Have you come down with the cold or the flu or are there people around you at home or at work that may be sick? It is possible to be exposed to cold and flu viruses and not get sick if you follow a comprehensive nutrition plan that will keep your immune system functioning at it best. What you eat is so important because the nutrients in food are the very building blocks of all the cells in your body.
Sometimes it’s okay to get sick and let the illness run its course – this actually strengthens the immune system. But if you’re like most people, rather than do nothing and suffer, you want to take care of your cold or flu as quickly as possible.
Do you take commercially available cold or flu formulas to help you get through your illness? They may work for some but not for others. Some are quite useless and only cover up the symptoms without supporting your immune system.
Here are my Top 10 Cold & Flu Remedies & Tips that will boost your immune system, help shorten the duration of your cold or flu to as little as a few hours (this, of course, depends on how healthy you really are) and help you recover better:
- Raw garlic: This should be crushed with a garlic press to release the potent anti-viral and anti-microbial sulfur-based compound called allicin. Allicin is unstable and decomposes quickly so it’s best to consume within a few minutes of crushing. Don’t chew the garlic unless you want to repel vampires and everyone you talk to, rather, divide the crushed garlic into thirds or fourths and swallow each portion by inserting in a well-masticated bolus of food (eating with food with also prevent the heartburn that raw garlic can typically cause). One clove per meal should suffice.
- Hot chili peppers: Consume enough hot peppers (fresh or powdered) to make your nose run and cause you to perspire. Sweating actually aids in the healing process. The capsaicin in peppers (the hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains) will not only help thin mucous and therefore ease congestion in the nose and sinuses but it will also help relieve a painful sore throat. Eat with food to minimize gastric upset.
- Fresh Ginger Root: Another warming spice that is best consumed fresh (chew pieces of ginger root) but is also effective when made into a tea (peel, grate and steep the root in hot water). Gingerols, the active components in ginger, have anti-inflammatory effects and also ease sore throats. Drink a few cups of ginger tea or chew ginger throughout the day. Powdered ginger is not as effective.
- Coconut oil: Coconut oil is anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory. Consume a few tablespoons a day, preferably with food or melted into warm water or teas. Minimally processed, extra-virgin, organic coconut oil is best.
- Oil of Oregano: The carvacrol in oregano oil (Origanum vulgare) has anti-viral and anti-microbial properties. Obtain oregano oil with a carvacrol concentration of at least 70%. Consume 3 drops of liquid oregano oil twice a day sublingually for best absorption.
- Baking Soda & Apple Cider Vinegar: Dissolve ½ tsp. of baking soda in 2 tbsp. raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. This will bubble rapidly, make sure you use a large or tall glass. Drink two or three “shots” of this during the course of the day. Baking soda and apple cider vinegar combined will create an environment that is inhospitable to pathogens by improving your pH.
- Himalayan Salt & Baking Soda: Boil 1 cup of filtered water and allow to cool to room temperature, thoroughly dissolve ½ tsp. of salt and ½ tsp. of baking soda in 1 cup of water and flush sinuses with a neti pot. It may sting a bit but this helps alleviate congestion and gets the mucous out. These salts are anti-infective and make it difficult for pathogens to survive. This can be done once or twice a day.
- Hydrogen Peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide is a potent anti-infective. Gargle with hydrogen peroxide for a minute or so. Also place two or three drops in each ear, allowing a minute or two to absorb and then allow each ear to drain. This can be done once a day.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps prevent infections and supports the immune system. The best source of Vitamin D is from the sun but this is not always feasible especially in the winter, so you may want to supplement with oral vitamin D3. Always look for supplements with the least additives. Take 1,000 IU per 25 pounds of body weight per day. Consume with fat for best absorption.
- Mushrooms: Mushrooms have immune-supporting properties and contain many compounds that are anti-infective. Obtain a variety of fresh, preferably organic mushrooms and cook lightly. Eat a few ounces with your meals. Avoid dried mushrooms unless you know that they are free of heavy metal contamination.
You may need to do several of the aforementioned or all depending on the severity of your cold or flu and how strong your immune system is. Continue to take the above remedies until a day or two after all symptoms cease, NOT when you start to feel better. You want to make sure you have gotten rid of your cold or flu. If you don’t feel better after trying these recommendations after a week or two, you may have something more serious than a cold or flu and should see a health care practitioner.
Although most of the above recommendations are safe for most adults, everyone is different and might not respond favorably to one or several of these remedies. It’s important to try one thing at a time and if you experience any side effects from any one of the above, stop that remedy immediately. The above remedies should not be used for children or for the long-term.
Remember, if you get sick often, you may want to see a health care practitioner well versed in nutrition to create an individualized and comprehensive nutrition plan that will keep you in an optimal state of health.
Hope this helps you get through the cold and flu season!