Author: Ben Warren
Winter is here and along with it are sniffy noses, stuffy heads and sore throats, commonly referred to as a winter cold. A cold is really your bodies way of saying, "slow down."
In this blog, I explain that while you may feel the need to keep up with your active, summer self, during the colder, darker months of winter, your body naturally wants to slow down too. Rather than pushing yourself too hard, focus on nourishing your body and giving it the time it needs to adjust.
But what happens if you’re past the point where prevention works? What should you do if you’re already sick or have the flu? In this week’s article we look at steps you can take to get on top of a cold naturally.
1. Vitamin C loading
Vitamin C is a vital nutrient. Vitamin C - also known as ascorbic acid - is important for fighting infections. It works as an antioxidant to protect our bodies from damage, is involved in the growth of our bones, tendons, ligaments and skin and helps us absorb other essential nutrients, such as iron, better.
In Your Immunity Boosting Toolkit, I touched on using Vitamin C in high doses when I’m sick. Here I’ll explain why loading up on Vitamin C is the method I use to help my body get over whatever it is I’m fighting and how to do it.
Basically, your body’s tolerance level for Vitamin C fluctuates depending on how much you need to fight an infection. You can’t overdose on Vitamin C, meaning it’s not toxic. The only effect you will get is a loose bowel movement if you have too much. But that will only happen when your body can’t absorb any more of it. Finding the point at which you have a loose bowel motion means you’ve given your body as much Vitamin C as it is able to absorb. On an average day, I take half a teaspoon of BePure Super Boost C to support my diet which is naturally rich in Vitamin C.
Whenever I feel a cold coming on I take half a teaspoon of BePure Super Boost C every hour until I have a loose bowel movement. After that, I take half a teaspoon, every four hours until I have a loose bowel motion again. Usually, the cold has passed by this stage. I also combine Vitamin C loading with plenty of rest and fluids.
In 2014, the findings of a meta-analysis study into the effects of echinacea, a herbal plant, in treating the common cold were published in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases. The study was undertaken at the University of Connecticut and determined that “Echinacea cuts the chances of catching a common cold by 58 percent and reduces the duration of the common cold by almost one-and-a-half days."
“Echinacea cuts the chances of catching a common cold by 58 percent and reduces the duration of the common cold by almost one-and-a-half days."
Craig Coleman, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice and lead author of the study, added that “the take-home message from our study is that echinacea does indeed have powerful cold prevention and cold treatment benefits.”
You can take echinacea in several ways. A naturopath can prescribe you a herbal tonic or you can take it in capsule form. Our team really likes Kiwiherb Echinature which is a blend of high potency echinacea root and mānuka honey.
3. Raid your pantry
Sometimes the best remedies for fighting the effects of a cold or flu are already in our kitchen. For sore throats, you can drink a soothing blend of lemon, grated ginger root and mānuka honey.
Other spices such as cinnamon, turmeric and black pepper are all known to fight inflammation and help to balance blood sugar levels, which allows your body to fight the cold instead of exerting energy to manage blood sugar spikes and lows.
4. Sweat it out
If you have the flu I recommend lots of rest and fluids. Now is not the time to push through with your vigorous exercise regime. If you have the energy, a gentle walk can help flush the cold through your lymphatic system. One of the best ways to move a cold through your system without vigorous exercise is by relaxing in a sauna.
The steam helps with nasal drainage, which can be a welcome relief if you’re blocked up. The temperature also encourages you to sweat which helps flush toxins out through your skin.
If you don’t have access to a sauna, use the same principle and soak in a hot bath. Adding epsom salts to your bath will help if you have any muscle aches and pains due to the magnesium content. Magnesium also promotes sleep which will help you recover.
5. Stay Hydrated
If you are feeling run down, ensure that you drink enough quality water to flush out any toxins.
Our body is made up of 60% water, so making sure that you are getting optimal amounts of water is essential for feeling good with optimal health and energy.
Water transports nutrients throughout the body, aids in digestion, regulates temperature, facilitates all pathways of detoxification, protects our joints, promotes healthy bowel movements, improves mental concentration and relieves fatigue – helping you stay on top of illness during the colder seasons.
So there you have it. Sometimes despite eating a nutrient dense, balanced diet and ensuring adequate rest we still get sick. Use the 5 tips above to help get on top of it quickly.
BePure is a scientific, holistic health company founded by Ben Warren striving to educate, inspire and support people to live with optimal health, energy and happiness everyday. Ben is a leading clinical nutritionist and Clinical Director of the two BePure Clinics in Havelock North and Auckland Central.
Find out more about Ben and his work at BePure by visiting www.bepure.co.nz