, by stopping the RNA from replicating or giving the immune system a boost so it can destroy the virus.

1. Elderberry

The elderberry is a famous ancient fruit known for its potent antioxidant properties. It was used for many years as a folk medicine for various ailments.

A recent study by a group of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering researchers from the University of Sydney found that the compounds from the elderberries have been proven to stop viruses from entering and replicating in human cells, and can also help strengthen the immune response to the infection.

Researchers found that it was even better at stopping viral propagation in the late stages of the flu cycle after the cells had already been infected with the virus.

The most common elderberry remedy is the syrup. While it may taste like sour tart cherry, it’s quite powerful. The fruit compounds are concentrated into an extract by the syrup making process. You can also make your own syrup if you find some fresh elderberries. Here’s an easy recipe.

If the taste or texture of elderberry syrup doesn’t appeal to you, then you may find that elderberry gummies are a better option. Here’s another delicious recipe. Your family’s taste buds will probably thank you.

2. Ginger

Ginger is a cooking spice that is a powerful remedy that knocks viruses out cold. It’s been a part of Asian, Indian, and Arabic medicine for hundreds of years to help cure several health ailments.

Ginger is very beneficial for fighting flu-like symptoms, especially nausea and vomiting, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Their report shows that the active components of ginger root are pungent phenol compounds and oils like gingerols and shogaols.

The usual dose is 1g-4g per day. You could soak shredded ginger roots in warm water, make tea, or create a yummy ginger shot. Some people add ginger flakes to their meals as well. Since it’s a spicy ingredient, it’s not recommended for children under the age of 2.

3. Turmeric

Turmeric is a form of Curcumin, another ancient spice from Asia, with antimicrobial agents that fights effectively against different bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses like influenza or even coronavirus. Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory, bronchodilator, and antihistaminic effects may help relieve respiratory complications caused by a coronavirus.

Curcumin is so potent that it has been proven to decrease staph (even MRSA), listeria, E. coli, and H. pylori contamination. Researchers recently found that Curcumin also inhibited the Rift Valley fever replication in cells. In all, Curcumin is pretty amazing.

This ancient remedy is also beneficial for treating inflammation, which will come in handy for an inflamed throat and lungs from all the coughing during flu season.

Some people like to combine turmeric with ginger and honey for a flu bashing latte, tea, or “golden milk.

4. Garlic

Alliin is a crucial component of raw garlic. When it is crushed or chewed, it becomes allicin, which has been proven in labs to be an effective antiviral that kills bacteria and viruses.

Other studies show garlic can reduce the risk of becoming sick in the first place and cuts the duration of the flu or cold. For example, researchers gave a group of volunteers’ garlic supplements and another group placebo for three months. The garlic group had a 63% decreased risk of getting sick, and their illness was also 70% shorter compared to the placebo group.

Tip: If garlic is cooked, then the allicin may be depleted, so it’s best to consume garlic raw when dealing with the flu. If you’re interested in other garlic remedies, check this out.

5. Vitamin C

Did you know that having the flu can deplete your vitamin C levels? The International Society for Orthomolecular Medicine found that increasing Vitamin C intake to fix the loss can be a powerful tool for treating the flu and the common cold.

After all, it’s an essential nutrient that helps stimulate the cellular functions of the immune system. Numerous studies show it can shorten the lifespan of a severe virus.

You can get vitamin C from fresh food such as oranges, or supplements. Keep in mind that overdoing it on vitamin C supplements with ascorbic acid may cause an upset stomach. The liposomal form of vitamin C is easier on the body to absorb, and rarely causes stomach issues.

There have been many cases where an Intravenous Vitamin C (IVC) therapy cured patients battling a severe viral infection. They were given a pH-neutral form of sodium ascorbate three times a day for several days, many noticed an improvement after the first day.

While you’re at it, add some Vitamin D to your diet. People generally become ill in the winter because their vitamin D levels are low from the lack of sun exposure. Better yet, go outside and enjoy some sun if it’s shining in your area!

6. Echinacea

Echinacea is a flowering plant that has been used in medicine for many centuries. It’s commonly found in the U.S.A. and Canada.

Dr. Jen Tan, an immune system expert, explains that there is evidence of Echinacea purpurea reducing cold and flu symptoms. On top of this, other researchers claim that when echinacea is taken at the first sign of any cold or flu, it can speed up the healing process.

He also mentioned that there is research that shows ingesting echinacea boosts the body’s defense system by increasing white blood cells, monocytes, and neutrophils, which fights the infection.

Echinacea is a supplement that you can take in pill form. If you’d rather have tea, you can go down to your local tea shop to buy dried leaves by the pound, or look for pre-made tea bags like this one. Tip: Add raw honey to your tea to make it taste better and help soothe a sore throat.

7. Oregano

Oregano is not only for making delicious spaghetti, but it’s also an herb with strong antiviral properties. Oil of oregano was researched in 2011 and found effective against respiratory viruses.

Another study in 2013 found that oregano oil can reduce painful symptoms from the flu, such as body aches or a sore throat. The antiviral properties come from an active component called carvacrol, which reduces virus infectivity within 15 minutes of exposure and affects the virus RNA.

You can purchase oregano capsule supplements, add it to your food, or use a tincture. Keep in mind that oregano oil is quite powerful, so it’s best to start off small and see how your body reacts.

8. St. John’s Wort

Also known as “Hypericum perforatum,” the St. John’s wort is a flowering plant that grows in the wild. It’s been used for many years to treat depression and other health issues.

St. John’s Wort has been proven to have antiviral effects against influenza, respiratory, and reproductive viruses. It’s also useful when it comes to treating coronaviruses that cause bronchitis. Like the other natural antivirals mentioned in here, the active components in St. John’s Wort affects the virus RNA.

You can take St. John’s Wort as a supplement in pill form or use as a tincture. Since it may interact with some medicines, consult your doctor first.

9. Manuka Honey

Manuka honey is considered a “superfood” compared to regular raw honey, because of where it’s harvested. Bees collect the nectar of the Manuka flowers along the beautiful landscape of New Zealand.

The honey from manuka flowers has been shown to have strong antibacterial and antiviral properties, which you can use to soothe and kill bacteria or viruses that cause a sore throat.

You can also apply it to infected wounds. Researchers found that it’s effective against the drug-resistant staph virus, also known as MRSA. If it can kill the MRSA, then the flu doesn’t stand a chance!

Adding it to your herbal antiviral tea will give it a healing boost. If you prefer, you could eat 1 tsp directly three times a day. If you can’t find manuka honey at your local store, don’t worry! Raw honey is the next best thing and can be extremely helpful too.

10. Homeopathic Remedies

If you’re still feeling yucky and you want some over-the-counter homeopathic remedies to go along with the natural antivirals, you’re in luck! There are several that you can buy at your local store (or order online).

Oscillococcinum

If you’ve ever talked to a crunchy momma, then there’s a good chance you’ve heard about an over-the-counter homeopathic medicine with a funny name that claims to reduce the severity and duration of the flu, especially when it’s paired up with elderberry syrup.

They’ll also tell you that it works best if you take it within 24-28 hours. If you’re on day 3 or 4 and you’re just now reading this, don’t fret. You can still give it a try. It can help you recover from symptoms associated with the flu.

The key ingredient in Oscillococcinum is Anas Barbariae, which comes from duck heart and liver. There have been studies on the effectiveness of Oscillococcinum against the flu virus. For instance, an analysis by the SciELO Public Health journal about the Cochrane Review on Oscillococcinum concludes that:

1) Oscillococcinum reduced the time needed for recovery.

2) the number of days required to return to work was significantly reduced: 0.49 days less compared to the control (average of 4.1 days)

3) Oscillococcinum increased the likelihood of recovery within 48 hours of starting treatment.

Colloidal Silver

This remedy has been used for various purposes for many years. People that live far away from civilization without easy access to doctors have been known to brew their own colloidal silver. Thankfully, it can be bought nowadays at a local store or online.

While its benefits are still widely debated, researchers have claimed that it attaches to proteins on the cell walls of bacteria or viruses, which damages their cell membranes. This allows the silver ions to move inside the cells, where they can mess up the metabolic processes and cause damage to its DNA and RNA, resulting in the cell’s death.

 

Additional health & wellness resources:

http://www.columbusrecoverycenter.com/well-being-resources/