It’s that time of year again, cold & flu season. The air is dry and the weather is colder, this makes it easier for viruses to spread and survive. So it makes sense why you might be seeing more people sneezing, coughing and calling in sick.
There’s a few reasons why someone may catch a cold, bad luck being one of them. Sometimes it can simply be from overexposure. Regularly riding public transit, working in a hospital and being around children put you at a higher risk.
Getting sick can actually be a sign of health too! It’s normal to get sick 1x per year, It’s a sign that our natural defense mechanisms are working. Sneezing, vomiting, fever and sweating are all ways our body works to push out pathogens. It also makes us stronger. Our body will remember this strain of virus and build a stronger defense for next time it’s put in contact with it.
However, if you get sick several times per year then your immune system may be weak. If it’s weak then you can’t expect to properly defend against viruses and germs. You’re more likely to be affected by whatever bug is going around or small changes in weather. Lack of sleep, stress, poor nutrition and overworking your body can all have their toll.
But if you’re like me you turn into a big baby when you do get sick, and you want to beat the bug as fast as possible. So I’ve written out my favourite supplement, diet, and lifestyle tips to help with just that!
Give your body a break from using its energy on normal activities and anything that can add stress. Let your body use its energy on fighting the virus and recovering instead. Rest when you can and try getting at least 8-10 hours of sleep each day.
When sick, we tend to lie in bed or sit around too much, which only adds to the body aches we feel. Stretching gets lymph fluid (clear white fluid containing white blood cells that attack viruses) moving and improves circulation.
Avoid mucus producing and inflammatory foods
These are only going to add to your congestion and further suppress your immune system.
Examples: dairy, sugar, fried foods, processed food, any known intolerances you have.
Garlic pills and/or oil of oregano
The carvacrol in oil of oregano and allicin in garlic have antibacterial and antiviral properties. They are extremely potent and my favourite weapons against cold & flus.
Antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals which damage cells and weaken immunity. So eating antioxidant rich foods and taking a supplement can reduce the duration of cold and severity of your symptoms.
Vitamin A: carrots, squash, sweet potato, liver
Vitamin C: citrus, berries, bell peppers, broccoli, tomato
Vitamin E: sunflower seeds, almonds, avocado
Selenium: brazil nuts, oysters, eggs, brown rice
Zinc: pumpkin seeds, tahini, oysters, eggs, lentils
N-Acetyl Cysteine is an amino acid that helps support detoxification and respiratory health. It improves the function of your kidneys and liver, which in favour allows us to get rid of waste products quicker. It also loosens mucus in your air passageways, so if you’re having trouble breathing or feel congested NAC can do wonders.
Turmeric, ginger, lemon, honey
This little potion is anti inflammatory, antiviral, liver friendly and soothing to you throat.
3 cups hot water
2 tsp turmeric
1 inch fresh ginger cut into pieces
1 lemon juiced
1 tbsp honey
Stir everything together, let sit for 5-10 minutes and enjoy!
Water + salt
It’s important to drink water because it helps to flush out toxins, and adding salt to it can help replenish electrolytes you’ve lost through sweat. Another way you can use water + salt is to gargle it to help soothe an irritated throat.
Broth + soups
When you’re sick, it’s common to lose your appetite. This saves your body energy that’s typically used on digesting food to help focus energy on fighting off the virus. Drinking bone broth and soups are easy to digest and a great way to add vitamins, minerals and protein into your diet
Peppermint oil has a cooling/numbing effect. Next time you have a headache you can put a drop on your fingers and rub it into your temples. Just make sure to avoid getting anything too close to your eyes.
If you feel congested a great way to get out the gunk is to boil water and put it in a big bowl. Then you can hover your face over the bowl with a towel over your head, this way the steam can directly hit your face. Just don’t put your face in the actual bowl of hot water!! This will help to open up your air passageways and loosen mucus in your nose, throat and lungs.
Add moisture to air
Dry air tends to keep viruses alive for longer and it also affects our ability to breath with ease. Adding moisture to the air not only helps our air passageways, it also reduces the risk of spreading the virus to other people.
Try all or some of these tips the next time you get sick. Let me know what you do when you catch a cold and which of these you’ve already tried! 🙂