It’s that time of year… cold and flu season is upon us. The good news is, there’s a lot you can do at home to get over that cold quicker!
First, go back to the basics: staying home (this gives your body a break to focus its attention on fighting off the cold and also helps prevent the cold from spreading to others), getting adequate rest/sleep (8 hours is preferable for adults, and even more is needed for kids), and ensuring you are well-hydrated (especially water and herbal tea).
Natural immune supports can be very effective additions to your efforts. Certain vitamins and minerals, and even some herbs will help you get over the cold faster. These need to be dosed appropriately, so talk to your naturopathic doctor to find out more about which are particularly useful for colds and flus and which are safe for you personally.
Food and drinks can also be used to stomp out the cold and boost your immune function.
Eat warm, simple foods like soups and stews – foods the body often craves while you’re sick. These meals are easy to digest and allow the body to obtain nutrients without spending a lot of energy digesting a heavy meal.
If you have a larger appetite, aim for nutrient dense veggies, fruits, and ample protein to help replenish the building blocks your immune system is using up at a faster rate than usual.
Stay away from sugar while you’re sick since it puts the breaks on immune function.
Stay away from dairy while you’re sick since it can promote extra mucus production – something you don’t need while you’re fighting off a cold.
Stay hydrated with water, herbal tea, and/or an immune-boosting juice.
Ralph’s freshly pressed juices can be a great way to get some vitamins in – especially if you’re appetite isn’t there. I like the ginger and turmeric in the Turmeric Sunrise flavour when I’m sick, but the green juices are a great option too! Just be careful not to consume too many glasses since juices are nutrient rich but they have a relatively high sugar content without the balancing effects of the fiber that’s in the whole fruit or vegetable.
And if you haven’t caught the cold yet, don’t forget about prevention! These general health tips can help you skip the cold all together.
Wash your hands regularly, especially before eating or touching your face
Cough or sneeze into your elbow, and encourage others to do the same
Load up on nutrient-rich foods (veggies, fruits, proteins) and limit your sugar intake
Aim for 8 hours of sleep per night
Manage stress as best you can
If you’re concerned you’re fighting off more than the common cold or you just want a little extra help getting over a bug, see your medical provider to get an individualized plan.
Dr. Annie Gibson | BSc , Naturopathic Doctor
A New Leaf Naturopathic Clinic