Before I changed my diet to focus on minimally processed whole foods, I used to get colds constantly. While I wish I could say I never get sick now, that wouldn’t be entirely true. What is true is that I get sick far less frequently and my symptoms are a lot less severe. Plus, it’s rare that I feel under the weather for more than a few days.
The other part that’s changed is that I’m now acutely aware of exactly what’s made me sick. Normally I catch it from someone I’m close to (most often my fiancé who works in healthcare and is exposed to all sorts of bugs) or because I’ve been traveling, stressed out, or just generally run down. Aside from the first thing, knowing what makes me susceptible to coming down with a cold has made it easier for me to take extra good care of myself so that I can prevent getting sick in the first place.
But, there’s always a time or two per year that I lose the battle and come down with a cold. This week is one of those times. I’ve been extremely busy lately AND traveled to New York last weekend, so when my fiancé came down with a cold I knew it was only a matter of time until I caught it too.
Thankfully, I’ve picked up a trick or two over the years that really helps to prevent my cold from getting too bad and significantly decreases the number of days I feel under the weather. I’ll probably have to write a part 2 to this post eventually because there are so many different things that I do, but here are my top 5 go-to cold remedies.
This stuff is pure magic. If someone told me I could pick only one supplement for preventing and beating colds, this would be it. Hands down. It is chock full of essential immune-boosting vitamins like Zinc, Vitamin D and Vitamin C plus a whole host of cold-fighting extracts like Garlic, Elderberry and Echinacea. The pills smell and taste pretty gross but don’t get me wrong, they’re so worth it. Before traveling or doing anything where I know my body will be under stress, I take a couple each day for prevention. When I’ve already come down with something, I take 3 pills twice a day. You can purchase 240 capsules for under $20 on Amazon Prime here, which is an amazing deal for how powerful they are.
When we’re sick, it most likely means that our immune system is compromised. One important way to both prevent and treat sickness is to boost our immune systems. Probiotics are an amazing way to keep our immune system strong, which will in turn help us get sick less often and for a shorter period of time. What most people don’t realize is that each probiotic is different and contains different strains of healthy bacteria. It’s extremely important to switch up how you get your probiotics so that you aren’t just building up a couple types of bacteria and overlooking the rest. For that reason, it’s rare that I will buy the same bottle of probiotics twice in a row and I also try and integrate as many probiotic rich foods as possible like kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut and dairy-free yogurts (click here to read about why I don’t eat dairy). If you are new to probiotics or want to mix it up and try something new, I highly recommend Jarrow Formulas Jarro-Dophilus Allergen-Free. My favorite kombucha right now is Health-Ade’s Ginger Lemon flavor. Ginger and Lemon are also amazing immune-boosting foods so there’s really nothing not to love, especially when you aren’t feeling your best.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The health of our immune system is very closely linked to the health of our lymphatic system. Therefore, it goes without saying that an important part of maintaining wellness is to ensure we are giving our lymphatic system some love. One of the ways you can do this is with apple cider vinegar, which has been shown to cleanse and strengthen our lymphatic system. Additionally, apple cider vinegar has been shown to decrease mucus production making it one of my favorite cold remedies. Apple cider vinegar isn’t the best tasting thing on the planet, but combining a tablespoon with 8oz of water and stevia makes it a bit more palatable. I highly recommend only buying raw, organic apple cider vinegar. Bragg is a great option. They also recently started producing apple cider vinegar beverages which taste shockingly delicious. My favorite is the Apple Cinnamon flavor.
Inflammation can be a key cause of a weakened immune system. When feeling under the weather, it’s extremely important to focus on consuming mostly anti-inflammatory foods and supplements. Omega-3s are extremely anti-inflammatory and for this reason, I load up on them when I’m sick. My diet is pretty high in omega-3s to begin with but I do take a supplement from time to time because even I struggle with getting enough of these fatty acids. It’s crucial to get a high-quality omega-3 supplement or else you could be wasting your time and money. My Naturopath recommended Orthomega and I’ve been using it ever since. If you aren’t a pill person, you can load up on your omega-3s by eating foods like small cold-water fish such as salmon or sardines, grass-fed meats and chia.
When it comes to colds, Vitamin C is probably the most common antioxidant we’re told to consume. But all antioxidants are super powerful inflammation-fighters. I also make sure to focus on minimally processed, anti-inflammatory foods, most of which contain naturally occurring antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene and Vitamin E. Two of my favorite antioxidant rich foods are blueberries and lemon. Blueberries are extremely high in nutrients and low in sugar, which makes them perfect for when you have a cold. (Sugar is inflammatory so I like to stay away from things like orange juice when I’m sick, even though it contains Vitamin C). My all-time favorite Suja flavor, Lemon Love, is another great source of antioxidants without any excess sugar.
And that just about wraps it up! As I mentioned, these are only a few of the many cold-fighting remedies that I use but I go back to these time and time again. What natural cold remedies do you guys use?