11 Holistic Ways to Treat Cold Symptoms

It’s that time of the year when many people are getting sick. Unfortunately there is no cure for the common cold, but a few home remedies may be all you need to help manage your symptoms as your body fights off the infection. Here are some great ways to get yourself through the next week of the cough and congestion.

1. The Secret

Support your immune system in every way possible. Eat a light diet filled with warm, fresh, cooked foods. Avoid sugar, alcohol, smoking, stressful situations and even strenuous exercise. Read on to number 2 below.

2. Rest

When you are sick your immune system is in overdrive, so the more rest you get, the better your body will be able to effectively use its resources to fight off the infection.

3. Hydrate

All that mucous, coughing and immune system activation can lead to dehydration, making you feel even weaker. Adequate hydration with water, fresh juice and light broth based soups can help prevent dehydration and make the mucous secretions less sticky and uncomfortable.

4. Saline Rinses

Saline is probably one of the most underutilized cold fighting modalities. Since cold and flu virus enter the nose or throat, rinsing with saline can help keep these areas clean, not to mention clear all the mucous secretions. The neti pot and warm salt water gargles can also provide relief of stuffy nose and sore throat symptoms respectively.

5. Stay Warm

There is truth to this old wive’s tail. Cold temperatures can affect the immunity of your nasal passages where the cold virus enters, so make sure to bundle up when going outside. From an Ayurvedic perspective, the cold and the flu result from an imbalance of the Vata and Kapha dosha. Balancing Vata and Kapha requires heat whether it be from drinking hot tea or eating warm, easily digestible foods. This is one of the reasons why salads, raw foods, cold beverages and ice cream are advised against when you are sick. Find more about how to boost your immunity from an Ayurvedic perspective here.


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6. Eat Ginger and Turmeric 

Ginger and Turmeric are both scientifically proven to strengthen the immune system and fight the cold and flu virus. Steep fresh ginger and turmeric in hot water for a fresh ginger-turmeric tea.

7. Honey

Honey can not only boost the immune system but sooth a sore throat and suppress coughing. Take a spoonful as you would with cough medicine.

8. Vitamins and Supplements

Vitamins C, D and E have been found to be helpful in boosting immunity and helping with the cold and flu. Probiotics have also been shown to reduce the duration of cold symptoms. 

9. Essential oils

One study showed that a blend of eucalyptus, sweet orange, myrtle, and lemon essential oils helped with respiratory symptoms experienced in colds.

10. Halotherapy

Halotherapy or salt inhalation therapy has been shown to help with respiratory symptoms of colds and asthma. You can perform halotherapy with a himalayan salt inhaler at home or at a halotherapy center in your area.

11. Patience

It’s important to be patient during this time. Stressing about getting better will only make things worse. Chances are you may have gotten sick due to recent stress or lack of sleep, so this is a chance to recuperate on many levels.

You DON’T need antibiotics!

I wanted to note one last thing about antibiotics. Many people come to me because they want antibiotics for their cold, not realizing antibiotics are incorrectly prescribed by many clinicians. Antibiotics are NOT indicated for colds as cold are caused by a virus. Cold symptoms usually resolve on their own in about a week. There are other over the counter options available to manage cold symptoms and sometimes a doctor’s visit may be in order to assess severe symptoms or those that do not resolve after several days. As always, prevention is your best bet when it comes to staying healthy and make sure to consult with your healthcare provider when treating your symptoms.

Read about how to prevent yourself from getting sick 10 Natural Ways to Stay Healthy this Cold and Flu Season.

What natural ways do you use to treat cold symptoms?

Los Angeles Santa Monica Ayurveda

10 Natural Ways to Stay Healthy this Cold and Flu Season

Fall is finally here and with it comes the cooler weather, pumpkin spice lattes and the dreaded cold and flu season. Here are some tips for staying healthy over the next several months:
  1. Optimize your immune system

The most effective way to prevent colds, the flu, and many other diseases, is with a healthy immune system. Our immune system has special cells and molecules that recognize and fight the viruses that cause the common cold and flu. The flu vaccine is not 100% effective for the flu, and does not prevent colds, which are caused by a completely different virus. In fact, last year the flu vaccine was only about 20% effective in preventing the flu. A healthy lifestyle can potentially cover the other 80%. A healthy balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep and stress management are simple, yet incredibly effective ways that have been scientifically proven boost the immune system.

  1. Use nasal saline rinses

The entry point for cold and flu viruses occurs primarily through the nasal passages. Use a Neti pot daily to rinse your nasal passages with saline solution to flush out viruses, preventing them from spreading throughout the respiratory tract.

  1. Gargle with warm salt water

Gargling with warm salt water has been scientifically proven to prevent colds. Like saline nasal rinses, gargling with warm salt water daily can help prevent cold and flu viruses from replicating and progressing in the body.

  1. Stay Warm

The old wives tale of staying bundled up has some merit. While cold temperatures are not the direct cause of colds and the flu, scientists have found that exposure to cold air may decrease the local immune response in our nasal passages. One of the main reasons we catch colds during colder seasons is because many people spend time indoors, thus making it easier to be exposed to cold and flu viruses. If you do decide to get some fresh air, make sure to bundle up and keep your face and neck covered.

  1. Take vitamin D

study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that vitamin D supplementation in children decreased the risk of contracting the flu. Homeopathic remedies such as probiotics, vitamin C and oscillococcinum may help, but studies have not yet shown definitive evidence for their use in preventing colds and the flu.

  1. Drink Ginger Turmeric tea

In Ayurveda, colds and the flu are thoughts to be due to an imbalance of Vata and Kapha dosha. Turmeric and ginger can balance these doshas. In fact, both ginger and turmeric have been scientifically proven to strengthen the immune system and work against cold and flu viruses.

Top SellingImmune System Booster (1)


  1. Cover your mouth

Cold and flu viruses are transmitted through air droplets, so there is some merit to covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing, especially if you have symptoms.

  1. Wash your hands

While air droplets transmit cold and flu viruses, you can still spread the virus with your hands. Since cold and flu symptoms may not appear for up to one day after being infected, it’s that much more important to wash your hands frequently. Also, avoid touching your face to prevent the cold and flu viruses from entering your nose.

  1. Disinfect your home

This goes along with tip #8. Disinfect commonly touched places in your home, such as doorknobs and light switches.

  1. Avoid contact with sick people

The influenza virus is contagious so make sure to limit your exposure to those who are infected. If you happen to be sick as well, stay home and get some rest!

Stay ahead of the cold and flu season!

These prevention strategies are worth a cold and flu- free fall and winter season for you and your family. Make sure to practice a healthy lifestyle all year round.

Feel free to share ways in which you have been able to prevent yourself from getting sick in the comments below!

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Are you frustrated with your doctor?

Doctors and the Healthcare System

Many people are frustrated with the healthcare system and rightfully so. The doctor may not always be to blame however. Many people tell me how they have had doctors who don’t have time to listen or “do anything” for them. Like with anything in life, there are different levels of professionalism, however, there are also many things that go on behind the scenes of medicine that you may not know. Read more at my article on Before visiting the doctor, consider these 5 things you may not know.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

6 Holistic Ways to Prevent the Flu

The Influenza Virus

With the flu season around the corner, many of us are trying to figure out how to stay healthy and “flu-free.” The flu is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Common symptoms include:

– Fever
– Fatigue
– Headaches
– Runny nose
– Congestion
– Sore throat
– Vomiting
– Diarrhea
– Body aches



Cold vs Flu

It’s important to note that the flu is different from the common cold. Both illnesses are caused by different viruses and the flu usually comes on suddenly with more severe symptoms. The flu is also more likely to cause complications such as pneumonia, ear infections and sinus infections.

Flu Prevention

Most people think that the influenza vaccine is all they need, but according to the CDC, the influenza vaccine is only 60% effective. Here are some additional ways to help you prevent the flu (and the common cold):

1. Build a healthy immune system

The most effective way to prevent the flu, and many other diseases, is with a healthy immune system. Our immune system has special cells and molecules that recognize and fight pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria. While everyone is susceptible to the flu, those with weaker immune systems are at a higher risk of developing complications from the flu. Children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with other medical conditions such as heart failure are at risk. A healthy balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep and stress management are simple, yet incredibly effective ways to boost the immune system and prevent many other diseases!

2. Cover your mouth

The influenza virus is transmitted through air droplets, so there is some merit to covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing, especially if you have symptoms.

Sneeze in progress. Source:

Sneeze in progress. Source:

3. Wash your hands

While the influenza virus is transmitted by air droplets, you can still spread the virus with your hands. Since flu symptoms may not appear for up to one day after being infected, it’s that much more important to wash your hands frequently. Avoid touching your face since the nasal passages are the main entry for the influenza virus.

4. Disinfect your home

This goes along with tip #3. Disinfect commonly touched places in your home, such as doorknobs and light switches.

5. Avoid contact with sick people

The influenza virus is contagious so make sure to limit your exposure to those who are infected. If you happen to be sick as well, stay home and get some rest!

6. Take vitamin D

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that vitamin D supplementation in children decreased the risk of contracting the flu. Homeopathic remedies such as probiotics, vitamin C and oscillococcinum may help, but studies have not yet shown definitive evidence for their use in preventing the flu.

Take advantage of what Mother Nature has blessed you with

Despite your best efforts to prevent the flu, it’s still possible that you may come in contact with the virus. A healthy immune system, however, can stop the virus before it can spread throughout the body.  The influenza vaccine is just another way to help build our immune system’s resources, but won’t be effective if our innate healing mechanisms aren’t functioning properly.

Make sure to maintain a healthy lifestyle all year round and discuss the best flu prevention options for you and your family with your healthcare provider.

Share your flu prevention methods in the comments below!

Del-Immune Flu Prevention Expert Check out How to Prevent the Flu: Tips from 30 Health and Flu Prevention Experts on the Best Way to Avoid Getting Sick with the Flu this Winter

Healthy Citruschurri Sauce Recipe

Healthy food doesn’t have to be bland! I love this recipe which can be used as a marinade, sauce or dressing. Enjoy!


Citruschurri Recipe

Skinny Fat: When Looks Can Kill


No, I’m not talking about the pop culture oxymoron that describes thin yet flabby physiques. I’m talking about something more serious. Which brings me to my next point: SKINNY DOES NOT MEAN HEALTHY!


While some people may look deceivingly well in clothes, there may be something even more dangerous going on underneath the skin.

Why You Can be Skinny but also Fat

There is actually a scientific word for skinny-fat people: Metabolically Obese- Normal Weight (MONW). A thin person with a normal weight may actually be obese based on the amount of fat contained in his or her body. In fact, studies have found many people with normal weight to have a high percentage of body fat. So the number of obese people in the USA may actually be a lot higher than what is known now just based off the BMI values in our population.

Obesity Statistics

In 2013, of US adults over 20 years of age, 35.1% were found to be obese and 69% were found to be overweight (including the number of obese people). Think about that, more than half of US adults are overweight, and what’s even more sad is that this number continues to grow. Along with obesity comes the growing number of obesity-related diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, stroke, heart attacks and even certain cancers, eventually leading to early death.

Overweight vs Obese

Being obese means having excessive body fat, whereas being overweight means weighing too much. The statistics mentioned above are based off of the body mass index or BMI of an individual. A BMI is a measurement of relative weight based on someone’s mass and height (weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared).

BMI greater than 25= overweight
BMI greater than 30= obese

The higher the BMI is, the higher your potential risk for developing debilitating diseases and even death. The problem, however, is that the BMI does not actually measure body fat. Muscles and body water are just a few other things that influence a person’s weight. A healthy and fit male who weighs 200 lb at 6 feet tall would be considered overweight based on his BMI of 27.

Why Being Skinny-Fat is So Dangerous

MONW individuals, as compared to people with normal weight and healthy fat levels, have been shown to have an increased risk for pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and risk of dying due to cardiovascular disease. It is thought that these individuals also contribute to the high prevalence of these diseases in our country.

Dangerous Fat

So we have determined that it is not so much about how much you weigh, as it is about how much fat you have. So where is all the fat hiding? It turns out what’s more important is where the fat is located in your body. There are many different types of fat in the body. While subcutaneous fat (the fat you can pinch) may not be aesthetically pleasing, it’s the visceral fat, or the fat that surrounds the organs that is detrimental to our health. It’s this visceral fat that is associated more with the diseases I mentioned above. It’s true that people who are overweight are more likely to have a higher visceral fat content, as well as a larger abdominal circumference, which is also associated with obesity-related diseases. MONW individuals with smaller waists however also have a high content of this visceral fat as well. 

It’s very important to note that this does not mean that it’s ok to be overweight either. People with excess body weight can also run into issues with severe arthritis, physical deconditioning, difficulty walking, difficulty breathing, sleep apnea, chronic pain and overall poor quality of life.  

Are you a Skinny-Fat or MONW Person?

The best way to determine fat distribution is with radiologic imaging such as a CT scan, DEXA scan or MRI. These tests, however, are expensive and not covered by insurance for this diagnosis. An easy estimate of total body fat can be made by skin fold analysis which can be done by a personal trainer or healthcare professional.

Note the increased yellow fat tissue throughout the heavier individual. (I have been unable to find the original source for this picture as it has been widely circulated throughout the web. If anyone is aware of the original source, please contact me with the info)

Note the increased yellow fat tissue throughout the heavier individual. (I have been unable to find the original source for this picture as it has been widely circulated throughout the web. If anyone is aware of the original source, please contact me with the info.)

How NOT to be Skinny Fat… or Fat at all

So far it’s pretty obvious that it is not all about being thin, rather about being fit and healthy. Regardless of how much you weigh, if you feel you have excess body fat and are not fit, there is an answer. Research has shown time and time again that an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise are the main causes for obesity, and that a healthy diet with routine exercise not only decreases the amount of body fat (both under the skin and around the organs) but that it can reverse diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and decrease your risk for stroke and heart attacks.

So the next time you get on the scale or look at yourself in the mirror, focus on whether or not you are healthy, rather than skinny. Your life literally depends on it.

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Also a few questions to ponder:
Could you be a skinny-fat or MONW person?
Could you benefit from eating a healthier diet or exercising more?


1. CDC. 2014, May 14. Obesity and Overweight FastStats. Retrieved from

2. Rahman M, Berenson AB. Accuracy of current body mass index obesity classification for white, black, and Hispanic reproductive-age women. Obstet Gynecol 2010; 115: 982–88.

3. Romero-Corral A, Somers VK, Sierra-Johnson J, Korenfeld, Y, Boarin S, Korinek J, Jensen MD, Parati G, Lopez-Jimenez F. Normal weight obesity: a risk factor for cardiometabolic dysregulation and cardiovascular mortality. Eur Heart J. 2010 Mar;31(6):737-46.

Preview for upcoming first episode of #HealthyVibes with Dr.

Sneak Preview


Dr. Aunna’s first episode of #HealthVibes airs next week. What will it be about? Sign up for email updates if you haven’t already. Tune in for more…

The Healthy “F” Word


I’m talking about FITNESS. Obesity is at an all time high and unfortunately on the rise. With more and more people trying to get healthy these days, there seem to be new workout programs and videos everywhere you turn. But let’s get back to the basics. Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body. In addition to looking and feeling great there are many other added health benefits of exercise.

All it takes is 150 minutes of exercise per week… only 30 minutes, 5 days per week, to benefit


Benefits of exercise include (but are not limited to):

– Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and even breast and colon cancer!

– Promotes weight loss and weight maintenance (with a healthy diet of course)

– Strengthens muscles and bones

– Improves mood and sleep

– Increases lifespan

– Improves balance and reduces the risk of falls (Important for the “less young”)

How much exercise is enough?

All it takes is 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week (an average of 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week) to benefit. You will benefit the most from moderate intensity exercise which means you can talk comfortably for the duration of exercise and/or 50-70% of your maximum heart rate related to age.

How to Calculate Maximum Heart Rate

50% (220- Your age) x 0.5=
70% (220-your age) x 0.7=

There are many great heart rate monitors available for tracking your progress. Even if you can’t initially achieve this goal, just being up and moving about is better for your health than being sedentary.

What kind of exercise is best?

There are many different types of physical activities to choose from. The most benefit comes from a regimen that includes both aerobic exercise (what you would typically think of as “cardio” such as running, elliptical machine, biking, etc) and strength training such as weight lifting, squats, crunches, resistance band exercises, Pilates and so on. If you are not sure where to start, there are many great gyms that have personal trainers that can help you choose a fitness plan that is right for you. They can also ensure that you are doing the exercises correctly and safely.

Work Out Smart, Not Hard

Some of you may think that exercising harder and longer is better. In fact, running long distances or spending hours on the treadmill can lead to muscle loss. If you are looking to burn calories it’s actually more efficient to do high intensity interval training exercises, where you mix high intensity exercises to increase your heart rate with low intensity exercises for recovery. Overexercising can lead to fatigue and injuries and can increase your susceptibility to infections, so take it easy on your body.

Don’t Forget to Stretch!

Always stretch after exercise. Stretching helps with flexibility and helps prevent muscle injury after exercise. Yoga is a great way to improve flexibility and relieve stress.

Excuses for Not Exercising, and How to Overcome Them

Not having enough time
– We make time for what we prioritize. Case and point!

Not wanting to go to the gym
– Who said you had to be a gym member? You can exercise in your home or outside. A little fresh air is even great for stress relief!

Thinking exercise means vigorous intensity
– Remember, as long as you can talk comfortably while exercising, you are benefitting.

Working out intensely and feeling sick or getting injured
– It’s great to have the motivation to exercise, but if you have not been physically active for awhile, start off slow and gradually build up endurance and strength and before you know it you will be exercising at increasing intensity with more ease!

Feeling embarrassed
– Whenever we feel like others are judging us, it’s mostly because we are judging ourselves. Other people are not living our lives for us. If anyone has anything negative to say, that’s on their terms and we have the power to not let it affect us. You have nothing to prove to anyone but do have the responsibility to do what is necessary to keep yourself healthy.

Exercise can be enjoyable if you change your perspective and make it fun. In addition to exercise, don’t forget to incorporate a healthy diet and adequate sleep as a part of your daily routine. As always, you are worthy of being healthy and strong!

Let me know what you think in the comment section below:

– When could you fit in 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week minimum for exercise?
– What have your excuses been in the past for not exercising?
– What are your favorite fitness activities?

Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise regimen. 


1. 2011, Feb 16. Physical Activity and Health. Retrieved from

2. Garber, C, Blissmer, B, Deschenes, MR, Franklin, BA, Lamonte, MJ, Lee, IM, Nieman, DC, Swain, DP. 2011. Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 43 (7): 1334-1359.

3. Klika, BC. Jordan, C. 2013. High Intensity Circuit Training Using Body Weight: Maximum Results with Minimal Investment. ACSM’S Health & Fitness Journal. 13 (3): 8-13.

Persian Superfoods Lentil Recipe

Superfoods Persian Style: Adasi (Lentils)

Persian Superfoods Lentil Recipe

Persian Lentil Stew (Adasi) with Quinoa


Superfoods are rich in nutrients, and of course, super healthy! Lentils are a type of bean that are both nutritious and delicious.

Benefits of Lentils:
Lentils are high in protein, fiber, iron, B vitamins and folate.
– Protein and fiber can help keep you full longer. Fiber also helps stabilize blood sugar and lower cholesterol.
– Folate is important for healthy fetal development. Low folate levels have been found to be low in many people who have depression, so your mood may benefit from added folate!
– Given the higher content of protein in lentils compared to other beans, it is a great way for vegetarians to get their daily source of protein.

How to cook Lentils
Daal is a common Indian dish made of lentils. Lentils can also be used instead of chickpeas to make hummus. Today we are bringing you a delicious lentil recipe from the Persian Empire called Adasi.

ADASI (Persian Lentil Stew) Recipe

–               2 cups dried brown lentils
- washed and soaked in water for a few hours prior to cooking
–               1 large onion – finely chopped
–               3 Tbsp grapeseed or olive oil
–               Salt and pepper to taste
–               1 tsp turmeric
–               4-5 cups water

Optional ingredients:
– 1 Tbsp lemon juice
– 1 Tbsp plum or tamarind paste


  1. Fry the onions in the oil in a medium size pot on medium high- heat until golden.
  2. Strain the soaked lentils and add to the onions.
  3. Add the salt, pepper, turmeric and water. Make sure there is enough water to cover the lentils by about 2 inches.
  4. Cover the pot and cook on medium heat for 30-40 minutes. The lentils should be soft with consistency like a thick soup. Add more water if needed.
  5. Optional: For an added tinge of tanginess mix in the lemon juice or plum or tamarind paste.
  6. Add a little gratitude and enjoy alone or pair with rice or quinoa. Adasi can also be eaten cold as a dip with vegetables or pita chips.

Try this recipe out and let us know what you think!


Delicious Flour-less, Butter-less, Egg-less, Naturally Sweetened COoOkiEs!!!

photo 2-1I am all about healthy eating but I also love chocolate and sweets too. I found this recipe for vegetarian-friendly, protein-packed cookies (no flour, no milk butter, no white sugar, no eggs) that came out so yummy I had to keep myself from eating all of them! The secret ingredient that holds it all together: chickpeas!

Yes, Cookie Monster, Dr. Aunna says it's ok to eat some of these cookies (I think he would definitely approve )...

Yes, Cookie Monster, Dr. Aunna says it’s ok to eat some of these cookies (I think he would definitely approve )…


–       One 16 oz can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry
–        ½ cup + 2 tablespoon natural nutbutter of your choice (peanut, almond, sunflower seed, etc). Make sure there is no added sugar or salt
–        ¼ cup honey or agave nectar
–       2 teaspoons vanilla extract
–       1 teaspoon baking powder
–       1 pinch of salt
–       2 teaspoons vegetable protein powder (optional)
–       ½ cup of dark chocolate chips
(To make this a totally vegan recipe use agave nectar and vegan chocolate chips)


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F
2. Combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips. You can use a regular blender or hand blender. Make sure the mixture is smooth and that there are no chunks of chickpeas left. I added the vegetable protein powder for extra protein and to help the mixture be less sticky and more like a dough.
3. Transfer mixture to separate bowl if necessary and mix in chocolate chips
4. Form 1½ inch balls with wet hands. Place onto a Silpat, piece of parchment paper or lightly greased cookie sheet. These cookies will not spread and rise like normal cookies so pat down on them in the shape you would like them to look.
6. Bake for about 10-12 minutes.

Enjoy with a glass of almond or soy milk! Next time I am going to add dark chocolate cocoa powder to make it extra chocolatey. Try it and let me know what you think!

*Note: I am not aware of the calorie content of these cookies. Nuts are high in calorie in fats (healthy fats). It also depends on the type of chocolate chips you use (dark vs milk). Many types of chocolate chips are made with sugar. This recipe does however minimize refined carbs and unsaturated fats and maximizes protein, making this cookie a healthier option. With anything I always advise moderation!