And no matter how crazy her hack for curing a cold might sound, there’s a reason why it’s been passed down from generation to generation.
In honor of Mother’s Day, Well+Good staffers are sharing their grandmothers’ wisdom. After all, trends may come and go, but Nana—and her tricks—are timeless.
To celebrate Mother’s Day, here are 8 genius (and healthy) lessons our grandmas taught us.
1. Follow a diet that makes you feel good—not whatever the latest fad is
“My grandmother Lorraine Fried Gelula passed away just before Thanksgiving. She was 97. Her father was from Hungary and a butcher, so she thought it was hysterical that I didn’t eat meat. She was a woman who took propriety very seriously.” —Melisse Gelula, chief content officer and co-founder
2. When you feel sick, assume lion pose
“Whenever I had a sore throat, my grandma would tell me to gargle with warm salt water, and then to ‘do the lion.’ The Lion is a pose where you stick out your chest, open your throat and jaw as wide as possible, stick out your tongue as far as you can, spread your fingers out wide and hold them up by your face. That last part of the pose is just to make it fun. The whole point is to get blood to your face, chest, and throat to accelerate healing. I’ve always found that it really does help open up the passageways to clear mucus and postnasal drip!” —Ryan Brady, marketing and events coordinator
3. Put that avocado shell to good use
“My grandma used to make a genius snack with avocados—which in New Orleans they called ‘alligator pears’. She’d chop it in half, drizzle a little olive oil, add salt and pepper, and mash it all up in the shell. Then, she’d wrap it up and send my dad out with it in his backpack. It was basically avocado toast without the toast—vintage ketogenic foods FTW!” —Erin Hanafy, articles and special projects editor
4. Keep your mind—and body—active
“Both of my grandmas are thriving and one thing they’ve taught me is to exercise every day. Even after two knee replacements, my grandma still walks and stretches every day, and my nonnie loves to dance and swim. She even took tap dancing classes through her 80s and taught me how to polka for my wedding! They both exercise their minds, too. My grandma starts every day with a cryptoquote and is very active with board games—Scrabble is a family favorite. My nonnie has gone through so many hardships, but always comes out on top because she has such amazing mental strength, a strong sense of faith, and dedication to her family.” —Casey Stadulis, senior account executive
5. Use a DIY herbal wintergreen mix to soothe sore muscles
“Instead of using Icy Hot or Vicks, my grandma had her own Spanish DIY remedy to relieve aches and sore muscles—or to ease cold symptoms. She made it using yerba buena (mint leaves), wintergreen rubbing alcohol, rue herb, and agua Florida, AKA Florida water (a cologne that has citrus and herbal notes along with spicy and floral undertones). You make it by emptying out a little more than one-third of the wintergreen rubbing alcohol, adding all the other ingredients to it, and letting it sit for 24 hours. To use it, just wet a wash cloth with the herbal mix and rub it on your skin.” —Celine Cortes, audience development associate
6. Go for a walk post-meal to help you digest better
“My nonna bought her fruit and vegetables every day at the farmers’ market—or, whenever possible, would go to a farm in rural New Jersey to pick it out herself. In the kitchen, she always washed and then soaked the veggies in lemon water before cooking. Being from Italy, she only cooked with olive oil. And after every meal, she would take a walk to help with digestion.” —Felicia Czochanski, editorial intern
7. Know your sex partners
“My grandma talking to me about sex is pretty hard to forget. Her advice: Have your sex partners checked, and on that note, have just one partner.” —Ella Dove, video producer
8. True beauty comes from the inside
“The best wellness tip my grandma taught me is that beauty comes from the inside, out—not the other way around. If you nourish your body with healthy foods and treat yourself and others with dignity and respect, that’s when you’ll feel your best and be your most radiant self.” —Amanda Steiger, executive associate