If you haven’t felt a cold coming on you can guarantee you know at least a handful of people who are coughing and spluttering and or suffering from sore throats, fevers and any other number of cold or flu symptoms!
Tis is the season for the relentless virus…
If you have been fortunate enough to be unaffected. It may be that you will begin to notice the descriptive and visual catch it, bin it, kill it campaigns along with potentially unnerving advertisements for the flu jab. Read on so you are equipped to steer clear!
I see a cold as a warning, it is always an opportunity to listen to your body. A strong immune system can fight and prevent a cold from becoming anything more serious or long term. If you are finding a cold hard to shift, this can be a huge sign to stop and listen. Your immunity needs help, or in most cases you need to rest!
I try to avoid being alarmist, but many people view reoccurring colds or infections as something that is not too serious. The reality is your immunity is letting you know it is weak, leaving you open to more serious cell damage which could lead to many types of cancer.
So what can you do?
The very best way forward is to make your body strong and provide your immune system with the ability to repel infection. This can be achieved by following a healthy diet, which is low in sugar and processed foods and high in fibre which will feed your good bacteria enabling a strong gut health. However, we know that stress depletes many helpful nutrients therefore, rest and self-care are crucial to improving health. Believe me I know in our present time this is sometimes easier said than done, even more reason to recognise the signals our bodies are giving us.
It is very rare I suffer from a cold and they definitely don’t stick around for long. I will share with you 10 ways to prevent or brush off colds and flu with a few myth busters that may surprise you. Most of these treatments are safe for everyone, however if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or under medications, I advise that you check with your doctor before trying any of these.
Myth busters and proven remedies:
1. Vitamin D Being deficient in vitamin D increases our risk of flu. Therefore as it is more difficult to get the doses of vitamin D we need in the winter months, taking cod liver oil or another Vitamin D supplement at this time can have a protective affect.
2. Elderberry juice can inhibit the growth of the flu virus.
3. Anthocyanin, the flavonoids found in cherries, black rice, all berries, aubergine skin will help strengthen your immunity.
4. Echinacea has been suggested to quickly fight off a cold. This herb works with your white blood cells to combat unwanted viral infections. I have used this in the past and it has been extremely effective, however, it is not to be taken all year round.
5. Zinc – At the first sign of a cold taking a zinc supplement or eating foods high in zinc can significantly support a quick recovery. These include: garlic, oysters, sesame seeds, pumpkin seed, pine nuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, edamame, chickpeas, beef, kidney/black beans, shitaki mushrooms, tahini, kale
6. Vitamin C is definitely protective for our immunity when consumed as food, however there is no evidence to show vitamin C supplementation improves/prevents or even shortens cold or flu symptoms. Therefore eat foods high in vitamin C, whilst avoiding vitamin C supplements. These include citrus fruits, kiwi, strawberries, kale, Spinach (or other greens), peppers, sprouts etc.
7. Avoid cough syrups! Not only do they usually contain high amounts of sugar, but they prevent coughing (have I gone mad you say?) You actually do need to cough to clear the mucus and all of that lovely stuff!
8. Avoid chicken soup! Choose a vegetable soup, with lots of garlic and veggies which include zinc and vitamin C. Animal protein is harder to digest and when you are ill you must try to rest your body as much as possible.
9. Avoid anti-nutrients, as these just reduce the effect or even the amount of beneficial nutrients working in your body, suppressing your immune system. These include high sugar or highly processed foods, white flour and white bread.
10. Include more of these foods daily to boost your immunity against all illness and disease: peas, tomatoes, greens, chlorella, black beans, quinoa and wild rice
Be well and feel good,