7 Tips for Preventing & Shortening the Duration of Common Colds
7 Natural Tips for Preventing the Common Cold
Winter is a time where we see more people suffering from cold or flu-like symptoms.
I am sure we need no reminder that both are very unpleasant experiences that can leave you feeling lousy and unable to function efficiently in your day-to-day life.
In fact, common colds are the leading cause of visits to GPs in the Western World, and a major contributor to absenteeism from work and school.
In this blog, we aim to look at ways we can prevent a cold from occurring in the first place; as well as ways to shorten its duration when it does sideline you.
Have You Considered Natural Cold and Flu Treatments?
Over-the-counter remedies such as decongestants do not tend to provide much benefit, other than simply suppressing the symptoms, – which comes with its own set of concerns.
Antibiotics are virtually useless in treating colds, as they do not touch the viral respiratory infections that actually cause the cold in the first place.
The best way to keep feeling your best is to prevent a cold altogether, but if you do succumb to the seasonal sickness, you will want to get on the road to recovery as quickly as possible.
You can help your body to do this by eating a healthy balanced diet, supplemented with some super-foods and staying hydrated.
Here are seven natural ways to boost your immune system to prevent a common cold, and if you do catch one, to make sure it does not stick around for long.
1. Vitamin D
It is no coincidence that winter is the time of year when colds and flu are most common. After all, this is when vitamin D levels are at their lowest due to the reduction in sun exposure.
In 2010, a study found that by increasing your intake of vitamin D3, you could reduce the incidence of influenza during the winter months. Analysis published in the BMJ in 2017, meanwhile, determined that “Vitamin D supplements could spare more than three million people from colds or flu in the UK each year.”
The best ways to increase your Vitamin D levels is from exposure to sunlight for 5-10 minutes a day, between the hours of 10am-2pm, with no sunscreen on. In winter this is obviously much harder to do when the sun is hiding for what feels like most of the day in the UK, so choosing a high-quality D3 supplement during this time is a great way to top up your levels.
2. Vitamin C
The role that vitamin C can play in preventing and treating the common cold has been discussed in depth for years.
This has enabled a comparative study to incorporate data from many previous trials.
It was found that regular vitamin C supplementation of at least 200mg per day “was fairly consistently associated with a small reduction in the duration and severity of common cold symptoms, pointing to a definite physiological effect in respiratory defence mechanisms.”
Check out our article “Does Vitamin C Boost the Immune System?” to find out more.
3 & 4. Water and Turmeric Milk
Staying hydrated is important to enable your body to function efficiently, and stay in peak health to ward off viruses.
When suffering with a cold, increasing your fluid intake will replace fluids lost from fever and respiratory tract evaporation, and will also help to loosen mucus.
Turmeric, meanwhile, is famed for its anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and anti-oxidant properties. Therefore, sipping turmeric milk could sooth a sore throat, ease nasal congestion and reduce the duration and severity of your cold.
Below is a recipe that you can try at home, with none of the side effects of regular over-the-counter medication.
• 2 cups organic full-fat coconut milk
• 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
• 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger)
• 2 black peppercorns, crushed
• 1/4 tsp cinnamon
• Liquid Stevia or raw honey to taste (optional)
Place all ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat, stirring frequently. Sweeten to taste. Pour through a strainer into a mug and drink whilst warm.
5. Fresh Ginger Tea
Another delicious home made remedy is ginger tea. Ginger is famed for its antiviral properties. Honey, ginger and lemon is a panacea that many a grandmother has passed on to family, but the key is in the amount of ginger to make this effective.
Start by finely grating or juicing 1-2 lbs of ginger and keep covered in your refrigerator, then follow the recipe below.
• 3-6 tablespoons of the prepared ginger
• Juice of 1/2 lemon
• 1 tablespoon of raw honey
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• Fill with hot water
Drink 2-6 cups per day to alleviate your symptoms and potentially clear up your cold quickly.
6 & 7. Wash Hands and Rest Often
Regular hand-washing is one of the best ways to protect ourselves from cold viruses. Get into the habit of washing yours whenever you arrive at a new destination, and when you get home.
You could also try moisturising with naturally anti-viral coconut oil afterwards as an added defence barrier, or adding a small amount to the inside of your nostrils where viruses and bacteria can easily enter the body.
Lastly, we come to rest. Life is often hectic and fast-paced in the modern world, and as a society we tend to underestimate the value of rest.
Keep in mind that fighting a viral infection is exhausting for your body and depleting to your energy reserves.
Try to support your immune system by at least incorporating short break periods into your day, and aim to get your full 8 hours of sleep at night.
We hope you have enjoyed this article. With any luck, these practical tips and recipes should help to keep you strong and resilient against the onslaught of typical seasonal viruses.
Give them a try, and do make a point of looking after yourself as the winter chill sets in. You deserve some TLC!
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