Top Flu Fixers
IT’S WINTER TIME AGAIN, BUT DON’T LET A COLD OR FLU GET YOU DOWN. Besides managing your stress, drinking heaps of water and keeping your kitchen and offices clean, there are many natural remedies that you can use to help keep yourself cold-and-flu-free this winter:
• Tea – drink lots of tea this winter, be it black, green or herbal teas. All teas are high in antioxidants and help keep you warm whilst keeping you hydrated. The more hydrated you are, the easier it is for your body to remove toxins.
• Thyme – thyme is the perfect decongestant. If you are feeling full of mucus, add a teaspoon of dry thyme to a cup of boiling water. Let it draw for a couple of minutes. Inhaling the steam will help reduce the mucus.
• Garlic – raw or lightly cooked garlic contains natural antibiotic and is very high in allicin which works as a natural decongestant and immune booster. When you feel a cold coming try to increase your garlic intake.
• Ginger – fresh ginger is easy to add to soups, stir fries, smoothies or tea. Ginger can be used to maintain a healthy immune system, aid digestion, and works as a decongestant. Drinking ginger tea causes pores to open and you are able to sweat out all the toxins your body is trying to expel.
• Chilli peppers – capsaicin in chilli acts as a decongestant. Increase your use of chilli pepper by adding it to a glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon when you are feeling under the weather.
• Fennel –if you have a sore throat or indigestion try adding some fennel to your meals or to hot water with lemon.
• Cayenne pepper – is a great flu fighter as it contains capsaicin and is also antibacterial. Cayenne pepper helps to clear a blocked nasal passage as well as increasing body temperature when you are feeling cold.
• Turmeric – turmeric is an amazing spice. It can be added to any meal as it’s flavour is not that strong but the healthy benefits from turmeric are numerous.Turmeric aids decongestion, it is high in curcumin which works to sooth headaches and reduces coughs as well as being very high in potassium which is essential to maintain a strong immune system.
If you aren’t one for natural or herbal remedies you could try to prevent or speed up your recovery from a cold by consuming the following foods:
• Honey – helps expel excess mucus and sooth a dry throat. If you feel a cold surfacing drink some honey and lemon in a cup of hot water.
• Freshly squeezed fruit juice – make homemade lemon juice or freshly squeezed juices from fruits and vegetables. Juice is easy to drink when you are feeling sick and don’t have an appetite.You will benefit greatly from all the vitamins and minerals from the fruits and vegetables.
• Broth – make a homemade broth or chicken soup to help with decongestion. Add some vegetables for added nutrients.
• Dark chocolate or hot cocoa – both of these contain theobromine which helps to suppress a cough by soothing the nerve endings in your throat. Dark chocolate is also high in antioxidants which are essential for maintaining a good immune system. What a good excuse to drink more hot chocolate this winter!
• Spinach – zinc is an essential mineral when it comes to overcoming a cold. Spinach is very high in zinc. If you don’t have spinach you can eat lentils, beef or pumpkin seeds as these foods are also high in zinc.
• Sweet potatoes – are rich in beta- carotene and vitamin A, both of which are great antioxidants. If you don’t like sweet potatoes try eating carrots, butternut or gemsquash.
• Salmon – is very high is omega-3 and fatty acids. Omega-3 helps to reduce inflammation and boost your immune system.
If you already eat all the foods, herbs and spices mentioned above, but still find yourself constantly catching colds or flu this winter your immune system is probably very low.You need to try to figure out what is causing this. It could be your lifestyle. If you are constantly stressed and overworked there is a very high chance your immune system is weak. Find ways to de-stress, and live a healthier life. If you aren’t sure how to change your lifestyle in order to reduce your stress and improve your health speak to someone, be it your doctor, a nutritionist or a lifestyle coach. All these people could help you by just making a few changes to your day to day life which in turn will leave you feeling fit, healthy and re-energised.
Ceileigh McKersie Nutritional Advisor and Life Coach. BA, PGCE, DipNH (NH Inst.), DipLC (LC Inst.) firstname.lastname@example.org