Catching and fighting the “common cold” is a normal and healthy process; we are particularly susceptible during the winter months. There is usually no need to take medication but there are loads of natural ways to avoid, alleviate and shorten the symptoms; here are a few of my personal favourites:
Garlic: Allicin is the biologically active component of garlic that has a powerful antibacterial effect. To reap the benefits, the garlic must be consumed raw and chewed or crushed. I recommend chewing 1 or 2 whole cloves of raw garlic at the first inkling of a cold… and then brushing your teeth!
Probiotics: 70-80% of the immune system is housed in the digestive tract and as such a healthy gut is imperative to keeping a cold at bay. Probiotics have been found to enhance the innate immunity and modulate pathogen-induced inflammation.
You can get your probiotics from fermented foods such as good quality yoghurt, kefir and sauerkraut or take the right probiotic supplement.
Vitamin C: may shorten, alleviate or prevent infections caused by bacteria and viruses. While there is no harm in taking a supplement, particularly during ‘cold season’, It is ideal to eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day in order to get the required vitamin C along with the other vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that are good for disease prevention and general well being.
Zinc: Taking a zinc supplement within 24 hours of the start of symptoms can work to shorten the length of a cold. See a nutritionist to make sure you are getting the right dose, form and product.
Vitamin D: Deficiency in this vital nutrient is associated with increased susceptibility to infection. Vitamin D has the important function of modulating the innate and adaptive immune responses. You can get vitamin D by exposing your bare skin to sunlight or by taking a vitamin D supplement.
Chicken Soup: What better way to fight a cold! Obviously how effective this is depends on what you put in your soup but some studies suggest that chicken soup can clear nasal congestion and provide a mild anti inflammatory affect that can help to ease symptoms. My recommendation would be to start with a good quality chicken bone broth and be sure to add turmeric, ginger and cayenne pepper. Delicious and nutritious!
There is no need to take so many pills that you rattle… All the nutrition that you need to fight a cold you can get from a nutrient rich diet. If you’d like an extra boost then seek the advice of a qualified professional.
Most importantly, never ever underestimate the importance of managing stress, getting proper sleep, hydration and sunshine.