Whatever the cause may be, the cold and flu season is here to stay. Bacteria and viruses are part of nature’s cycle of life. Your responsibility is to evolve and create resistance and symbiosis with these microscopic creatures that would like to take over body.
There are hundreds of ideas and tips I could rattle off to help you with a cold or flu. But there are some that hold more weight than others. The number one tip that holds the most weight and best response is……
Stop overdoing it. Stop pushing yourself until you are ragged and on your deathbed. Learn to listen to your body and pick up on the subtle cues that always accompany illness. I just learned that my Oura ring tracks my temperature and any variations. So, if I notice a temperature fluctuation, especially if my temperature goes up, I will take that as a cue that body immune system is fighting something.
When you start to feel a tickle in your throat, or a wave of body aches, that is your first line of defense. That is the alarm, albeit silent, to scale back on your activities. Begin immediately to act and think as if you are sick. Don’t pound through the rest of the day. Cancel your afternoon and head home to rest. You might miss half a day of work, but it will shorten the duration of your illness or help you conquer within hours. Yes, I mean you can conquer a cold or flu in an afternoon. I know because I have done it numerous times.
Here are my proven strategies for kicking a cold to the curb:
1. Drink Apple Cider Vinegar
If you Google “Apple Cider Vinegar” you will likely find claims that it cures everything from acne to cancer. I’m not sure that it does cure everything. But I do know that it has super alkalizing powers. One of the reasons you get an achy body when you are sick is because your blood and tissues become acidic. So if you alkalize you won’t suffer from the body aches. Also, most cold- and flu-causing bacteria and viruses thrive in an acidic environment. So if you are running acidic, as opposed to alkaline, you are the perfect petri dish for a cold or flu.
When you start to feel sick or even if you are in the depths of illness, apple cider vinegar (ACV) can help. The active nutrient is ACV is acetic acid. It can kill any nasty pathogen hanging out in the mucus membranes of your mouth and throat. It has even been shown to kill salmonella and tuberculosis. And second, it helps to push your bloodstream to a more alkaline state.
Next time you feel a sore throat, try this recipe:
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (ACV)
1 teaspoon raw local honey (optional but suggested for taste)
Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
My current favorite preparation is using Vermont Village ACV shots instead of plain ACV and honey. I love to take these when I travel because they are so convenient. I just open the pouch and squirt into hot water. And they also make a great salad dressing too!
2. Drink Ginger
When you get a sore throat it is a tell-tell sign that you immune system is actually working for you! I know the sore throat doesn’t feel goo, but it is a signal that you immune cells are killing pathogens and the filtering them through your lymph nodes. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory so it makes sense to sip on ginger tea to reduce swelling in your irritated throat.
The easiest way and cheapest way to consume fresh ginger is with a homemade tea. You can use organic ginger tea bags but they are more expensive per serving, and not nearly as potent. I recommend steeping fresh or frozen ginger. It is seriously simple and allows you to consume it at the strength you choose.
Ginger tea recipe:
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger (about 4 inches long)
4 cups filtered water
Local raw honey (optional)
Simmer for 10-20 minutes
Strain off liquid and sip
3. Take Vitamin C
Vitamin C is the strongest and cheapest immune booster around. The Recommended Dietary Allowance is 60 mg for adults. We are conditioned to think that 500 mg is a therapeutic dose of Vitamin C. But it isn't! Dr. Cathcart and Dr. Levy recommend 30 grams (30,000 milligrams) for fighting a cold. Vitamin C is water soluble so if you take too much at one time, your bowels will flush it out. In plain English that translates to diarrhea when you take too much Vitamin C at one time. The workaround solution is liposomal Vitamin C. It absorbs much more slowly and completely when compared powdered vitamin C.
4. Gargle Warm Water & Salt
Warm water and salt gargle is an age old solution. I remember my mom recommending it when I was in high school. I relied on warm water and salt to keep my singing voice in top condition when preparing to sing a solo. Salt is nature’s first antimicrobial agent. Salt kills nasty bacteria by osmosis. Salt literally sucks the water out of bacteria so they die from dehydration. You can see this process in live action by pouring salt on a snail or slug. Once you pour the salt on a snails, water and bubbles ooze are of them until they are dead.
5. Eat Chicken Soup
Chicken soup is a timeless favorite for colds and flus. It is delicious and depending on how you make it, the broth can be the perfect remedy for illness. Homemade bone broth is full of minerals and amino acids. It is liquid super-nutrition for the immune cells in your intestines. You can buy dehydrated bone broth (collagen peptides) or make your own with a homemade recipe. I love collagen peptides so much that I put together some of my favorite recipes just for you.
6. Take Beta Glucan
Beta Glucan has been studied against the common cold and cancer. Beta Glucan is not considered an “antimicrobial” because it doesn’t actually kill anything. Instead, it primes and activates your own immune cells to be on high alert. If you immune cells are an army of soldiers, then Beta Glucan supplements are the army sergeant that calls the troops to order. Transfer Point Beta Glucan is the only brand I trust because it has been proven to be effective in actual medical trials.
7. Take Turmeric
Turmeric is ginger's anti-inflammatory cousin. Turmeric can be eaten or taken as a supplement. We usually think of turmeric for pain and inflammation. But you might not realize that when you have a cold or flu, your internal inflammation rises. You will recognize the inflammation as an achy body or swollen glands.
8. Support Your Gut
When you talk about your immune system, you are really talking about your digestive tract. And within your digestive tract, you immune cells live in your small intestines. About 70-80% of your immune cells are in your gut. So if you want to improve your overall immune system, you have to improve your gut. Know that you know that your gut is home to your immune cells, you have even more reason to take probiotics. I rotate probiotics so that I am taking different strains. I have had years of digestive problems and Dr. Ohhira's Essential Formulas was the first probiotic to make a noticeable difference in my gut function. It doesn't have to be refrigerated and has prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics.
9. Eat Raw Garlic
Raw garlic is a staple in my Winter Wellness Pharmacy. Raw garlic has an antimicrobial compound named allin. When you chew (or chop) the garlic, the allin is converted into allicin which is even stronger and better at killing pathogens. Eating raw garlic is not for the faint of heart. I recommend only ½ or 1 small clove at a time. Drink plenty of water. If you prefer a more convenient alternative, Designs For Health GarliActive has a high-allicin formula in a capsule. I can't promise you won't burp up garlic taste, but at least you won't have to chew it first!
You can also try my raw garlic sucker recipe:
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1 tablespoon raw local honey
sprinkle of cayenne (optional)
Chop the garlic and sprinkle on top of a tablespoon of honey. Let this mixture sit for 10 minutes so that the allin activates into allicin. Suck on the mixture or swallow the whole tablespoon at one time.
10. Muco Coccinum
If you aren’t familiar with homeopathic remedies, then Muco Coccinum might seem like fantasy movie character. But, it is actually more impressive than that. Muco is one of the longest used formula in the world. You can think of it as a preventive inoculation and a remedy once you are sick with the flu. Last year the hubs and I both came down with a “cold.” At least we thought it was a cold. But 2 days into a raging fever, we figured that we had the flu. I used my remedies and recovered within 3 days. The hubs was a totally different story. He didn’t employ as full set of wellness strategies. After 4 days of a persistent fever he ended up the Urgent Care. He tested positive for the flu and was sent home to be miserable for the next 2 weeks. I now have first hand understanding of how terrible and dangerous the flu can be. I definitely recommend avoiding a bad case of the flu. Prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Extra Tip #1: Wash Your Hands
Stop touching your face, biting your nails, and licking your fingers. This might just be the easiest and cheapest way to stay healthy during the cold and flu season. Your hands carry around about 3200 bacteria everyday. More often than not, your hands end up inside your mouth, your nose, and your eyes.
Think about this: when you end up with a cold, it isn’t magic that has allowed the bacteria or viruses into your bloodstream. It is you….It is all your fault when you contract a cold or flu. Bacteria and viruses are transferred through a cough, sneeze, or through touch. So if you are hanging out in a car, bedroom, or office with someone who is infecting the air with their nasty cough, you will likely breath pathogens into your lungs. From your lungs, the germ will get into your bloodstream, and WHAM! BAM! THANK YOU MA’AM! you are sick with a head cold and fighting a fever.
The same scenario is true about touching infected surfaces. Remember when you co-worker was sick and used the copy machine before lunch? Then you went in and touched the same copy machine? Why are you surprised when you come down with a cold the next day? Your co-worker infected the copy machine with microscopic bacteria that then transferred to your hands. If you didn’t wash your hands, then the pathogens were still there when you scratched your eye or picked your nose.
One family member or coworker with a cold or flu may inadvertently contaminate the whole space with their dirty hands. Use this simple tip as prevention to avoid a cold or flu, and as treatment when you are sick.
Extra Tip #2:
Kick the Sugar Bug
Here is another plain and simple truth: sugar makes you sick. Of course, it is actual bacteria or viruses that cause a cold or flu. But when you rely on a diet of sugar and simple carbohydrates, you are setting yourself up for immune dysfunction. If you are eating loads of sugar, your immune cells have no chance of fighting off bacteria and viruses.
The next time you go to a party and are offered dessert, just say no, and explain that you don’t want to get sick. Maybe you can teach your friends a thing or two about how immune cells work. You might get some sideways glances, but at least you won’t have to take time off of work to lay in bed with the flu.
If you get a cold or flu, there are numerous proven strategies for escaping or at least shortening the suffering. You don’t have to settle for days on the couch followed by a week or coughing and sinus pressure. Take the time to invest in yourself and your best health. At the first sign of a cold or flu, start employing these 10 steps.Click here to schedule your FREE Discovery Call with me!
I've been caught more than once talking about these tactics on the radio. Here's one of them if you're interested in learning more:
More ideas for stocking your Winter Wellness Pharmacy: