Cold and flu season is upon us yet again, and unfortunately, many of us will be bit by the flu bug at some point.
We’ll get cranky. Our bodies will be drained of energy and it may be difficult to get a good night’s sleep. You may miss a day or two of work. Those around us may grow tired of the coughing and sneezing at all hours of the day.
Getting sick is a real pain!
Chest Journal, the official publication of the American College of Chest Physicians, notes that over-the-counter medicines may suppress symptoms of an illness, but don’t necessarily treat the underlying cause of that sickness. Yet, people spend billions of dollars on cold and flu medications that generate mixed results.
There are natural remedies that actually are proven to be effective and don’t require a trip to your neighborhood pharmacy. If you’re battling cold or flu symptoms, try these natural remedies:
Hydration: Drinking an ample amount of non-sugary liquids helps flush the body of toxins and germs on a daily basis, and it’s especially important when you’re sick to replenish fluids and avoid dehydration. Using filtered water, drink plenty of hot herbal tea, green tea and lemon water. Green tea is packed with antioxidants that help boost an immune system.
Soup: For generations, chicken noodle soup has been the soup du jour while battling a cold or flu. Our mothers and grandmothers were on to something. Hot soup not only helps hydrate the body, but it also fights inflammation and thins mucus that causes congestion. Start with a base of organic bone broth, which is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, and mix in garlic, ginger, broccoli and leafy greens like spinach, kale and cabbage. Carrots, onions and celery also help fight off viruses and strengthen the immune system.
Ginger: Ginger root has an abundance of healing properties and soothes a sore throat, aches and pains. It also helps to clear sinuses, reduces inflammation, eliminates nausea and settles the stomach. Slice and add ginger root into hot herbal tea or toss a few slivers into a serving of cooked mixed vegetables.
Rest: Getting extra sleep allows the body to begin fighting illness, so running errands or staying awake late to tackle home improvement projects only expends energy in areas that don’t help the healing process. Trying to tough it out and report for work not only keeps your body from recovering, but it also exposes co-workers to the same germs and symptoms impacting you.
If your bug also includes stomach issues, certain foods help in the fight against vomiting and diarrhea: green bananas, applesauce, honey, toast and probiotics like green olives, sauerkraut and pickles.
Most cold and flu viruses resolve on their own, but there are a variety of natural supplements that lessen the severity and duration of an illness. Among the most common are zinc, vitamin C, echinacea and elderberry, but there are numerous remedies available in natural foods stores that don’t require a trip to the pharmacy or a prescription.
It’s miserable coming down with a cold or flu, but pursuing natural remedies to fight illness can shorten your road to recovery and get you back to your old self in no time.
As always, consult with your physician prior to making any substantial lifestyle, health or nutritional changes. To schedule an appointment and discuss your personal health and wellness goals, call the Hughes Center for Functional Medicine at 239-649-7400 or submit an appointment request through our online form.