Nourish - 8 Natural Tips to Halt Your Cold in its Tracks
Today’s blog post covers 8 Natural Tips to Halt your Cold in its Tracks. After all, it’s that time of year again. Your diary is getting filled with parties and socialising in the run-up to the festive season. Your daily commute is shared with heaps of sneezing people crowded together in hot, stuffy public transport. It’s unsurprising that we often come down with head colds burning the candle at both ends.
While hiding under the covers may be tempting, most of us need to soldier on through.
To help you out, here’s my holistic approach to helping you stay healthy when the first symptoms strike.
8 Natural Tips to Halt your Cold in its Tracks
No. 1 – Hop in a Steam Shower
This is really useful if you are getting the feeling that you’re coming down with a head cold. Increasing your internal body temperature may help fight off unwanted viral or bacterial infections faster.
If you already have stuffed up sinuses, an achy head and the general feeling of being unwell; throw yourself into that hot steamy shower when you wake up or before bed. The mist and humidity can really help to loosen the mucus and clear your sinuses so you can breathe easier.
Simply run the shower for a few minutes to generate some steam and then add a few drops of Eucalyptus essential oil into the corner of the shower. As you’re showering make sure to take deep inhalations. Soon you should feel your nasal passages open up and your head clearing.
Alternatively, for this head cold remedy, you can place your head over a bowl of hot steamy water with 3-5 drops of Eucalyptus oil in. Then place a towel over your head to trap in the steam.
Inhale deeply for 5 – 10 minutes.
No. 2 – Oil of Oregano
This is my go-to cold remedy if I’m getting sick, or I am around people who are (oh the joys of public transport!). It’s an absolute must to help halt your cold in its tracks.
Made from wild oregano plants, oil of oregano contains two compounds called carvacrol and thymol. These two compounds have antifungal, antiseptic, antibacterial, antiparasitic and antiviral properties. This makes Oregano oil absolutely fantastic at preventing and conquering colds, flus, viruses and infections.
Oregano oil comes in liquid form or as capsules/tablets. I would highly recommend P73-Oreganol Oil of Oregano as your go-to guy.
It is very potent so only a small amount is needed. Just take a drop or two on the first sign of symptoms. It’s a powerful remedy that will help knock anything unpleasant on the head that’s trying to invade your system.
If you’re already suffering from a head cold, take a couple of drops at intervals throughout the day. This should help shorten the duration and ease the symptoms. To learn more about this natural remedy to halt your cold in its tracks, read about it here: What’s the Scoop on: Oregano Oil.
No. 3 – Spoon in Some Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native Manuka bush.
Manuka honey has many uses, but it is most famously known for its ability to help promote a healthy immune system.
Importantly, it is loaded with minerals, enzymes and antioxidants, and is a fantastic defence against colds when used daily during the winter. It’s also a great treatment for coughs and sore, dry or irritated throats if you were not able to escape catching something.
How is manuka honey so effective? For a more detailed answer, see my blog What’s the scoop on: Manuka Honey. For a shorter answer, it’s down to manuka honey’s high anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. They fight the bacteria and viruses trying to attack your immune system.
This honey is eaten like ordinary honey. For example, mix it into warm water with lemon (not boiling or this will kill off the active properties). Also add to smoothies, mix through porridge, on toast or even take it off the spoon.
If Manuka honey is too much on the pricey side, opt for RAW honey instead.
Raw honey has not been heat-treated/pasteurised like commercial honey. Pasteurisation removes the beneficial enzymes, vitamins and health properties in honey – basically all the beneficial bits you want!
Use raw honey the same way. However, Manuka Honey really does have the edge when it comes to immune system support.
No. 4 – Drink Ginger Tea
Ginger helps to bring down inflammation, clear congestion and support the immune system. Plus it’s great to soothe sore throats too. Aim to drink two to three cups of fresh (or bagged) ginger tea daily.
This little remedy to halt your cold in its tracks is easy to make. Simply infuse about 2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger root in a cup of hot water for anything from 5-15 minutes, depending on how strong you like it. Feel free to add lemon and/or honey. Additionally, mixing peppermint and ginger together for a welcome alternative.
Optionally, try ginger tea in bags if you’re in the need for more convenience. Pukka’s 3 Ginger is my all-time favourite.
Learn more about herbal teas in my blog Herbal Teas: From Sunrise to Sunset.
No. 5 – Increase your Vitamin C
Vitamin C has long been known to support the immune system and help fight off colds. Up your intake of fruits and veggies high in Vitamin C to help keep those nasty bugs at bay, including:
- citrus fruits e.g lemons, grapefruit and oranges
- dark leafy greens
- Brussels sprouts
And if you’ve got the feeling you’re coming down with a cold or virus, go straight for your Vitamin C supplements.
Study after study has proven the effectiveness of Vitamin C in high dosages for prevention and relief of cold and flu symptoms.
Taking between 1000mg – 2000mg of Vitamin C every day could help to shorten the duration and lessen the symptoms and severity of a cold or flu. That’s especially true if you ensure to keep blood levels of Vitamin C high until the cold of flu has gone.
This means taking 2000mg immediately when you get the first sign of any symptoms. Then take 1000mg every hour until the cold has gone (usually within 24 hours and often within 12).
And don’t worry; Vitamin C is water-soluble so you can’t overdose on it.
Please be aware of your bowel tolerance when it comes to supplementing large doses of Vitamin C as it can cause loose bowels in some individuals.
No. 6 – Increase your Zinc
Zinc is great at helping to fight infection. Interestingly, if taken within the first 24hours from the first sign of symptoms, it has been shown to significantly reduce both the symptoms and severity of the common cold.
For optimum anti-viral effects, 50mg in the first 24 hours of symptoms can be highly effective at banishing or drastically shortening that cold or flu.
Please note, taking high levels of zinc on a constant daily basis can actually diminish your immune system and deplete your copper levels. This recommendation is for use during the first 24 hours of symptoms only.
No. 6 – Stay Hydrated
A fully hydrated body means your cells are hydrated. When you’re dehydrated, your immune system can suffer, making you more susceptible to any colds going around.
If you’re fighting off an illness, hydration is crucial. Not only do you tend to sweat a lot more when you’re sick, but you also accumulate a lot more mucus in your nose and throat as your body fights the infection.
Keeping yourself hydrated can help wash away this accumulated mucus and flush out toxins and waste products from your body, helping your recovery.
An adult requires roughly 1.5 litres of water a day on average, although depending on your activity levels, you may require more.
It’s good to note that caffeine and alcohol are hugely dehydrating, and are also not great for your immune system. They deplete it and can cause stress on your adrenal glands which ultimately affects your:
• Stress levels
• Blood sugar levels
• Energy levels
Don’t fret over a glass of wine every now and again, or a cup of coffee here and there. It’s just good practice to avoid them in order to keep your immune system as strong as possible during the cold and flu seasons.
No. 7 – Eat Clean and Light
If you’re under the shackles of a nasty cold or flu, eating a clean and light diet through its duration will be a huge help.
The more energy your body uses to digest food, the less it has for the immune system. Therefore, think steamy soups, warming teas, fresh fruits and lots and lots of veggies.
Good foods to incorporate daily (whether you have a cold or are trying to prevent one) include:
- foods rich in vitamins A, C and E
- beta-carotene and zinc
- Find them in citrus fruit| carrots| sweet potatoes| pumpkin|dark blue and red berries| mangoes|apricots| kiwis| apples| kale|red onions| beetroot|sauerkraut |broths
These all support the immune system thanks to their abundance of nutrients in the form of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, phytochemicals, fibre etc.
And don’t forget to include fresh garlic, turmeric and mushrooms, especially shitake to your diet. These foods are great for your immune system, so get peeling that garlic, chopping those shrooms and whizzing up a delicious turmeric latte.
I would also advise that you go easy on your sugar and dairy intake, and if possible cut them out entirely. At least for the duration of your sickness. Both sugar and dairy are well known for being highly inflammatory, which in cold and flu terms means a lot more mucus (aka snot!) to deal with!
No. 8 – Get Plenty of Sleep
You can consume all the kale, quinoa and green smoothies you like, but if you don’t get a good quality night’s sleep you’re almost certainly going to catch whatever’s going around.
It’s a fact that not getting enough sleep can interfere drastically with your immune function and actually multiply your chances of getting sick. Yikes!
To support a healthy immune system, ensure you get roughly 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
Your body needs at least seven hours of shut-eye to fend off sickness, minimum.
If you’re struggling to sleep because of a stuffy nose, add an extra pillow to raise your head higher. This helps the sinuses drain to keep your nasal passages open and clear. Also, don’t forget to add a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil to further open your nasal passages, and a drop or two of lavender to help you nod off.
Check out my blog 9 Natural Remedies to Help a Sinus Infection (Sinusitis) if that’s something you struggle with.
And that’s it for my 8 Natural Tips to Halt your Cold in its Tracks.
Any questions? Drop into your local Nourish store to chat with our expert team and explore our full range of foods, supplements and skincare. You can also find our full product range in our online store.
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication