Sick woman under blanket with digital thermometer.

The Causes of Colds and Flu and How to Avoid Them This Winter

The common cold and flu are believed by most physicians to be caused by exposure and susceptibility to a variety of common viruses. However, not everyone catches a cold or flu when exposed, which indicates it’s the strength of the host that dictates whether you come down with an infection. For example, three people could breathe the same germs at the same moment, and one may develop pneumonia, the other some sniffles, and the third person gets away completely unscathed. This suggests that some people can resist viral attacks, while the immune system of others are weakened and run down to a degree that makes them more susceptible to invading pathogens.

This puts a serious dent in the notion that people “catch” the cold or flu, and that those who come down with it are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. The evidence is adequate that certain microbes challenge our internal ecosystem and the end result is dependent on the available energy of the potential host to effectively resist it through its army of defense systems.

So how do you become the “lucky” person who has been exposed to a potentially infectious pathogen but walks away completely fine?

Get your diet straight

Paying specific attention to the foods you eat can help you avoid the nutrient deficiencies and toxicity that lead to all kinds of illness, including the cold and flu. Avoiding all foods that tend to suppress the proper functioning of the immune and digestive system, including:

  • Simple sugars found in refined sweeteners, cane sugar, corn syrup, agave syrup, pasteurized honey, concentrated fruit juices, and alcohol
  • Dairy
  • Gluten
  • Hydrogenated fats
  • Caffeine

It is also wise to limit meat and animal products, as they are notoriously difficult to digest. This is especially true for conventionally raised animals that are largely fed genetically modified corn and soy, and are injected with hormones and antibiotics. If you do eat meat, make sure your digestion is strong and buy grass fed, organic, and free range animal products.

Finally, resist the temptation to overeat and avoid improper food combinations, which can lead to accumulation of toxins in the body. The most common and most damaging food combination error involves consuming foods high in protein like meat, nuts, and eggs, with fruits, sugars, and other sweet foods.

To strengthen your immune system, focus on foods, herbs, and spices that are high in nutrients that are more easily absorbed and strengthen the digestive and immune systems, such as:

  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Leafy greens
  • Root vegetables
  • Sea vegetables
  • Turmeric
  • Cayenne
  • Ginger
  • Berries
  • Algae
  • Quinoa

Also, focus more on warming foods such as soups, stews, and teas.

Be aware of allergens

Airborne allergens also play a role in causing colds and flu by decreasing resistance and influencing the respiratory tract. Dust, pollen, molds, and pet dander can aggravate the respiratory tract and increase susceptibility to cold and flu. Inflamed, congested membranes in the nose and throat are more vulnerable to a viral attack.

Also, allergic reactions to things like cow’s milk, wheat, and all their derivative foods can create mucus and increase congestion of the mucus membranes, which correlates with more frequent respiratory infections.


Stress is another factor that can cause increased vulnerability to colds and flu. During times of stress, hormones are released that cause the thymus gland to shrink, reducing immune activity. The more stress you are under, the greater the chance of an infection.

A study of 100 people showed that those who experienced a higher degree of anger or tension were four times more likely to develop a cold or bacterial infection that those who did not experience such emotions.

Since the cooler season is upon us in most of the world, make sure to have the ingredients on hand for this Antibiotic Tonic so you can knock it out much more quickly, or get really serious and Bullet Proof Your Immune System, and see The Best Way To Help Your Body Protect Itself Against Any Virus.

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Trivieri, Larry. Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 2002. Print.