Zinc can be helpful for colds in two ways: First, your immune system needs zinc, so you want to be sure you’re not deficient, which is not uncommon in older people. Second, when taken as a lozenge, zinc works on the throat and can reduce the duration and severity of cold symptoms.
Echinacea has a long history of use for treating respiratory infections. It’s not well understood how it works, but several studies show that echinacea can help you get over a cold faster and reduce symptoms.
You need to be extra careful when choosing supplements with echinacea. Some herbal formulas list echinacea as part of a “blend” or “proprietary formula,” but fail to specify the amount or type of echinacea.
You should start using echinacea at the first sign of a cold, taking a total of about 900 mg of extract divided into two or three doses per day for one to two weeks. Echinacea should not be given to children under 12 and has not been well studied for use by pregnant or breastfeeding women. People taking any immunosuppressant or with progressive systemic diseases like tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis, or autoimmune conditions should consult a doctor before use.
Most doctors probably agree that, especially as we grow older, we may require a supplement to ensure we receive adequate vitamin and mineral coverage for optimum health. Generally speaking, if we choose foods from all food groups at each meal, we get good amounts of mineral and vitamins, particularly if those foods are fresh, raw, not over-cooked, and in sufficient amounts. I suggest many of us might consider taking the following:
All-purpose vitamin such as Centrum 50, one daily
Omega 3, minimum of 400 EPA
Calcium (important for women after menopause)
Please consult with your own practitioner regarding this as you may require other supplements depending on your complaints/symptoms.
Your skin truly reflects the old saying, “You are what you eat.” If you eat a healthy diet, full of fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins, with less red meat and processed foods, your skin will look healthy. Your body is finely tuned to absorb your nutrition from the GI tract and then deliver that energy to your skin and other vital organs. Consider vegetarianism if you are prepared to measure and calculate protein intake.
Along with that good diet, be sure to consume sufficient fluids, preferably in the form of water, on a daily basis. An excellent start to the day is a glass of warm water with lemon added…helps the bowels, weight loss, and is that first glass of the day! If you are sensing hunger or feel tired during the day, try a glass of cold water and see if that is the answer before eating or resting.
Sufficient sleep is a number one priority at any age! Sometimes folks think as they get older they require less sleep, and that may be true for some. Most adults require at least 8 hours of sleep in a row, and an afternoon nap is not a bad idea. Our bodies heal and process while we sleep, and a short (20 minutes) nap can be invigorating. Longer naps tend to tire us more than refresh us!
Remember that a tan is a sign of skin damage. Avoid tanning parlours. Take care in the sun, and wear a lotion with SPF of 20 or more. Long sleeves and a hat help. And, of course, don’t smoke. Sun and smoking cause more skin damage than anything else.
August 11, 2014