Is your system run down and you feel the tickling in your throat? Are your family and co-workers sneezing microbes into your face and you just wonder when you are next? Are you fed up to run to your doctor and get prescriptions which don’t seem to help and you’d rather prevent or starve off a cold or flu naturally?
I have often been sick in the past but since I have improved my nutrition and learnt a few tricks of the trade, my immune system is much stronger and I was able to ward off any respiratory diseases recently. As I was writing this article, a cold knocked on my door and I was able to nip it in the bud by using some of my favorite tips below.
Here are my top tips for prevention and assisting faster recovery when you have been hit with a cold or the flu.
I am all for eating healthy and getting your fix through your Nutrition but even if you eat as healthy as I do (and that’s pretty healthy), I believe that we miss some of the nutrients due to modern agricultural and cooking principles. Especially to support the immune system when under stress and during cold conditions, one should supplement regularly with some important Micronutrients (Vitamins and Minerals) but more so when you want to ward off a cold. Here are the Top 4 Supplements:
Vitamin D3 – Especially during winter we get less sunshine and our Vitamin D levels are often depleted, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere. Vitamin D is needed to make other Micronutrients work, fight off infections and assist your immune system. Also keep in mind that most people are deficient in Vitamin D and may need regular supplementation. It is a real important Vitamin assisting the body in many functions and preventing many diseases. Ask your health care provider to test your levels to see if you are deficient. 400 IU/day for adults are recommended and as it is a Fat soluble Vitamin, take it with some fat.
Vitamin C – It won’t prevent a cold but helps you to get better quicker. The trick is to take a lot to make it work (this can even be several grams) without getting diarrhea. You can take ascorbic acid but Ester C is better for your tummy. Try getting buffered Vitamin C with bioflavonoids. During a cold, it is recommended to take a higher dose of Vitamin C. Start with 1000 mg/day and increase gradually if you tolerate more. Consult with your doctor first to avoid any interactions with other medications.
Vitamin A – Is great for the immune system and helps heal inflamed mucous membranes. To help during a cold, take 15000 IU daily with fat for better absorption. Iif you are pregnant do not exceed daily recommended limits and revert back to normal RDIs after you feel better.
Zinc – Take it immediately at the start of a cold and it may go away within a few hours. Use a 15 gram zinc lozenges every 2 hours (maximum 8/day). Best taken together with Vitamin C for better effectiveness.
An ACES supplement provides Vitamin A, C and E and Selenium and is a great immune booster during the cold season.
If you take supplements and increase doses during illness, always consult with your health care provider to avoid interactions with medications or counter indications.
Broth – You grandma told you to eat chicken soup and it turns out, she was right. Always make a chicken soup yourself with bones and pasture raised chicken. You can also use organic Beef or Lamb bones and meat to do a broth. For vegetarians, make a vegetable broth of peeled potato skin with carrots, celery, garlic and onions.
Ginger– Fights the virus which is responsible for many colds. Make a tea, eat it raw or add to your soup and food. I grate or grind (in a food processor) a big batch in advance and keep it in the freezer for quick availability.
Garlic – It has strong antiviral, antibacterial, anti-parasitic, and antifungal properties. It also boosts your immune system. Just add as much as possible to your meals, or take it as a supplement (aged garlic is best)
Turmeric – Like ginger and garlic, one should eat this every day for a dose of antioxidants and curcuminoids, the most famous is curcumin. Curcumin regulates your immune system and is a strong anti-inflammatory. Curcumin extract is stronger but you can also buy a fresh root, grind and freeze it for easy access.
And of course eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, highest Vitamins C content is in papaya, peppers, oranges, watermelon, broccoli, grapefruits, strawberries and lemons. Protein rich food like dried beans, meat and seafood are also recommended to add Zinc to your diet.
Herbs and Essential Oils
Useful Herbs are ginger, yarrow and hyssop. Make a tea and add lemon and honey.
Eucalyptus Oil helps relieve congestion, cinnamon oil kills bacteria, oregano oil is antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant and antibacterial and so is tea tree oil. The best is to put it in a burner, do a steam inhalation or add to your bath. When you buy essential oils, always buy high quality therapeutic grade products, ideally organic.
Boost your Metabolism with a brisk walk outside or a cold-hot shower to prevent colds but don’t overdo it when you are sick.
Moderate exercise is always good to give you a boost. On the onset of a cold continue with some light exercise such as some yoga or a walk.
Drink plenty of water. Ideally you should drink half your weight in ounces. If you weigh 150 lbs. you should drink 75 ounces of water throughout the day (additional to tea, coffee, juice, sodas etc.)
As simple as it sounds, wash your hands often and stay away from those sick. Stay home when you are sick, your co-workers will thank you.
And get plenty of rest. A good night’s sleep (8-9 hours) will often sort out your cold immediately but if you have gotten sick, just get rest as much as possible.
What are your best natural health tips to beat a cold or flu? Leave your comments below.
By: Andrea Caprio
Holistic Nutrition and Wellness coach
Wellness Methods offers tailor-made Corporate Wellness programs, Health and Nutrition Coaching for busy Executives