Feeling under the weather? When the temperatures drop, we tend to spend more time indoors, consume more indulgent, comfort foods, get less sunshine and fresh air, and even when we do go venture out there is a tendency to be sneezed on by some lovely, but cold inflicted person. Sneezes are some of the most powerful athletes in the entire universe when you think about it as in comparison to the size of droplets, they can hit from miles away, well over the other side of the room/cafe. Is that too gross an image, oh well, let’s carry on in a more sensible manner. This combination of above plus possible home/work stress, the run-up to the super busy festive period, not looking after ourselves properly etc etc can lead to a higher exposure to airborne organisms and decreased immunity, which means you’re more likely to catch a cold or flu.
But don’t be too quick to jump to over-the-counter solutions unless it’s absolutely necessary. Our bodies are built to defend ourselves and heal ourselves and by taking chemical medications they make you feel a little better but they’re just masking the symptoms so you’ll ‘Carry on Regardless’, (sung by Beautiful South I think in the 90’s). I’m not saying we should never take medications but when we get a cold, our bodies need to rest, regroup & reset and by making ourselves feel ‘chemically better’, we will push ourselves to keep going so whatever is ailing us will have the decency, thanks but no thanks, to hang around longer thereby making us feel shit longer and taking in more meds. Apart from resting, nature is chock full of remedies that can help you boost your immunity (it can be lowered by stress, lack of sleep, eating crap food, overexercising, underexercising, get the picture) and help to alleviate snots and sniffles.
Here are 4 natural foods and remedies that will help you get through cold and flu season (sensibly written for once):
Garlic & Onion
Garlic and Onion are everyday superfoods (mega anti-inflammatory and great for digestion too) that should be included in daily meals to keep your immune system strong. They are an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal powerhouses! Garlic and onion are also full of vitamins, minerals, and fibre for overall health. Chop them up and sprinkle on or cook with every day, whether you’re sick or not! Or make a super easy fabulous Onion Soup with loads of restorative, if a little stinky, garlic – 2 vegs, 1 recipe. Here’s a super easy video on how to make https://youtu.be/3e6zxtpjzGo
Apple Cider Vinegar, Lemon, Honey, Ginger, and Water
This remedy is great for coughs or sore throats, and should be consumed like a tea. Boil some hot water, add a capful of apple cider vinegar (an organic one that says ‘With The Mother’ on the bottle – that’s the probiotic), a squeeze of fresh lemon, ½ a teaspoon of raw honey, and some sliced fresh ginger. The combination of acidity, B-vitamins, Vitamin C, and the general cocktail of immunity-boosting compounds will soothe irritation and help your body begin to recover. The warmth and mild sweetness will also soothe your soul and help you rest while keeping you hydrated – aaahhh. Take out the honey and it’s also a fabulous drink to have first thing in the morning to waken up the body and help with a little digestive arse kicking – just saying!
Coconut oil and Peppermint/Eucalyptus essential oil
This makes a great throat (external) and chest rub if your lungs are feeling sore and your sinuses aren’t clear. Combine a dollop of coconut oil with a few drops of peppermint and/or eucalyptus oil and rub it on your chest or back before going to sleep or if you’re ‘resting’ (like I told you to do) on the couch with your blankie watching Mr Darcy. The soothing massage will relieve some of the physical discomfort while the essential oils can help clear your breathing passages as you inhale the oils while sleeping.
Oil of Oregano
This is most effective if taken right after exposure or at the first sign of a cold. It can also help to relieve sinus congestion when combined with steaming hot water and inhaled deeply. Oil of oregano is available at many health food stores and is a powerful anti-microbial that can stop viruses and bacteria from proliferating.
Additional ways to reduce the severity and duration of colds:
- Be like Monty Dog & Pixie Woof – wrap up and rest in bed or on the couch with a blankie
- Make sure you’re taking a strong, good quality, Vitamin C and Echinacea
- Blow your nose regularly to eliminate germs quickly
- Use a humidifier in your bedroom if you have
- Lots of hydration, warm and cold (not alcohol though thank you very much, unless one wee hot toddy is your thing or your Grannies)
- Rest, NO multitasking
- If it’s sunny, wrap up and go sit outside in the fresh air for 15 mins (our bodies need Vitamin D)
- Reduce sugar – it lowers immunity and yours is clearly down already
- Get someone to bring you some pretty flowers and a few boxes of ‘soothing’ tissues, that nose is going to be red anyway, no scratchy loo roll or kitchen paper.
Hope you feel better soon.