Well the time has come. It’s starting to get colder out there. The scarves and jackets are coming back out of the back of the closet and the scratchy throat and congested nose seem to come along with them.
Here are a few tried tested and true ways to beat that cold a little faster:
1. Vitamin E and Vitamin D: This dynamic duo of vitamins gives the immune system a much-needed boost. These vitamins in my opinion should be a part of your regular routine. Vitamin D daily and Vitamin E whenever you feel a cold coming on.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant. It is said to support the immune system by protecting the other vitamins in a person’s system and allowing them to function optimally. It is also said to prevent aging! It is important to note here that vitamin E is fat soluble and not one of those vitamins that just flush out in urine. In the case of Vitamin E more certainly is not better; please follow the recommended dose. Vitamin E is best as an immune booster and not a daily supplement. (Source)
Vitamin D is the Belle of the ball in the immune booster department. Inside of our bodies there are T cells. These T cells are the part of our immune system that seeks and destroys any foreign invaders in the form of bacteria or virus. Here’s the clincher: our T cells cannot function without Vitamin D! So be sure to add this incredibly important Vitamin to your daily health routine. Especially if you live in Canada or a place where 12 hours a day of sunshine just doesn’t happen all year round. Also important to note here: the darker your skin the harder it is for your body to derive Vitamin D from the sun. (Source)
2. Onions, Garlic, Horseradish, Ginger and Cayenne pepper
These hot and spicy foods get the nose running and that seems to be one of the best things for a speedy recovery from a cold or flu. Garlic and Onions have a compound called “allicin” that is a bacteria and virus fighter. If taken soon enough at the onset of a cold they may prevent the need for antibiotics. These have many similar compounds of cold and flu remedy pills. Garlic has been proven to improve the activity of T cells. Garlic and onions are antiseptic. Horseradish causes the sinuses to rid themselves of mucus hence preventing infection and is a mild antibiotic. Cayenne pepper boosts the effectiveness of other herbs. Sure enough if you eat these common foods often you will have a better defense against cold and flu season. (Source) (Source)
3. Extra Sleep
This just makes sense, a body fighting off illness needs to rest as much as possible to divert all resources towards getting better. There is a school of thought that if you get enough sleep on a regular basis that you will be much less likely to get sick in the first place. (Source)
4. Chicken Soup
Apparently this is a little more than just soothing. Chicken soup helps clear out mucus, acts as an anti-inflamatory and in my opinion all of that salt helps to prevent dehydration.
5. Sinus Rinse/ Netti Pot
This handy device can knock a cold out in two ways. First it rinses all of that mucus out of the nasal cavities preventing infection from forming in your sinuses and that helps a person get better much faster. The second way is that it decreases the impact of symptoms. That horrible need to cough first thing in the morning is eliminated by doing a sinus rinse. It also gets rid of the post nasal drip cough that just wont stop. It is important to be sure to use water that has been previously boiled. No one wants any nasty microorganisms that close to their brain! ( Seriously three people died that way last year) (Source)
6. Wash Your Hands
Again this is just plain common sense. When you are sick you want to keep everything around you as germ free as possible. Both out of respect to the people around you but also to ensure a speedy recovery. It is important to note that dry chapped hands spread germs more efficiently. Be sure to moisture between washes. This is also a good time to employ good old hand sanitizer.
7. Aviod Sugar
Sugar is just plain not good for you in the first place which is a pretty big bummer because it’s delicious. When it comes to colds and flus sugar lowers the immune system and prolongs the healing process. So steer clear from the sweet stuff and you’ll get better so much quicker.
8. Hot Drinks
There are lots of possible reasons as to why a hot drink helps soothe a sore throat.Some people say that warm beverages temporarily coat the throat for relief of the raw feeling. I have always favoured hot drinks when I’m sick because I think that the heat of the drink kills any of germs living in my throat. At the very least a warm beverage will help get towards congestion. There is something very comforting about a warm drink so don’t discount the benefits of stress reduction.
9. Listerine, Salt Water
Good old gargling. This again targets the germs that build up in the back of the throat and prevents them from getting too cozy in there. I personally HATE salt water but I have found that listerine is an equal substitute.
11. Cranberry Pills
Imagine taking cranberry pills like taking a whole bunch of little Ziploc bags that go into your system and close themselves around any foreign invaders and prevent them from latching on inside of you. Cranberry doesn’t really attack infection so much as just cause infection to be incapable of staying in the body. Pretty cool stuff! The pills really are better than the juice…remember sugar is the enemy when dealing with cold and flu. You will get so much more bang for your buck with the pills. (Source)
12. Oil Of Oregano
Death to all bacteria! Oil of oregano burns in the throat but it will kill any minor infection anywhere in your body. It is pretty amazing stuff. I wouldn’t recommend taking it when you are pregnant. (Source)
Last but not least: keep yourself hydrated. The body just does not function as well asit should without the proper amount of fluids. Extra fluids are needed during times of illness because your body will be using that water to literally wash away waste that accumulates when the immune system is actively fighting a cold. Water is always the best choice. If you were washing your car you would choose water and not ginger ale. It is important to try to treat our bodies as nice as we would treat our cars.