Beat Colds and Flu Naturally
Those annoying symptoms of cold and flu – the hacking cough, the sweats and fever – can make our lives miserable. Did you know, though, that they are signs that you are getting better? They are part of your body’s immune system response to the illness. Often people rush to the pharmacy to get hold of medications, such as decongestants, that will restrict the flow of blood to the nose and throat. Yet increased blood flow will help to clear out germs and warm the infected area. By holding back on the pharmaceuticals and letting the body’s natural defense mechanisms do their thing, we will get better faster. Colds give rise to a runny nose, a cough, and a sore throat. Symptoms of flu include these effects, but to them add in fever, and joint and muscle pain. Flu can develop into pneumonia, from which thousands of Americans die every year.
Your Nutritional ArmorThe old wisdom was to “feed a cold, starve a fever.” Nowadays, we realize that fasting weakens us. When we are struck with a virus, like a cold or flu, that is when we need strength through nutrition more than ever. Eating provides the essentials that your body needs to battle a cold or flu. There is no cure for the common cold, or for the flu. Proper nutrition, however, is a vital way to fortify yourself against the virus. If you do contract one, proper nutrition can shorten its stay and make its symptoms less severe. Here are 5 nutritional pillars that will help you to beat a cold or flu:
Vitamin CVitamin C has been touted as a cure-all for the common cold. There is, in fact, no evidence that large doses of Vitamin C work to prevent colds. However, there are studies that show that small doses can shorten them or lessen their symptoms. Vitamin C is known to act as an antihistamine. Drinking citrus juice or getting your Vitamin C in supplement form may help alleviate nasal symptoms.
FluidsThe fever that is a part of the flu symptoms can quickly lead to dehydration. That is why it is vital that you increase your water uptake. You should drink 8-10 glasses of water each day while you have a cold or flu. This will replace lost fluids, keep your mucous membranes moist, and loosen the phlegm. Do not drink alcohol while you have a cold or flu. It will dilate small blood vessels, making the sinuses feel even more stuffed up, and will generally fight against the body as it tries to defeat the virus.
Chicken SoupChicken soup is more than simply a cold comfort food. It is soothing, easy to digest, and contains cystine. Cystine helps to thin out the mucous and relieve congestion. It is also believed to be able to reduce inflammation of the lungs. Scientists believe it does this by slowing down the action of white blood cells that cause inflammation.
Spicy FoodsSpicy foods, such as hot peppers, garlic, turmeric, and chili peppers contain capsaicin, which has been shown to break up nasal and sinus congestion.
ZincThe immune system is your mainline defense against the cold or flu virus. Zinc is a well-known immune system booster. Increase your zinc intake by eating seafood, such as oysters, red meat, poultry, yogurt, and whole grains. You can also get more zinc through supplementation. Do not exceed 40 mg of zinc per day, as doing so will weaken the immune system.
SupplementationFortifying your immune system with an all-natural supplement before and during a cold or flu is a smart move. Look for a product that contains the ingredients already mentioned. Take 1-3 tablets per day.
What Else Can You Do?
RestYour immune system is working overtime to fight the virus. Support it by cutting back as much as you can on your normal routine. Stop exercising while you’ve got a cold or flu, and try to sleep more.
Seek Medical Help if Symptoms PersistIf you are feeding your body the right nutrients and getting plenty of rest, your cold or flu should go away by itself. However, there are some red flags that warrant seeking medical attention. If you experience any of the following, make an immediate appointment to see your general practitioner:
- Green, yellow, or bloody phlegm
- Severe pain in the face, jaw, or ear
- Trouble swallowing or breathing
- A fever in excess of 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C) that lasts for more than 48 hours