15. Prevent Illness with a Vitamin Regimen

Some studies point to an increase in certain vitamins and minerals as helpful for boosting the body’s ability to heal certain maladies. An extra boost of vitamin C (500 to 1,000 milligrams per day) and a few zinc lozenges may help to shorten the length and lessen the severity of a cold. Extra calcium has been shown to lessen the severity of PMS symptoms in women. Some studies suggest that vitamins C and E as well as other antioxidants can protect against certain cancers and heart disease. The chart on pages 81–82 shows what vitamins are found in abundance in which foods, so you can target your stress with a nutrient attack.

16. Experience the Power of Herbs

Many people take herbal remedies, from the popular echinacea for colds to more complex preparations for every imaginable ailment. A good herbalist can help you treat your health problems naturally and can be an excellent complement to conventional medicine.

Herbal remedies can be infused into water for teas, decoctions, and infusions; syrup, to make herbs more palatable; alcohol for tinctures; oil, to rub into skin; they can be mixed with cream, for external application; they can be formed into tablets or put inside capsules for easy swallowing; or they can even be put into the bath.

Vitamin/MineralWhat It DoesWhere to Find It
APromotes good vision, aids in bone growth, aids in proper cell division, may help prevent certain cancers Liver, eggs, milk, orange and green vegetables, fortified cereal
B1Maintains nervous system, may protect against heart disease, helps anemia Pork, milk, eggs, whole-grains
B2Aids metabolism, aids vision, protects against stress, promotes healthy skin Milk, eggs, fortified bread and cereal, leafy vegetables
B3Promotes a healthy nervous system, may lower cholesterol, reduces blood pressure Meat, fish, eggs, whole-grain cereals
B5Aids energy production, promotes healing, protects against stress, governs metabolism of fat Eggs, yeast, brown rice, whole-grain cereals, organ meats
B6Boosts immune system, may protect against certain cancers, relieves PMS and menopausal symptoms Fish, meat, milk, wholegrain cereals, vegetables
B9(folic acid)Prevents certain birth defects, may protect against heart disease, may protect against certain cancers Leafy greens, wheat germ, eggs, bananas, nuts, oranges
B12Maintains nervous system, boosts memory, increases energy and healthy growth, may protect against certain cancers Pork, beef, liver, fish, eggs, milk
CBoosts immune system, may protect against certain cancers, speeds wound healing Citrus fruits, leafy greens, broccoli, most fresh fruits and vegetables
DAids in calcium absorption, may prevent certain cancers and osteoporosis Fortified milk, fatty fish, sunlight
EProtects against cell damage from free radicals, may help protect against certain cancers and cardiovascular disease Vegetable oils, nuts, leafy greens, wheat germ, mangos
CalciumStrengthens and maintains bones, helps prevent osteoporosis and arthritis, helps prevent muscle cramps Milk, cheese, leafy greens, tofu, salmon, eggs
IronIncreases energy, boosts the immune system, prevents iron deficiency anemia Shellfish, wheat bran, brewer’s yeast
SeleniumKeeps skin and hair healthy, boosts immune system, keeps eyes healthy, improves liver, may protect against certain cancers Tuna fish, wheat germ, bran, onions, tomatoes, broccoli
ZincBoosts the immune system, may protect against certain cancers, helps prevent and treat the common cold mushrooms, oysters, meat, whole grains, eggs

17. Where to Find Herbs

Although you can buy many herbs at your local pharmacy or even at the grocery store, herbs aren’t FDA regulated, so your best bet is to go to an accredited herbalist with a good reputation. Herbalists know about the side effects of different herbs and also how they interact with other medications. While many prescription medications are made from or derived from herbs, herbalists use herbal prescriptions to treat the whole person, not just an isolated condition.

18. Get Educated about Homeopathy

Homeopathy is a holistic healing therapy that works on the principle that like cures like. Herbs and other natural substances that cause certain symptoms in a healthy person are diluted and shaken again and again, resulting in an extremely dilute remedy that supports and encourages the body’s own healing efforts. Homeopathy is based on a few basic principles: that symptoms of disease are a sign that the body is healing itself, so symptoms shouldn’t be suppressed; that a substance that causes symptoms such as those of a particular disease will, in minute amounts, negate the effects of the disease; and that symptoms will clear up in the opposite order from how they appeared.

19. Try a Safe Alternative

Homeopathy is an exceptionally safe way to deal with health imbalances, although it typically works more slowly than conventional medicine. Many people prefer it because it is less invasive, has fewer side effects, and is more holistic than conventional medicine. Homeopathic remedies are effective for physical ailments such as colds, chronic problems such as arthritis or allergies, and emotional problems such as anxiety or depression. Plus, homeopathic remedies, which can be made with everything from herbs and berries to roots to minerals such as gold and oyster shells to whole honeybees dissolved in alcohol and diluted, are typically far less expensive than prescription medications because they contain such minute amounts of the actual substance on which the remedy is based.

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