6 Natural Remedies To Prevent Colds

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

For most of my life, I thought it was completely normal to get a cold in the fall. I would catch a cold around the first week of October and be fighting another one by the first week of November. Snotty tissues were just another part of the season, I thought. Turns out, I was wrong.

It’s true most colds occur in the fall and winter, but it’s not true that they’re an inevitable part of the season. Colds are caused by viruses which typically thrive in cooler, dry weather (aka fall and winter). Fall is also when school starts again and people are crowded together in a closed environment, inviting the spread of those viruses. Whether or not we fall susceptible to them is a whole different story.

Here are some of my favorite natural remedies that I take at the first sign of a scratchy throat or stuffy nose. Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or any sort of health professional so please do your own research before placing all your faith in my suggestions. I've done my best to link to more information and research beneath each of my suggestions so you can do further research.

Manuka Honey. I call this my secret weapon, because it has completely stopped a sore throat in its tracks for me more than once. While raw honey is awesome, Manuka honey is considered medicinal grade with 4x the nutritional profile of regular raw honey. It is produced by bees in New Zealand that pollinate the Manuka bush. All Manuka honey is given a Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) that indicates the antibacterial strength of that particular strain. Typically, a UMF16 and up is considered the best quality of Manuka honey. I get mine from Wedderspoon and love their honey on-the-go travel packs. I’ll take them when I’m traveling (especially in germy airports and planes), if I’m feeling the start of a sore throat or if other people around me are sick. You can learn more about the benefits of Manuka honey in this article.

Essential Oils. I’m a newbie to essential oils and very cautious about the magical unicorn healing powers that are often attributed to them. What I do know is that diffusing eucalyptus or peppermint oil is a quick way to open up your sinuses (and also make your house smell wonderful) and lavender oil will relax you like nobody’s business. Both good things when you’re feeling a cold coming on. There are a million conflicting articles on the Internet about essential oils, but this guide does a good job of breaking down the basics of oils. Again, do your own research, form your own opinions.

Green Tea. Green tea is full of powerful little antioxidants called catechins which help to fight off infections. On top of the physical benefits, sipping a hot cup of tea can have a calming mental effect. Scientific studies have shown that the amino acid, L-theanine, in green tea reduces cortisol (the stress hormone) in the brain. Since stress is one of the factors that makes us more likely to catch a cold in the first place, sipping a cup of green tea is not such a bad idea. I’ve been drinking mine lately with a dose of mushrooms too! You can read more about the benefits in this article.

Apple Cider Vinegar. A little bit of this popular elixir goes a long way. The acidity of ACV can help kill off germs, but it can also bring tears to your eyes if you take too much (it is vinegar, after all). My favorite way to take it is to mix 3-4 tbsp in a cup of water, but you can also add it to some warm water and mix with lemon and honey to help the taste. This account of a daily ACV regimen has good information about how and when to use it.

Less sugar. When you’re feeling crappy, it’s so easy to turn to the junk food but sugar has been shown to drastically weaken our immune systems. When your body is fighting off the beginning stages of a cold, the last thing you want to do is weaken the army. Avoid sugar as much as possible when you’re not feeling well and stick to the nutrient-dense veggies (the ones your mama always told you to eat). More research on sugar intake.

More water. We’re always being told to up our water intake but it’s especially important when your immune system is working overtime. I try to drink half my body weight in ounces and then count the green tea and other forms of hydration as an extra bonus. This article explains why you should be drinking more water -- sick or not.

Sending healthy vibes your way this season. Ain't nobody got time for snotty noses.

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