Fighting Off A Cold

woman_sneezing_894326_54591782By Lara Zakaria, RPh HHC

Being sick sucks. I know this, you know this… so why don’t we just avoid it to begin with?

When we get sick, it’s usually due to a combination of factors that result in a weakened immune system which then allows a virus or bacteria to multiply and wreak havoc. I like to compare your immune system to a bouncer at a night club. The bouncer has an off night, no one’s paying attention to the door- and BAM! The riff-raff (viruses and bacteria) get in.

Below is my list of 10 things you can do to stop a cold naturally, dead in its tracks at the first signs of that familiar scratchy throat, fatigue and headache. Most of these will work to prevent getting sick in the first place:

1. Sleep– lots of sleep. That’s when your immune system builds up.
2. Probiotics– ESPECIALLY if you’re on/have been on antibiotics, eat conventional diary or meat or drink unfiltered tap water. I’d up the dosage while you’re sick, and consider dairy-free sources like kombucha.
3. Avoid dairy– Dairy is mucus producing. Whether you have issues digesting dairy or not, you’ll benefit from cutting it- at least when you start to feel a cold coming on or when you’re sick.
4. Garlic– well known for its antimicrobial properties. I eat it raw when I’m starting to feel run down. Follow it with cilantro or parsley to neutralize the odor. Chase it down with lemon water if it’s too much. I swear it works!
5. Ginger and turmeric– both are known to be great for boosting the immune system. You can buy the roots whole and juice them or use them to make a Golden tea. This is one of my favorite, and super easy recipes.
6. Water– you need lots of fluids when you’re immune system is working this hard. This is especially true if you have a fever or cold sweats.
7. Protein– your body will crave and will need protein to build up the protein based components of your immune system called immune globulins.
8. Chicken soup– not crappy soup out of a can. The kind that’s made from scratch from chicken bones. This is a great (and super easy) bone broth recipe. Full of healing nutrients like glycine and gelatin, it’s healing properties are cross-cultural. That stuff’s a miracle.
9. Boost your immune system– Vitamin C and Echinacea can be taken proactively to help boost your immune system starting in the fall into late spring (or year round if you prefer). Elderberry extract and zinc can be effective if taken within a day or two of the onset of symptoms to help slow the ability of the virus to replicate.
10. Don’t stress out– well that’s a good general rule, but especially true when you’re getting sick. Yes I know this is easier said than done, but are try to prioritize this especially when you’re getting sick. Find more time to meditate, breath and get thee to yoga 😉
Is there anything you do to prepare your immune system for the cold and flu season? I’d love for you to share with me on Facebook and Twitter!

Here’s to your health!