Health & Nutrition Blog – Healthy Planet Canada

Heart Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Since February is Heart Health Month, I wanted to delve into the heart health benefits of one of my favorite oils to use in the kitchen: coconut oil. If you're like me, the terms coconut oil and heart health don't initially sound like they really go together. Especially considering the past few decades which included medical professional after medical professional vilifying coconut oil and its saturated fat content. But as we've seen in my last post about coconut oil, not all saturated fat is created equal; and the saturated fat content in coconut oil is naturally occurring, not manmade like most other vegetable oils. The bad rap that coconut oil has received over the years (and still does in most medical circles) is most likely due to the type of coconut oil that was used in research to support claims that it's bad for our health. Most studies that have been conducted on the saturated fat content of coconut oil actually used partially hydrogenated coconut oil, as opposed to the naturally occurring and healthier virgin coconut oil. Anything that is hydrogenated (like most all vegetable oils on the market) will create trans fats; and it's trans fats that are bad for our health and should be avoided at all costs! How Can Coconut Oil Help the Heart? Well for one, it's the high lauric acid content (almost 50%) which helps reduce heart problems like high cholesterol and blood pressure. Although lauric acid is a saturated fatty acid, a study from the Netherlands actually showed that fats rich in lauric acid content can lower bad cholesterol and regulate triglyceride levels. Another are of research that hasn't received much press lately is the correlation between chronic bacterial and viral infections and cardiovascular disease. As early as the '80s, researchers have identified the development of atherosclerosis (inflamed artery walls due to dangerous, fatty build up) in humans infected with bacteria and herpes virus. In the '90s, researchers even found bacteria in the plaque buildup inside arteries. In one study, rabbits were infected with Chlamydia and their arterial walls had thickened significantly. When given antibiotics, their arteries had shrunk back to normal size. Although researchers can't yet make the definite claim that infections cause heart disease (since many other factors can come into play), research does suggest that in some cases, heart disease may be treated with antibiotics. However, since antibiotics are only good against bacteria (and not viruses), their effectiveness is limited. There is one thing, however, that is very effective in treating both bacterial and viral infections (especially those associated with atherosclerosis) - the medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) in coconut oil! The MCFAs in coconut oil are known to kill a long list of disease causing organisms, including those most closely associated with heart disease. So not only does coconut oil have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, its antibacterial and antiviral properties may also help protect us from heart disease and stroke! How to Use Coconut Oil Nutritionists recommend about 3 tablespoons of coconut oil per day to achieve the levels of lauric acid present in human breast milk. Whether you decide to use 3 tablespoons or less, there are many ways to incorporate coconut oil into your diet: Replace your other cooking oils with coconut oil. Saute, fry, and stir-fry your meats, poultry, fish, vegetables and eggs in it. Add it to your coffee, smoothies, tea, etc. Use it in baking breads, biscuits, and healthy desserts. Since coconut oil is solid at cooler temperatures, it can also be used in place of butter in many recipes. Grab your jar of Coconut oil by clicking here..   Image courtesy of Pixomar /

Aloe Vera for Heart Health

The aloe vera plant is such a wonderfully healing plant. Most notable for it's effects on sunburns and inflamed skin, there are many other ways in which this wonder plant can be beneficial for our overall health. Seeing as February is Heart Health Month, today we'll focus on the heart health benefits of the aloe vera plant. History The aloe vera plant can be traced back up to 6,000 years in ancient Egypt. The Egyptians used it to treat wounds and called it the "plant of immortality." They also buried the plant with their pharaohs. The Greeks, Romans, Indians, and Chinese also used it for both skin care and medicinal use. Properties With over 250 different species, the aloe vera plant has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, making it great for treating a variety of skin conditions, as well as inflammation and digestive issues. The plant contains over 200 nutrients, including B vitamins, amino acids, iron, manganese, calcium, zinc, and enzymes. Perhaps one of the most important ingredients present in the aloe vera plant is B-sitosterol, which is structurally similar to cholesterol. Not only does it have the ability to replace cholesterol, it also effectively prevents the absorption of cholesterol in the body. Benefits Aloe vera is also a strong detoxifying agent, and can help flush the blood of impurities, as well as enlarge blood cells and promote new blood cell growth. It also helps promote good circulation, regulate blood pressure and blood sugar, and boosts the immune system. Studies have also shown that aloe vera can improve the viscosity of blood, allowing it to more efficiently carry oxygen to different organs. One study from India has also shown aloe vera to lower blood lipid levels, triglyceride levels, and low density lipoprotein levels (the "bad cholesterol"), each of which when elevated, tend to increase the build up of fatty material in arteries, including the coronary artery of the heart. Cardiovascular Health Aloe vera truly is a miracle plant in its own right! Not only is it a great healer of skin wounds and other conditions, when taken internally, aloe vera takes on a whole new set of healing properties. Its ability to improve circulation, regulate blood pressure, and lower cholesterol make it a wonderful candidate to help lower the risk of heart disease. Different Forms The most beneficial forms are the gel and juice of the plant. The recommended dose for high cholesterol patients is 20 ml of aloe vera juice in a cup of water twice a day. There are a few different forms of aloe vera that can be taken internally to restore and maintain our health: Pulp juice Whole leaf dried powder Whole leaf concentrate Aloe Vera gel concentrate Aloe Vera whole leaf freeze dried powder Considerations Although aloe vera is very gentle on the body, some people may have allergic reactions since it is a member of the lily family. Side effects may include cramping and diarrhea. Diabetes patients should use caution with aloe taken orally as it may lower blood sugar. According to the Mayo Clinic, taking aloe vera internally for longer than one year may increase the risk of colorectal cancer. As with starting any health regimen, it's best to consult your doctor before adding aloe vera to your diet.

5 Natural Heartburn Remedies

Most of us have experienced heartburn at some point in our lives, some more often others. That burning sensation in the chest and throat is caused by a reflux of stomach acid up into the esophagus. While there are many tips for preventing the onset of heartburn (see list below), sometimes it's too late for prevention and all we need is some quick relief. Instead of reaching for over-the-counter (or prescription) heartburn medicines, which may actually cause more harm than good, try some of the remedies in the following list to help ease the symptoms and have you feeling better sooner, rather than later. Apple Cider Vinegar - Although it's an acid, apple cider vinegar is an alkaline food. The acid in apple cider vinegar is weak (acetic acid) and when mixed with the strong acid in our stomach (hydrochloric acid), the overall acidity is reduced. Take a one ounce shot, either straight or diluted with water, for fast, effective relief of reflux symptoms. Baking Soda - A natural antacid, baking soda can be diluted in water and taken internally to help neutralize acid and bring temporary relief. A word of caution, however; the fizziness of the baking soda can open up the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), causing you to burp and relieve bloating, but that can backfire and allow stomach acid to reflux back up into your esophagus. Bananas - Bananas have a natural antacid effect on the body and can neutralize stomach acid. A banana before/after a meal can bring relief in minutes. Make sure it's ripe banana (with at least some brown specks in it), otherwise you may have trouble digesting the starches in an underripe banana. Ginger - One of the oldest remedies for heartburn, fresh ginger can be made into a tea to help bring comfort and relief. Simply add a teaspoon of shredded ginger to a cup of boiling water and let it steep for 10 minutes, then strain and let cool. It's best to plan ahead and make your tea before you start eating so that it's ready to drink once you've completed your meal. You can also use ginger tea bags. Aloe Vera Juice - A natural acid neutralizer, aloe vera juice can be taken to help bring soothing relief of heartburn. Drink as much as you need to eliminate symptoms. Of course, the best remedy is prevention, and below are some helpful tips to stop heartburn from every making an appearance in the first place. Avoid trigger foods - Although they differ from person to person, most people are sensitive to fatty foods, caffeine, dairy, and chocolate. Sodas and alcohol are also common culprits and should be avoided, or at least reduced. Eat smaller meals - Large meals can expand the stomach and cause pressure to push up the esophageal sphincter. Don't eat right before bed - Wait at least 2 or 3 hours before heading to bed after a meal. Allow the power of gravity to keep your stomach juices from rising back up into the esophagus. Eat more slowly - Taking your time to enjoy a meal not only helps your stomach signal you when it's full, it also allows you to chew your food more thoroughly, thereby causing your mouth to create more saliva, which helps aid digestion and neutralize stomach acid.

Natural Sources of Vitamin D

During the winter months when the sun is at its lowest point, it's hard for most of us to get an adequate amount of vitamin D in our bodies. And the truth is that most people actually have a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is vital for the body's proper absorption of calcium, bone development, and immune function, among other things. Too little vitamin D can lead to debilitating bone diseases and a weakened immune system. On the other hand, too much vitamin D is no good either, and may lead to an increased risk of heart attack. The current recommended daily value of vitamin D for children and adults is 600 IU, and since it's fat-soluble, you need to consume some fat in order for your body to properly absorb it. So besides adding a vitamin D supplement to our diet, what other ways can we increase our vitamin D intake? Below is a list of natural sources of vitamin D (along with their IUs) to help keep our bodies healthy and functioning properly. Cod Liver Oil - (1,350 IU in 1 tablespoon) - Many brands of cod liver oil have the vitamin D removed, so be sure to check the label to be sure. Fish - (200-900 IU) - The best kinds include salmon, mackerel, and tuna. Mushrooms - (27 IU per 100g) - White button and shiitake mushrooms have the highest levels of vitamin D. Eggs - (17 IU per egg) - The vitamin D is found in the yolk. Organic, farm-fresh eggs are best! Ricotta Cheese - (25 IU per 1/4 cup) - About 5 times as much as most other cheeses. Beef Liver - (42 IU per 3oz) - Always look for grass-fed beef. Milk, fortified - (127 IU per cup) - Look for organic milk. Orange Juice, fortified - (90 IU per cup) - Organic juice with no preservatives or added sugars. And of course, the best natural source for vitamin D is good old sunshine! So when Spring comes around, and all throughout Summer, try to get outside for at least half an hour a day, a few times a week, without any sunscreen. Our bodies naturally make the best kind of vitamin D all on their own, just by harnessing the sun's powerful UV rays and converting them into the healthy vitamin D we're all looking for. It's also a good idea to get your vitamin D levels checked by your primary care physician, but before you immediately jump to the supplements, remember there are plenty of natural ways to increase your vitamin D intake, without having to resort to pills that may not be necessary. What are your favorite ways to increase the vitamin D intake in your diet? Anything that's not on this list?

The Amazing Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a healthy, nutritious oil made from coconut meat. But if you've followed the advice of the medical industry and the media for the past 50 years, you've probably heard to stay away from saturated fats like those in coconut oil because they can lead to things like high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes. Saturated Fats Unfortunately, what's lacking in this medical advice is the distinction between different forms of saturated fats. The truth is that not all saturated fats are created equal. All fats are categorized as either short-, medium-, or long-chain. The saturated fats in coconut oil are about two-thirds medium-chain fatty acids, making them easily digestible, beneficial to the immune system, and giving them anti-microbial properties. The majority of fats consumed in our diet are long-chain fatty acids, whether they're saturated or unsaturated. Now back to the statement, "not all saturated fats are created equal." The key word to note here is "created," since some saturated fats are naturally occurring, like those in coconut oil, and some (most) are man-made through the process of hydrogenation. This completely unnatural process of hydrogenation heats the oils and manipulates their molecular structure, making them rancid and thick. The only benefit of this process is to extend the shelf-life of these oils and the processed foods in which they're used. Lauric Acid Coconut oil also contains a significant amount of lauric acid, which is also found in abundance in breast milk, and converts to a compound called monolaurin. Monolaurin has been shown to fight viruses, bacterial infections, funguses, and other microorganisms. Nearly 50% of the fats found in coconut oil are made of this miracle compound - the richest sources found naturally! Health Benefits of Coconut Oil Hair: Coconut oil rubbed in the scalp a couple times a week can nourish the scalp and reduce dandruff. Applied to the hair, coconut oil has a deep conditioning effect that strengthens the hair and adds shine. Skin: Coconut oil is a great massage oil for the skin and a very effective moisturizer for all skin types. It absorbs into the skin quickly, leaving no oily residue, and helps treat various skin conditions including psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis. Weight loss: The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil help speed up the metabolism because they're easily digested and converted into energy, making coconut oil a worthy component of a healthy diet. Bone health: Coconut oil assists the body in absorbing minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which are very important in fighting osteperosis. Heart health: Coconut oil's high lauric acid content helps prevent heart problems like high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Immune support: Coconut oil contains lauric acid, as well as capric acid and caprylic acid, all of which have antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Thyroid health: Because coconut oil travels directly to the liver, without the need for enzymes in digestion, coconut oil has been shown to help increase thyroid health. Fights infection: Again, coconut oil's antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties make it effective in fighting infections like influenza, hepatitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, candida, athlete's foot, and even diaper rash. Diabetes: Coconut oil helps to control blood sugar and improves insulin secretion, making it excellent at preventing and treating diabetes. Dental health: Since coconut oil helps with the absorption of minerals like calcium, it also helps keep teeth healthy and strong, and can also help stop tooth decay. How to Use Coconut Oil For external use, such as hair and skin, simply rub a small amount between your palms to warm it up and apply to the areas needed. For internal consumption, the possibilities are almost endless. You can either cook with it by replacing the butter or oils called for in a recipe, add it to smoothies, or add some to your coffee or tea. Coconut oil is the only oil stable enough to withstand the heat of cooking and is therefore the healthiest oil available for this purpose. You can find a wide variety of coconut oils on Healthy Planet's online store!

Easy Homemade Anti-Itch Remedies

Whether it's from a bug bite, a sting, some poison ivy, or even eczema, itching can be one of the most uncomfortable feelings in the world. There's a whole list of products available at the drug store that are marketed as "anti-itch" treatments or cures, but you'd be hard-pressed to find anything that's natural and doesn't contain a long list of other undesirable ingredients. Remember, your skin is the largest organ on your body, and whatever you put on it gets absorbed right in! Here's a list of some easy, homemade remedies to calm down the itch: Baking Soda - Make a compress by adding 1/3 cup of baking soda to a gallon of water, then soak a wash cloth in the solution, and apply to the itch. Alternately, you can make a paste of 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/8 cup water, and a teaspoon of salt, and apply it directly to the skin. Note: This should not be used on broken skin. For a widespread itch, add 1 cup baking soda to your bathwater and soak for 30-60 minutes. Banana Peel - The inside of a banana peel can be used to treat many skin conditions, itches included. Simply cut off a piece of ripe banana peel a few inches long, and rub it on the itchy skin for a couple minutes, several times a day. This works best for bug bites and stings. Oatmeal - Add 1 or 2 cups of finely ground oatmeal to your warm bath water and soak in the tub for about 10 minutes. The fats in oatmeal act as lubricants and create a gelatinous residue on your skin helping to lock in moisture and combat dryness. Make sure the oats are finely ground to a powder, otherwise they will be too heavy and just sink to the bottom of the tub. Epsom Salts - Mix a big handful of epsom salts into your warm bath water and soak in it for as long as you like. Epsom salts have antibacterial qualities and promote healing. Vinegar - Add 1 cup of white vinegar to your bath water and soak for as long as you like. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and its acidity helps cool the skin and combat the itch. You can also make a really easy anti-itch rub using just raw apple cider vinegar and water. Aloe Vera - Used mainly for burns, aloe vera is also a very good anti-itch treatment since the same its anti-inflammatory properties also work on itchy skin! Either snap off a leaf, slice it down the middle, and rub the gel on your skin, or you can purchase a natural aloe vera gel and apply it liberally to the skin several times a day. Bath Oil - An easy homemade bath oil can be made by mixing 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil into a tall glass of milk. Apply all over the body and let it sit for 10 minutes, then have a bath in lukewarm water and dry your skin off gently. Lemon - A natural anesthetic and anti-inflammatory, lemon juice has been used as an anti-itch treatment for hundreds of years. Apply the juice directly to the itch and let it air dry. Herbal Compress - Basil, mint, and thyme have anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties to help numb the itch and reduce inflammation. Make a tea with either of these herbs by adding 1/2 to 1 ounce of dried leaves into a pint of boiling water. Cover and let it cool, and then strain it, dip a wash cloth into the tea and apply as a compress to affected areas. Herbal Salve - You can make (or purchase) your own homemade anti-itch salve from all natural ingredients! *Please note: If your itching persists, gets worse, or spreads to other areas, then seek professional medical advice. Have you used any of these remedies to successfully treat an itch? Do you have any anti-itch remedies to add to this list? Find some great Itching relief products here. Resources:

All-Natural Anti-Nausea Remedies

Whether it's from a stomach bug, something you ate, a migraine, or morning-sickness during pregnancy, chances are that you've experienced that queasy feeling that comes along with nausea, more times than you'd like. There are many possible causes for nausea, including poor diet, indigestion, pregnancy and chemotherapy treatments. Symptoms usually include dizziness, upset stomach, and sweating. So, besides the usual crackers and soda that we're always advised to take, what other natural remedies are there for nausea? Below is a list of some of the top natural ways to treat nausea: Ginger - Increases blood flow to the digestive system and blocks the serotonin receptors responsible for causing nausea. Ginger root can be chewed raw or taken in a tea, a pill, or even candy. If all else fails (or you can't stomach the taste), you can always reach for a can of ginger ale! To make a tea, just slice some ginger root and add it to boiling water, allowing it to boil for about 5 minutes. Cool and strain, then add some raw honey to taste. You can also purchase ginger tea bags at Healthy Planet, along with many other ginger products. Peppermint - The effects of menthol and other compounds have antispasmodic effects that can help relieve indigestion. Peppermint can either be taken as a candy or in tea form. You can either steep some peppermint leaves in boiling water to make a tea, or use peppermint tea bags available at Healthy Planet. Acupuncture or Acupressure - Only seek acupuncture treatment from a licensed professional. Acupressure can be performed at home or by a massage therapist. These therapies are particularly helpful for those suffering from nausea due to pregnancy or cancer treatments, where drug interactions are critical and most drugs should be avoided. Aromatherapy - Peppermint essential oil can also be used by either placing a few drops on a tissue or cotton ball and inhaling it deeply, or by using an essential oil diffuser. Alternately, peppermint oil can be diluted with a carrier oil and used as a massage oil. ACV and Honey - Mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and raw honey into a glass of warm water. Sip slowly to help easy nausea. Rice Water - Boil rice in water for about 20 minutes. Drain the water, allow it to cool, then drink the rice water. Lemon Water - Fill a glass with room temperature water and squeeze a lemon wedge into it. Sip slowly. There are also many health benefits of doing this every morning!

Ginger Root for Food, Medicine, and Body Care

  Ginger (or ginger root) cultivation began in South Asia over 4,000 years ago, and has since begun sprouting up all over the world. It’s in the same plant family as turmeric and cardamon, and can be used as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. It’s anti-inflammatory properties also make it a great ingredient to use in different bath and body recipes, to help soothe aches and relax muscles. Ginger in Food Ginger is used to add a fragrant, spicy flavor to dishes. It can also be made into a candy, ginger ale, and added as a flavoring in recipes for cookies, cakes, and breads. Ginger as Medicine For thousands of years, ginger has also been used in herbal and folk medicine. There are so many ways to use ginger for healing and soothing the body: Helps with digestion – Ginger helps promote saliva and bile production in the stomach, both of which are central to healthy digestive health. It can be taken either as a supplement pill or as a tea. A bit of raw honey added to the ginger tea tastes great and promotes healthy bacteria in the gut – which also aids digestion. Reduces nausea – Whether it’s motion-sickness, morning sickness during pregnancy, upset stomach, or post-chemotherapy, ginger gets to the root of the problem by going straight to work in the stomach, unlike commercial anti-nausea medications which just block messages to the brain. Boosts immunity - As a natural immune booster, ginger gives a warming and energizing effect on the body. It helps promote healthy sweat during colds and flus, during which the seat glands secrete a compound which protects the skin from infection. Anti-inflammatory – Ginger’s heating effect is also great for arthritic conditions, helping to reduce swelling around inflamed joints. It can be used to make a compress, an oil, a salve, or a liniment. Ginger in Bath & Body Care The warming effect of ginger makes it a great addition to many bath and body care applications! Photo courtesy: Foot Bath/Soak – Just add 2 tbsp. of dried ginger, or 2 tsp. of fresh grated ginger to your foot bath water. Body Scrub – Add 2 tsp. of freshly grated ginger to your favorite body scrub Massage Oil – Either fresh or dried ginger can be infused with a carrier oil (ie: almond or olive oil) for 1-2 weeks, then used as  warming massage oil Bath Salts – Add a few teaspoons of freshly grated ginger along with some coarse sea salt or epsom salts for a warm, soothing bath Please Note: If you have high or low blood pressure, are on blood thinners, suffer from gallstones, or have any kind of heart condition, it is best to check with your healthcare professional before consuming ginger root on a regular basis. Ginger may make your symptoms worse or interact with any medications you may be taking. How do you use ginger in your home? Do you prefer fresh or dried ginger? Anymore ideas to add to this list? Click here to view Ginger Products at Healthy Planet Sources:

The Benefits of Lemon Water in the Morning

Many years ago, a friend's mom told me that she never starts her day without a warm glass of lemon water. She said it makes her feel great and really starts the day off on the right foot. I should add that this woman is a natural health nut and really looks as great as I'm sure she must feel! She also taught me never to drink something cold first thing in the morning, as the cold temperature can shock your body. Years passed, I moved away, and I never really thought about the lemon water again... Until this past summer when I decided to try it for at least a week to see what was so great about it. And I'm happy to report that it's definitely all it's made out to be! I did some research to find out the health benefits from a more scientific perspective, and was very impressed with what I found: Aids digestion - The warm water helps stimulate the gastrointestinal tract, and the lemon helps loosen any toxins in the digestive tract. Detoxifies the skin and body - As a natural diuretic, lemons help flush the body of any toxins by increasing the rate of urination. Their high vitamin C content also removes impurities from the blood, leading to clearer, more radiant skin. Boosts immunity - Lemons are high in both vitamin C, which is great for fighting colds, and potassium, which stimulates brain and nerve function and controls blood pressure. Helps curb the coffee habit - The first few days of drinking my lemon water, I also had my regular morning cup of coffee, only to find my self with some slight jitters by mid-morning! So, I realized that the lemon water is a healthier replacement. Helps with weight loss - Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which helps keep the body fuller, longer. They're also a mild diuretic and very alkaline; alkaline bodies have been shown to lost weight faster. Some Guidelines Before You Start Water Temperature: Your water should be lukewarm to mildly hot, so try to keep it right around body temperature. Cold water will shock your body, and boiling water will kill the beneficial enzymes present in the lemon. Protect Your Teeth: Because of the acidity of the lemon, it's best to drink your lemon water through a straw to protect your teeth. I love using my reusable glass straw for this! Fresh vs. Bottled Lemon: This one's a no-brainer, but fresh squeezed lemon is better than the bottled stuff. I just fill up my glass with water, squeeze a lemon wedge over the water, then drop the wedge into the glass, stabbing it a few times with my straw to release more of the juice and the fibrous pulp into the water. Resources:

Natural Ways To Prevent and Treat The Common Cold

It’s that time of year again – the time of coughs, colds, sniffling, and sneezing. Nobody likes to get sick, and whether we get sick every year or just occasionally, the cold and flu season is a fact of life. We’re bombarded with every kind of advertisement under the sun for the latest and greatest cold and flu treatments, from cough syrups to decongestants, nasal sprays to vapor rubs, fizzy tablets to liquigels – it’s no wonder it takes us such a long time to choose a product from the shelf. Who wants to deal with all of this when they’re already feeling under the weather? Unfortunately, too many of us wait until it’s too late to try to heal ourselves. The truth of the matter is that there is no scientific cure for the common cold. Lots of rest and fluids is usually what the doctor orders. But the first step is prevention. Boosting our body’s natural immune system through natural means, can give it the strength it needs to fight back at the first sign of infection. Here are 5 natural ways to boost your immunity and keep the cold bug from getting you and your family down this season: Vitamin C – The first on any list of natural cold prevention, Vitamin C helps protect the body against infection, maintain a strong a immune system, and increases white blood cell production. It can be taken in pill form, but lots of fresh fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of it: oranges, lemons, strawberries, and tomatoes, to name a few.  Zinc – A great preventive for the common cold, zin has been shown to reduce the severity of symptoms, and the duration of the overall cold. It can be taken as a syrup, tablets, or lozenges, and should be taken at the very first sign of a cold, for best results. Avoid taking the direct nasal applications, as they’ve been shown to have some bad side effects. Echinacea – Another great preventive for colds, echinacea is an herbal plant that’s been shown to reduce one’s chances of contracting the common cold. Take echinacea at the start of the cold season to boost your immunity, but it’s not recommended to take for longer than 2 weeks at a time, after which it becomes ineffective. Nasal Rinse – If you’ve never heard of a neti-pot, don’t worry – not many have. But these things have gained in popularity over the past few years, and for good reason! This nasal rinse helps flush out and clean your nasal passages with nothing but simple saltwater. They’re very affordable and can be found at most drugstores. Stay Hydrated – Viruses are known to thrive in dry conditions, like the cold, dry winter months, and the dry, heated indoors that come along with it. Make sure your body is well hydrated with water, teas, and soups, to keep your immune system fighting long and strong. But what if you’ve already succumbed to the grip of this season’s bug? Don’t rush to the drug store just yet! Chances are, you have everything you need right at home to help treat your symptoms, keep yourself comfortable, and even shorten the span of the cold! Oh, and don’t bother running to the doctor for some antibiotics, since they do nothing to treat cold viruses and can have some nasty side effects. Here are 5 more natural ways to treat cold symptoms and get your body’s immune system back on track: Chicken Soup – The old time favorite – and for good reason! Chicken soup contains high levels of immune boosting vitamins and nutrients to help your body fight off infection. Eucalyptus Oil – As an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory, eucalyptus oil’s decongestant properties can help break up phlegm and mucus. Either dilute it with some coconut oil and rub on chest, neck, and back, or add a few drops to a bowl of boiling water and inhale the steam to help clear up any congestion. Cinnamon – Chinese medicine has used cinnamon for treating colds for a long time! Make a tea either with powdered cinnamon or cinnamon sticks and drink twice a day. Ginger – A natural immune booster and anti-inflammatory,ginger helps promote healthy sweat during colds, and can be taken raw or made into a tea. Honey & Lemon Tea – By far, one of the best ways to treat a nasty cough and soothe a dry throat is making up a simple tea with just honey and lemon. Add a spoonful of raw honey and a some fresh squeezed lemon juice to a cup of hot water and sip it slowly a couple times a day. What are you go-to natural methods for cold prevention and treatment?   Click Here to find Cold & flu Products at Healthy Planet. Sources:
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