It has happened to all of us. First your inner ears starts to feel “itchy”. You start swallowing a lot. Then your throat is scratchy. You may sneeze a few times. PANIC! You know you are getting ready to come down with a cold.
A cold may seem like a small annoyance to some people, but for many, it could be a huge problem. Americans spend billions of dollars in over the counter cold/flu treatments annually. What starts out as a cold can many times turn into an expensive complication. A cold can be the beginning of sinus infections, ear infections, conjunctivitis, and pneumonia (to name a few).
What is the best way to get rid of a cold? First, do everything in your power to prevent getting one in the first place! Not getting enough rest, stress, poor diet and sedentary lifestyle can all create a situation that leads to decreased immunity, making you more susceptible to colds. However, sometimes no matter what we do, we can’t avoid it.
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/betonowylotus/
Here are some at home remedies that can help stop a cold in it’s tracks:
- Garlic. Garlic is known to kill several different types of bacteria and viruses. It also is a great immunity booster. Michael Janson MD, the president of the American Preventative Medicine Association, recommends adding garlic to your diet and also taking a “non-deodorized” garlic supplement twice a day.
- Easy to digest foods. The school of thought behind this is eating easy to digest foods can help you body spend more energy fighting off the cold virus instead of spending energy on digesting your foods. Digestion takes an incredible amount of energy! Your body needs to be using that energy to get well. Some easy to digest foods include broth based soups, fruit and vegetable juices, water and tea. Stay away from carbohydrates and proteins as much as possible, as they are complex and require a lot of energy to properly digest.
- Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body. Adding more Vitamin C rich foods (citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries, greens and peppers) to your diet is a great way to increase your Vitamin C intake.
- Zinc. Zinc has been called the “super immunity mineral” and many Americans are deficient. The Journal of the American College of Nutrition reported that zinc intake for Americans has declined leading to widespread immunity problems. Whole grains, nuts, legumes, beans and nut butters are great vegetarian sources of zinc. Throat lozenges that contain zinc have also become very popular.
- Positive attitude and balanced life. If you live a sress-free and balanced life you are much less likely to come down with illnesses. The New England Journal of Medicine published evidence that people are more likely to get colds when a person is psychologically stressed and overworked.
In a nutshell, if you feel like you are getting a cold, make a big pot of brothy soup with plenty of garlic in it, eat plenty of oranges for a snack and get some rest. You will feel back to you old self in no time!
Eauclaire, S. (1996). Preventing colds and flu: natural remedies that boost your immunity. Vegetarian Times, (232). 26.