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Health and fitness pros share their favorite ways of preventing the seasonal sniffles, from eating mushrooms and popping zinc to abstaining from sugar.
How_to-fight-coldsIf you work in an office, go to a gym, or have taken subway as of late, you can’t help but notice an uptick in sneezing, coughing, and drippy noses. Tis’ the season for the flu.

There are plenty of remedies for sickly symptoms—from echineacea and Zicam tablets to Emergen-C. But sometimes the best medicine can be found in homespun or homeopathic remedies—or just by taking extra-special care of yourself during a hectic time, say wellness gurus like Stevie Santangelo of SoulCycle and Red Flower founder Yael Alkalay.

Read on to find out how these and other health gurus ward off the sniffles this time of year. —Randi Eichenbaum



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Intelligent_nutrients_Intellimune_Oil_health_supplementNicole Rechelbacher, Creative Director of Intelligent Nutrients

The Rx: Intellimune Oil is a powerful nutraceutical supplement that helps boost health and immunity with tons of powerful antioxidants. I love to add Intellimune to a scrumptious kale-powered smoothie: It’s three stalks of kale, one frozen banana, one tablespoon of turmeric root, one teaspoon of ginger root, water, and ice. Blend to frothy smoothness!

What’s It Do? Intellimune Oil comes from cold-pressed seeds of powerhouse antioxidants plants, including black cumin, red grape, raspberry, cranberry, and pumpkin. So it’s filled with healthy goodness and protection your body needs. Beauty bonus: It’s also great for for hair, skin, body and skin cells to help fight premature aging.


Cafe GratitudeCary Mosier, Co-Owner of Café Gratitude in Los Angeles

The Rx: I drink lots of ginger, turmeric, cayenne and oregano. I cold press the ginger and turmeric root. Then I add oregano essential oils and cayenne powder. It’s like a shot.

What’s It Do? It’s nature’s medicine. All of these ingredients are immune-boosting. They heat up your body and flush out stagnant fluids. Yuck! Yay!

Yael AlkalayYael Alkalay, Founder of Red Flower

The Rx: Mushrooms and hot baths. I eat raw organic mushrooms by the handful, like popcorn, with a touch of sea salt. I also find time to take a daily hot mineral soak.

What’s It Do? Mushrooms are very high in zinc and beta-glucans. Zinc is the best way to boost the immune system and prevent colds. Also mushrooms are high in vitamins A, C, E, D and B3, and these nutrients serve as an antioxidant powerhouse for the immune system.

Curative baths warm the body, help de-stress, and improve sleep, and reduce muscle pain and inflammation. I’m a big believer in the robust power of a hot bath with a soak containing mineral rich salts. Running the gamut from A-Z, it seems the body can benefit from every mineral found in salt.


Norma KamaliNorma Kamali, Fashion designer and owner of The Wellness Café 

The Rx: Vitamin C

What’s It Do? There are many studies that say 1000mg a day is sufficient. On the other hand, alternative doctors say that to knock a cold out we need 10,000–15,000mg a day. What your body doesn’t use gets eliminated. There are also many studies about using vitamin C for cancer treatment when the immune system is greatly challenged. I think vitamin C is worth buying into. Make sure it is ascorbate. Buffered Bluebonnet has a good one or try Bluebonnet chewable available in 500mg.



Stevie SantangeloStevie Santangelo, SoulCycle Instructor

The Rx: Sleep and rest (they’re different). If you go to sleep at night and wake up, you got sleep but you might not feel rested. Resting is feeling caught up and present. You feel refreshed and able to respond to the things in your day efficiently. It’s also about not spending your energies unnecessarily. Since sleep is where our bodies recharge, process our day, and keep us in homeostasis (a place of good health), it’s imperative that we make it a priority. Also, invest in some good sheets and a quality pillow. Personally, I spring for 1000 thread count or higher Egyptian or Pima cotton sheets. I have six pillows total on my bed. Not kidding!

What’s It Do? Studies have consistently shown how susceptible the body becomes due to lack of sleep. And when our immune system is down, it makes us vulnerable to various infections and colds.


Jessica BellofattoJessica Bellofatto, Founder of KamaDeva Yoga, stand-up paddleboarder (and racer), and a triathlete

The Rx: Sugar is the devil as far as getting sick is concerned! As my boyfriend (Adam Kelinson, chef and author of The Athlete’s Plate: Real Food for High Performance) would say, “We’re not about eating healthy, we just don’t eat processed food.” As a result, we never really focus on eating something specific during the winter or flu season. We eat seasonally based upon what we grow and what’s locally available. During the winter that definitely includes soup! My favorites are split pea, potato, leek, butternut squash, and nothing beats good ol’ chicken soup!

What’s It Do? Good food (with not much sugar) helps build and maintain a strong immune system and that’s the prevention policy we most prescribe to at our place.


Mahri RelinMahri Relin, Owner of Body Conceptions

The Rx: I actually feel like my fitness work has helped me build a strong immune system and ward off lots of the colds and flus that have been going around. I watch my stress and sleep, too—I advocate pampering yourself when you can! And take zinc when you start to feel something coming on.

What’s It Do? I know that sickness for me coincides with stress and lack of sleep. I launched my public classes, and did a series of events last year that were so exciting and successful, but the stress literally sent me to the hospital. I failed to pay attention to the signals in my body that were telling me to slow down, get sleep, and take a breath. If I did it all again, I would have gotten more massages and taken a trip to the spa near me to ease the muscles I use so much. I would have also made sure I got at least an extra hour of sleep at night. I’m trying to heed my own advice a little more this year.


Joanna VargasJoanna Vargas, Celebrity Facialist and Owner of Joanna Vargas Salon

The Rx: I drink a green juice every day with spinach, romaine, celery, parsley, cucumber, and a little bit of apple and ginger. Once a week at my salon we order [from Juice Press] beet juice with cayenne pepper, ginger, celery, and spinach for the whole staff because it’s detoxing and cleansing for the whole system. We also drink a lot of Emergen-C in the winter, and we always wash our hands.

What’s It Do?: The juicing comes from years of experience. Vitamins from produce boost your immune system and also support general good health. When you work so closely with people day after day you need to be an expert at staying healthy! I’ve been a facialist for about 17 years and I am on the floor giving facials every day. I almost never get sick.


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