You’ve probably heard: It’s cold and flu season.
Now, while you may be doing everything you can to boost your immune system to ward off potential illness, the fact of the matter is, most of us get struck down at some point.
Whether it is eating too much sugar, not getting enough rest, or feeling stressed out (oh, hey upcoming holiday season), our immune system can let its defenses down and knock us out when we least need or expect it.
The common cold is typically brought on by either the coronaviruses or rhinoviruses and affects mainly the upper respiratory system (nose, throat, lungs). Most people are under the impression that the virus causes your runny nose and scratchy throat, but it’s really the other way around. The symptoms you feel during a cold are your immune system at work, trying to rid your body of the nasty bug.
Dealing with a cold means letting your body fight the good fight against the virus. There are however a few things you can do to help support your immune system and manage your symptoms. In case you fall victim to the common cold this year, we created our Natural Cold First Aid Kit, so you’re armed with everything you need to battle your cold and get back on your feet pronto.
Natural Cold First Aid Kit
In the Kitchen
Bio-K+: taking your daily probiotics is a great way to help prevent a cold from starting, but if you feel a cold coming on don’t stop, as taking probiotics during your cold has also been shown to help reduce its duration.1 If your throat is sore, or you don’t have much of an appetite, try adding your probiotics to a healthy smoothie rich in other cold busting nutrients. Bio-K+ drinkable probiotics have 50 billion live and active bacteria that start their work in the mouth and the throat. With 3-6g of protein per bottle (depending on the flavour you choose) it also provides you with the building blocks you need to support your immune system.
Homemade Chicken Soup: there is something to the magical healing powers of a warm bowl of chicken soup. Researchers found that chicken soup contains compounds that help reduce inflammation, which may make your cold symptoms more bearable. Make a big batch of soup while you’re healthy and freeze it, so you have it on hand if a cold strikes you down.2
Raw Honey: also known as the elixir of life, honey contains a wealth of healthy compounds like vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and anti-viral properties. When it comes to your cold, honey can soothe a sore throat and has been shown to be even more effective than over the counter cough suppressant.3 When choosing a honey, make sure it is raw and unpasteurized, as the refining process eliminates most of honey’s healthy properties. It is also advised to never give honey to children under one years of age.
Zinc Lozenges: zinc is believed to stop the rhinovirus from multiplying, and from lodging into your mucous membranes. What researchers have found, however, is that for zinc to be effective, it must be consumed within the first 24-hours of symptoms starting, which is why it’s good to have on hand, before you fall under the weather.4
Elderberry Syrup: elderberries have been used in traditional medicine dating back to the time of ancient Egypt to treat wounds and respiratory illness. Evidence suggests that the chemicals in the berries help to reduce swelling in mucous membranes and relieve nasal congestion.5
Garlic: its immune boosting, anti-viral and anti-microbial, and it can shorten the duration of your cold. In one study, participants that were given garlic had cold symptoms on average for 1.52 days, versus the placebo group that had symptoms for 5.01 days. If you’re under the weather chop 1-2 cloves and mix with a little honey – a spoonful of it helps the medicine go down.6
Vitamin C: studies have found that Vitamin C can be your ally when it comes to reducing your cold’s severity. As a water-soluble vitamin, your body does not store vitamin C, so you need to continually take it throughout the day to feel the benefit.7 Aim for 500-1,000 mg of vitamin C every four hours.8 It should be noted that vitamin C does have a laxative effect, so if you experience digestive issues, back off your dosage.
In Your Bathroom
Eucalyptus Essential Oil: eucalyptus oil has been shown to be an effective and safe treatment for sinusitis as well as help clear mucus.9 If you’re suffering from a stuffy nose, heat some water in a pot until steam forms. Remove from the heat and add several drops of Eucalyptus oil. Lean over the bowl (keep at least 10 inches away, so you don’t get burned) and cover your head with a towel to create a tent. Close your eyes and breath for 1-2 minutes at a time.
Epsom Salts: when you’re sick your body needs rest, but with a stuffy nose and sore throat, drifting off may be easier said than done. To help you relax, slip into a warm bath filled with Epsom salts. Full of magnesium, this will help your body relax, promoting the rest that you need.
What are your tips for dealing with a cold? Let us know in comments below! For more healthy inspirations, join our community. Click here to find the closest point of sale. Contact us or find us on Facebook and Instagram.