Getting a common cold doesn’t have to be so… common. There are things you can do naturally to make getting sick less likely.
Hand washing and overall healthy habits can reduce your risk of getting sick in the first place. And good nutrition can help your immune system fight off a cold quicker. Imagine your germ-fighting immune cells all hungry and tired, versus them being nourished and full of energy.
Natural tips to reduce your risk of getting sick:
Wash your hands. A lot. Your hands can trap and transport all kinds of microbes that cause sickness. And I’m not just talking about colds here, but lots of different germs.
NOTE: Antibacterial soaps and gels are not recommended! Not only is it no more effective than regular soap and water, but it can contribute to antibiotic resistance.
Get enough sleep. Did you know that our immune system cycles with our circadian system? When we sleep our immune cells produce antibodies to fight infections. Try to get at least 7 hours every single night, even when you're feeling great.
Get enough nutrients. I know this is way oversimplified, but I would be remiss to exclude it. Every cell in your body, including your immune cells, need enough of all the essential nutrients. The more nutrition you have, the better and stronger you will be, especially with vitamins A, C, and E. Vitamin A-rich foods include carrots, sweet potato, and organ meats. Vitamin C-rich foods include bell peppers and citrus. Vitamin E-rich foods include nuts, seeds, and leafy greens.
Take a probiotic daily, and eat probiotic foods. Helping our health-promoting gut microbes with more of their probiotic friends is in order here to help keep the immune system strong. Try 1-2 servings/day of fermented foods and drinks like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kefir, and kombucha.
If you are already feeling like crap, here are some tips for getting rid of that cold fast:
Eat garlic. Mince two cloves and let them sit for 15 minutes for the active compounds to develop. Mix with olive oil and salt and spread on toast.
Drink tea. Ginger and lemon ward off the cold virus, and soothes a sore throat and headaches. (recipe below)
Take zinc to shorten your cold by as many as 3 days.
Pop vitamin C. It won’t prevent colds unless your are deficient, but it can shorten your cold and reduce symptoms.
Add glutathione. Master antioxidant glutathione strengthens the immune system and makes vitamin C work harder. Take a supplement or get from a high-quality whey protein.
Supplement with curcumin. Turmeric’s active compound reduces inflammation to relieve congestion.
Sip bone broth to bolster the immune system and take the edge off your cold symptoms. Add ginger, garlic and turmeric for extra cold-busting oomph.
Take a detox bath. Add epsom salts and essential oils to your tub to soothe symptoms and draw out impurities.
Don’t forget vitamin D. Vitamin D keeps your immune system in fighting shape.
Use a nasal rinse. A saline spray or neti pot gets everything moving and kills the bugs in its path.
Click here to purchase any of these immune boosting supplements.
There are lots of things we can do to stay healthy and reduce infections naturally. Washing your hands is a proven way to reduce your risk. And staying healthy in all other ways helps a lot. Getting enough nutrition, eating probiotic foods, and getting enough sleep are key year round.
If you do get sick, keep up all of your good habits above, and make sure to add some warm, healthy fluids, and extra rest.
Recipe: Lisa’s “Kick The Flu In The Ass” Tea
Along with many other essential vitamins & minerals, the ginger, garlic, honey and capsaisin in this tea are all good for stimulating metabolism, boosting immunity and cleansing the respiratory tract.
Ingredients and Directions
a few slices of fresh ginger
1 clove of garlic, smashed
2-3 slices of lemon, or 1/2 piece of lemongrass (I am loving the lemongrass!)
sprinkle of cayenne
handful of fresh mint leaves
In a sauce pan or tea pot, mix ginger, garlic, lemon or lemongrass, cayenne or paprika, and mint leaves. Add boiling water. Let steep for 5 minutes and sweeten with honey. Enjoy!