Fight That Cold
Posted on November 10th, 2016
It’s that time of the year again…flu season. Suddenly everyone starts getting the sniffles or a sore throat – the change to colder weather will do that. Being sick is never fun for anybody. It’s one of those things that even though you know your cold won’t last forever, it still sometimes feels like you’re never going to get better.
Here are some tips that keeps me in tip-top shape:
1. Sambucol Black Elderberry Extract
Whether you’re already sick or are trying to prevent getting sick, sambucol black elderberry extract has plenty of antioxidants and gives your immune system a boost to fight and prevent illnesses. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the highest concentration of anthocyanins (known to stimulate the body’s immune system) are found primarily in the pigments of dark blue and deep purple fruits. Elderberries have twice the antioxidant capacity of blueberries and significantly more than cranberries.
When you’re feeling under the weather, it can be hard sometimes to get out of bed – especially because you often feel the worst when you first wake up. A sauna or steamy shower is one of the best ways to clear congestion and get rid of mucus.
Sleep is a big one. Making sure you get enough zzz’s is essential to allow your body to heal. When we sleep our immune system releases proteins called cytokines. When we get sick or even stressed, our bodies need more of these cytokines. Not getting enough sleep might lead to a depletion of these proteins required for healing. Lack of sleep can also affect how quickly it takes your body to get better once you are sick. Infection fighting antibodies and cells are reduced when you don’t get enough sleep.
4. Hot tea with lemon
Instead of coffee, sip on teas which are very soothing for your throat. I like to sip on hot tea with lemon (also good for your digestion) with a touch of honey. In Ayurveda, honey increases ojas (the positive aspect of the doshas) that nourishes your body. Ojas is the foundation for endurance and physical and mental strength.
Staying hydrated is key. When you’re sick, the amount of water that evaporates from our body increases. Keep a bottle of water near you at all times so that you continually replenish your body all day.
6. Chicken Soup
Besides being warm and delicious, German scientists have discovered that chicken soup is rich in a compound called carsonine which can help boost your immune system and aid respiratory symptoms. Drink up!
7. Gargle salt water
If you have a sore throat, gargle warm water with salt. Not only does gargling warm salt water help get rid of bacteria (your teeth will thank you!) but it also provides relief and has preventative benefits. It essentially helps to flush the virus out.
8. Neti Pot
Clear out any mucus in your nose by using a neti pot. Neti pots have long been used in Ayurvedic medicine as a way to alleviate sinus and allergy problems. Neti pots work by thinning the mucus so that it can be flushed out. In Ayurveda regular use of the neti pot, even when you aren’t sick, is considered important in your routine. The nasal cavity is the source of prana (life force) that flows to our brain. When it is clogged, it can leave us feeling lethargic, stagnant and not clear headed. It is also recommended to oil the nose with oils such as olive oil, brahmi oil and seseme oil. This prevents the nostrils from getting dry.
9. Your diet
According to a Harvard Medical study, some research shows that deficiencies of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E can impact the immune system. Chickpeas and pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc and can easily be added as a topping to a salad. If you find your diet isn’t providing enough of these nutrients, opt for a daily multivitamin or supplement instead. It’s also smart to increase your protein intake. Diets that are low in protein can deplete your immune system. Eggs are a great option as they contain all nine essential amino acids. Some other foods that also help your immune system are ginger, carrots and cauliflower.
10. Keep your stress levels down
There is a strong link between mind and body connection. Chronic stress does more than affect us mentally. Prolonged stress alters the effectiveness of the hormone cortisol to regulate the inflammatory response to bacteria and viruses. Even if you’re feeling down and not in the mood, take a few minutes to do a meditation or go for a walk – whatever it is that brings you back to your balanced centre.
Happy healing! xo
Mackenzie, Macaela. “12 Foods to Fight the Flu.” Shape Magazine. N.p., 02 Nov. 2015. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.
“Lack of Sleep: Can It Make You Sick?” – Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.
ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 Apr. 2012. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.
Publications, Harvard Health. “How to Boost Your Immune System – Harvard Health.” Harvard Health. N.p., 15 June 2016. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.
Anderson, Chris C. “Does Gargling Wlth Salt Water Ease a Sore Throat?” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.
Babizhayev, Mark A., PhD, and Anatoly I. Deyev, PhD. “Management of the Virulent Influenza Virus Infection by Oral… : American Journal of Therapeutics.” LWW. N.p., Jan. 2012. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.