5 natural remedies to ease a cold

When winter comes around the chances are that you’re going to catch at least one cold. There’s a vaccination for the flu, but not for the common cold! If a cold is upon you then the chances are that you are desperate for ways to ease it. The runny nose, sneezing and headaches are never pleasant. While there is no quick fix, there are certainly some natural remedies that can ease your symptoms and help kick that cold a little sooner.

Keep hydrated

Dehydration is a common symptom of a cold and it’s important to make sure that you are drinking lots of fluids. Water is the best choice but herbal teas (we recommend peppermint for its soothing qualities) or juices will also help. Try to stay away from soft drinks and caffeinated beverages.

Rest
I know that we’re all busier than ever these days, and we’re convinced that no one will be able to cope with out us, but they really will! Let’s face it, no one wants you to come to work sneezing and coughing everywhere. They would prefer you to stay home and rest is what your body needs. Make the most of it, snuggle up in bed, binge watch Netflix and get better!

Drink honey & lemon
Another symptom of a cold is a terribly sore throat. An old but effective remedy to ease this is hot water with a spoonful of honey and a dash of lemon. Honey is also known to help suppress the symptoms of a cough too.

5 natural remedies to ease a cold

Embrace steam!

A hot, steamy shower will not only make you feel better after being in bed all day, the steam is also great for helping with a blocked nose and head cold. Place a few drops of Eucalyptus essential oils nearby too for some added healing benefits (plus it smells amazing!).

Homemade soup

Don’t dismiss the old chicken soup recipe too quickly! When you’re not feeling well, soup is a great way to get some food into you, and there’s nothing wrong with comfort food! For extra benefits add ingredients like ginger and garlic to the soup (or ask Mum too if she’s kind enough to make it for you), as they have the added benefits of helping to ease your symptoms too.  We like this immune boosting chicken soup recipe.

5 natural remedies to ease a cold

Remember to also take high potency Hivita Vitamin C and Zinc to help strengthen your immunity and reduce the length and severity of colds and flu. For the little ones Hivita Liquivita for Kids offers a great immunity boost.

Remember, the main cure for a cold is time, with the average cold lasting 7-10 days. While there’s no ‘quick cure’, easing your symptoms and making yourself feel as good as you can will certainly help. What are you waiting for? Grab some water and soup and get some rest!

ease a cold

How to Maintain Your Health and Fitness During Winter

The winter chill is setting in and so is your human desire to bunker down under blankets, in your heated home, bingeing on Netflix. While there’s nothing wrong with that at least some of the time, it’s easy to find your health and fitness waning as you seek out less of the exercise and more of all the comfort foods you can find! This can lead to added levels of anxiety and depression and decrease immunity and energy levels.

It’s important to maintain your health and fitness during winter to ensure you are able to fight off those pesky colds and those extra kilos that easily creep up on you. Here’s how you can:

Keep on Exercising

As the days get shorter and things get darker a lot earlier, you might find yourself skipping your evening walk or visit to the gym. However, it’s essential to keep up exercise during winter as it not only increases the health of your immune system, but it also keeps you feeling good emotionally. Instead of throwing exercise out altogether in winter, swap your routine for something more winter friendly, by working out during the day or from home in the evenings. It doesn’t matter what you do as such, as long as you keep moving.

Distance Your Devices and Get Some Sleep

Sleep keeps you feeling revitalised and gives your body the strength it needs to fight off infection. It’s easy to say you’ll try get more sleep, but it’s hard sometimes as you find yourself catching up on work, social media or just your favourite TV show in bed! Try distancing your devices away from your bedside and try reading a book or magazine in bed before drifting off into a quality slumber. Anything from 8-10 hours sleep is ideal!

Wash Your Hands When You Can

Within your day you may shake many hands, handle money or be dealing with sick children or the elderly. Now’s a really good time to increase how many times you wash your hands throughout the day and be sure to have some hand sanitiser or antibacterial wash to keep your hands germ free.

Eat Well

It goes without saying that eating well during winter will help your immune system stay strong and keep your energy levels remaining high. Many of the fruits and vegetables that are in season are best for your diet in winter including:

  • Citrus Fruits: Inject your body with a Vitamin C boost from oranges, mandarins, lemons and limes
  • Broccoli
  • Capsicum
  • Kiwi fruit

Give Your Body a Boost with Vitamins

To make sure you’ve really got your health covered, give your body a complete boost with vitamins for optimum health and fitness in winter. High potency Hivita Vitamin C and Zinc helps strengthen your immunity and protects against colds and flu. It also aids the absorption of iron to make sure the foods you are getting iron out of iron-rich foods you are consuming. For the little ones Hivita Liquivita for Kids supports a healthy immune function as well as supporting healthy growth and development.

8 habits you should be doing NOW to avoid the flu this season

This summer has been exceptionally hot and I’m sure we’re all looking forward to some cooler weather. With autumn underway and winter around the corner, it’s inevitable that flu season is almost here. While there is no sure fire way to avoid the flu, there are some steps you can be taking now to give yourself the best chance of avoiding it.

Get the flu vaccine

The Australian government recommends that the yearly flu vaccine is the best way of preventing the flu. While the vaccine is recommended for everyone over 6 months of age, free vaccines are available for some at risk demographics, including people over 65, pregnant women and people with some pre-existing health conditions. More information on the vaccine can be found by contacting your local GP.

Wash your hands

While this sounds obvious, one of the best ways to prevent contracting contagious illness is to wash your hands thoroughly, especially when you are around areas with lots of people or around other people who are unwell. If you work in a busy location, hand sanitizer can also help.

avoid the flu

Stay active

Studies have found that people who regularly engage in exercise are less likely to contract the cold or flu virus. This is not a ‘quick fix’ and needs to be something that is part of your regular lifestyle in order to be effective. Try to aim for moderate exercise at least three times a week.

Maintain a healthy diet

A healthy and nutritious diet can increase your chances of avoiding illnesses like colds and the flu, and will help you bounce back quicker if you do get sick. There are no magic tricks, just a well-balanced diet full of lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Remember, the healthier you are, the more chance you have of giving your body to tools to fight off a virus.

Minimise stress

Researchers have found that people who are under extreme stress are almost 50% more likely to get sick than those that aren’t. By maintaining your stress levels, you are giving yourself a fighting chance to avoid catching the flu. Try walking, yoga or simply a few hours of ‘me time’ each day. There’s a lot to be gained for reducing stress levels.

avoid the flu

Get a good night’s sleep
Lack of sleep can negatively impact your immune system making you more vulnerable to catching the illnesses going around. By maintaining regular, quality sleep, you are giving yourself a much better chance of being able to fight off a virus.

Vitamin C MultivitaminStay Hydrated

By drinking plenty of water each day, you are helping to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle and adequate hydration has been found to help boost your immune system. Experts recommend around 8 glasses of water each day.

They always say that prevention is better than a cure, and no one likes to be sick. By following these simple guidelines, you’ll be giving yourself the best shot at avoiding catching a cold or the flu this season.

Take a good quality vitamin C + zinc supplement

Hivita Daily C + Zinc is a high potency supplement formulated to strengthen your immunity and protect against colds .and flu. It contains a high dose of vitamin C (100mg) buffered with Calcium ascorbate so it is gentle on the stomach.

5 reasons why your family should start taking vitamin D this autumn

As the leaves begin to change colour and fall, you might find yourself hearing the crunchy sound underneath your boots as you make your way inside to cosy up in front of the heater with a good dose of Netflix. Autumn weather can give glorious sunny days at times, or dreary dark ones. It slowly gives you a taste of the next season when the real chill sets in and you begin to spend minimal time outdoors.

Most people know that Vitamin D is important, and that your body can produce it when your bare skin is exposed to sunlight, but often that’s where their education ends. Vitamin D is vital for your body, and if you want to get a head start in winter, then you really should start taking it now! Here’s why your whole family should get onto taking Vitamin D immediately:

1. Vitamin D in your body needs to be replenished

Vitamin D stores in our bodies deplete over autumn and into winter. As our beautiful sun hides behind the clouds and the days are colder and shorter, our exposure to the sun decreases. As you opt for the treadmill over the pavement, your Vitamin D levels will continue to decrease. Vitamin D is only stored in our bodies for a few months and needs continual topping up to stay at an optimum level.

2. Vitamin D helps strengthen bones

Low vitamin D can have serious consequences in bone strength for children and adults alike. Vitamin D assists in the absorption of calcium. Vitamin D lowers the risk of fractures, childhood rickets and so much more. Your child might be having plenty of dairy on a daily basis, but without Vitamin D, the calcium won’t be absorbed efficiently by their body.

3. Vitamin D can help maintain a healthy immune function

Everyone knows how quickly the common cold can wipe out the whole family in one swoop. Those with higher Vitamin D levels are less likely to experience respiratory illnesses and if they do, the recovery is easier and shorter. It goes without saying that babies and children, who are at higher risk of serious respiratory tract infections need their vitamin D levels maintained.

4. Vitamin D may decrease fatigue

It can be hard to get motivated when the skies are grey and there’s an outside chill. You may be feeling less energetic and tired as winter approaches. Research shows that vitamin D can effectively decrease fatigue by improving muscle strength and energy levels, giving you and your family the energy needed to get through winter

5. Not many foods contain Vitamin Dvitamin D

You might be thinking, if you can’t get vitamin D from the sun, you’ll get it from foods instead. Some foods do contain vitamin D such as fatty fish and some dairy products may be fortified with vitamin D. However there’s not many other alternatives, so it’s particularly important you take a vitamin D supplement.

If you’re feeling weary as autumn sets in and winder approaches, take the proactive approach. Keep on top of your Vitamin D levels by using Hivita’s Daily Vitamin D + Iodine supplement to ensure your family stays happy, healthy and focused during the colder months.

Your family could be making you sick!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family but some days they just make me sick! It’s not intentional they just happen to be three energetic school-aged kids who bring home an assortment of nasty bugs that kids seem to bounce back from but can knock over a middle-aged mother in a heartbeat!

And I’m not the only parent that suffers from “my kids make me sick” ailment either. My wonderful neighbour has been felled for four weeks… Her sons brought home a virus (“why don’t they just bring home flowers”? she asks) and she nursed them to health in a couple of days. Now she’s left with the remnants of a virus that just won’t budge.

So why is it that the kids bounce back and parents can be crook for weeks?

My theory is because we are more run-down than the kids are when we actually get the virus which can then grab a hold and hang around for weeks. The other reason could be that we are so focused on looking after the kids when they’re sick that we forget to look after ourselves.

Here are a few things you can do in advance to boost your immune system prior to the flu season striking:

1. First Line Immune Defence:
Raise your mucous membrane resistance in your respiratory and intestinal tracts to prevent bugs from getting in. This offers the most reliable protection against infection and requires optimal carotene and vitamin C levels in our tissues to build this defence. Winter fruits are lower in these vitamins, so supplementation is more important at this time of year.

2. Second Line Immune Defence

Mobilise your white blood cells to attack microbial invaders by additional supplementation with vitamin C and zinc, helping to clone more immune cells and increase their activity. This is the best broad-spectrum back-up defence you can mount against invasion by microbes and each infection well-handled primes your immune system against another attack. Winter is also a time for less sun exposure and Vitamin D deficiency is linked to lowered immunity.

Common sense advice to support your nutritional supplementation and combat winter illness often has a scientific basis:

Keeping warm elevates your core body temperature and heat (fever, saunas, spicy foods) will kill many pathogenic organisms. Getting enough sleep is vital to shut down your active body functions, shunting energy to your immune system so that it can gear up to fight invasion. Restful sleep also assists the body to recuperate and to repair tissues after infections, preventing a relapse of illness.

Nutrition really is the key to optimal immune resistance. Certain foods should be avoided in winter to prevent colds or other infections, such as sugar, alcohol and caffeine, which suppress your immunity. Processed, overcooked and packaged foods have depleted nutritional value, compared to freshly prepared meals containing organic fruits, vegetables and proteins. Supplementation with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals is essential if you eat a suboptimal diet, overeat or have an eating disorder, due to the poor processing and nutrient intake in these conditions.

My advice to those who are seeking a winter supplementation strategy would be to take a suitable multivitamin once daily (Hivita Men’s or Women’s Multi) with Hivita C + Zinc once daily, increasing to twice daily if symptoms of the onset of an infection appear. Winter, as I have mentioned, is also a time for less sun exposure and Vitamin D deficiency, so taking one Hivita D + Iodine will ensure additional intake of these essential nutrients to bulletproof your immune system.

Drink plenty of filtered water away from meals to keep up your mucous membrane secretions, so they can rinse off invading microbes. Include warm foods with spices in your menu to bring blood flow to the digestive tract and enhance nutrient uptake. Antiviral foods, such as garlic and ginger, can be added to winter meals to chase away cold and tummy viruses.

Healing solutions:
Not just pampering, but also immune-enhancing, aromatherapy and steam inhalation with eucalyptus or tea tree oil can clear sinus and lung congestion and sterilise their membranes. Drinking high antioxidant juices (carrot, orange, pineapple), hot lemon drinks with honey and ginger, and plenty of warm water or herbal tea is immune supportive. Having acupuncture treatments is excellent for immune-boosting as well as treatment of winter infections in the early stages. Of course, bed rest is what makes it all work – healing never happens when you are on the go.

Natural antibiotics:

Taken as medicines, andrographis, garlic, manuka honey, olive leaf and colloidal silver (gargle only) are potent early treatment options to antibiotics.

Immune tonics:
Herbal medicines: Echinacea, astragalus, schizandra, ginger, thyme and myrrh can be prescribed for you by a naturopath or herbalist as the winter starts. Medicinal mushrooms, such as reishi and shiitake, boost natural killer cells. Probiotics and fermented foods offer gut protection and are also immune-boosting.

Sustaining immune fitness:

Make sure you get adequate sleep most nights of the week. Do your best to exercise daily but over-training, which can suppress your immunity.

If all else fails, give my flu brew a try!

Keeping your Child’s Immune System Strong

It is expected that children will have their fair share of infections each year, but we hate to see them suffer and it often means illness for the whole family every time they bring home a bug from day care or school.

Kids Liquid MultivitaminA nutrient-dense diet is the best protection for your child’s immune system – freshly-prepared, organic produce in a balanced variety of meals, every day. For the parent with a nutritional interest this way of eating is guaranteed to give your child immune resilience. However if you are unsure, time poor, do not have access to ideal food choices or have a fussy eater, your child’s immune system will need some assistance to stay in fighting form. Time to find a broad spectrum nutritional supplement for the job!

Making medicines easy to take and palatable to children is the challenge for the vitamin companies. Liquids are easier to swallow for young children and easier to dose to the reluctant ones. It is also very important that children’s tonics are sugar-free, since sucrose and glucose suppress white blood cell activity so that infections can take hold in their systems more easily. Children often refuse to take medicines, but I have not had any refusals by my patients of the delicious tropical-tasting nutritional/herbal supplement, Hivita LiquiVita for Kids.

LiquiVita for Kids contains the essential nutrients with which to supplement your child to boost their immunity – vitamins A, C, D, with minerals iron and zinc. The excellent formula of LiquiVita for Kids contains a selection of tonic and decongestant herbs to keep the chest clear, support digestion and immunity and clean the blood. It has stood the test of time, having been on the Australian market for over 30 years in its original formula. The extra folic acid and amino acids in Liquivita help children’s growth and development, so that you can feel assured that you are filling the gaps adequately in their diet for their best protection.

Bullet proof your immune system

Winter is here and with the chill comes the unwelcome threat of coughs, colds and flu. Its hard to get through the sneezing season without succumbing to illness. And if you do fall ill it can be difficult to take time off work and we all know that when you’re a parent of a young child there is no such thing as rest time.

The alternative is to bulletproof your immune system and build your resistance to viruses and bacteria and avoid the whole winter illness cycle.

There are two main strategies for increasing your immune protection with nutritional supplementation:

1. First Line Immune Defence:

Raise your mucous membrane resistance in your respiratory and intestinal tracts to prevent bugs from getting in. This offers the most reliable protection against infection and requires optimal carotene and vitamin C levels in our tissues to build this defence. Winter fruits are lower in these vitamins, so supplementation is more important at this time of year.

2. Second Line Immune Defence

Mobilise your white blood cells to attack microbial invaders by additional supplementation with Vitamin C and zinc, helping to clone more immune cells and increase their activity. This is the best broad-spectrum back-up defence you can mount against invasion by microbes and each infection well-handled primes your immune system against another attack. Winter is also a time for less sun exposure and Vitamin D deficiency is linked to lowered immunity.

Everyday tips to boost your immune system

Use your common sense

Common sense advice to support your nutritional supplementation and combat winter illness often has a scientific basis. Keeping warm elevates your core body temperature and heat (fever, saunas, spicy foods) will kill many pathogenic organisms. Getting enough sleep is vital to shut down your active body functions, shunting energy to your immune system so that it can gear up to fight invasion. Restful sleep also assists the body to recuperate and to repair tissues after infections, preventing a relapse of illness.

Eat well and drink lots

Nutrition really is the key to optimal immune resistance. Certain foods should be avoided in winter to prevent colds or other infections, such as sugar, alcohol and caffeine, which suppress your immunity. Processed, overcooked and packaged foods have depleted nutritional value, compared to freshly prepared meals containing organic fruits, vegetables and proteins. Supplementation with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals is essential if you eat a sub-optimal diet, overeat or have an eating disorder, due to the poor processing and nutrient intake in these conditions.

Drink plenty of filtered water away from meals to keep up your mucous membrane secretions, so they can rinse off invading microbes. Include warm foods with spices in your menu to bring blood flow to the digestive tract and enhance nutrient uptake.

Antiviral foods, such as  garlic and ginger, can be added to winter meals to chase away cold and tummy viruses.

Healing solutions

Not just pampering, but immune-enhancing, aromatherapy and steam inhalation with eucalyptus or tea tree oil, can clear sinus and lung congestion and sterilise their membranes. Drinking high antioxidant juices (carrot, orange, pineapple), hot lemon drinks with honey and ginger, and plenty of warm water or herbal tea is immune supportive. Having acupuncture treatments is excellent for immunity boosting as well as treatment of winter infections in the early stages. Of course, bed rest is what makes it all work – healing never happens when you are on the go.

Natural antibiotics

Taken as medicines andrographis, garlic, manuka honey, olive leaf and colloidal silver (gargle only) are potent early treatment options to antibiotics.

Immune tonics

Herbal medicines : Echinacea, astragalus, schizandra, ginger, thyme and myrrh can be prescribed for you by a naturopath or herbalist as the winter starts. Medicinal mushrooms, such as reishi and shiitake, boost natural killer cells. Probiotics and fermented foods offer gut protection and immune boosting.

Sustaining immune fitness

Get adequate sleep most nights of the week. Ensure you exercise daily and avoid over-training, which can suppress your immunity. Laughter increases your resistance to infection without any side effects (well, maybe aching sides with too much laughter!)

There is a huge body of evidence about the benefits of meditation to mind and body and in particular immunity and even some research which states that qi gong also has a regulating effect on our immune parameters.

Which supplements to take?

My advice to those who are seeking a winter supplementation strategy would be to take a suitable multivitamin once daily (Hivita Men’s or Women’s Multi) with Hivita C + Zinc once daily, increasing to twice daily if symptoms of the onset of an infection appear. Winter, as I have mentioned, is also a time for less sun exposure and Vitamin D deficiency, so taking one Hivita D + Iodine will ensure additional intake of these essential nutrients to bulletproof your immune system.

Flu Brew

Its hard to avoid colds and flu during the winter without a bullet-proof immune system. If you do fall ill, here’s a therapeutic ‘flu brew’ thanks to our resident holistic health consultant Giselle Cooke:

Ingredients:

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 150 mls boiled water
  • Half teaspoon composition powder*
  • 3 slices fresh root ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • Honey to taste
  • A shot of dark rum (optional)

Method:

Pour boiled water over ginger and garlic, add lemon juice, composition powder and honey. Steep 5 minutes, strain and drink. Add rum for special warming and sterilising benefits.

Dosage:

Can be taken 3-4 times daily.

Get well soon!

(*from traditional herbal dispensaries)