The cold winter air is upon us and the holiday season is here. But unfortunately with all that cold air comes the inevitable cough and cold season. Once everyone starts staying inside, germs start to spread and those wintertime maladies start coming on. While there is no cure for a cold (your GP will tell you it has to run its course), there are a few things you can do naturally that will help fight it off and thankfully alleviate some of those horrible symptoms.
Speaking of symptoms, one thing to remember is that the cold symptoms you are experiencing are actually your body’s way of healing itself. For instance, a fever is the body’s way off trying to kill off viruses by creating a hotter-then-normal environment. Coughing is also an effective system for clearing breathing passages and ridding the body of thick mucus that carries germs to your lungs and other parts of the body. So in essence, the symptoms you are experiencing are actually making you better.
The good new is, there is a lot of research that suggests that there are some really effective health remedies that can not only shorten the time you are ill but also prevent a cold and flu before it starts.
Here are 5 Natural Immune Boosers that can help fight off those nasty colds.
1.) Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that improves the body’s immune function. It also strengthens your body’s natural defences and protects cells from harmful free radicals. Studies have shown that taking Vitamin C supplements can not oly reduce the severity of cold symptoms, but alsodecrease the recovery time of a cold by 8% in adults and 14% in children, on average.
2.) Echinacea – Echinacea is a flowering plant called coneflower. Echinacea has been a popular herbal remedy for centuries. Today, it is often used to prevent or treat viruses that cause colds and the flu because of its effect on the immune system. Research shows Echinacea increases the number of white blood cells, which fight infections. When taken in the early stages of a cold, it can reduce the severity and duration of cold symptoms. It seems to be most effective if you take it when you notice cold symptoms coming on and continue it for 7 to 10 days. However, you should not take Echinacea for more than a few weeks and always consult a doctor before taking any supplements.
3.) Zinc – Zinc is one of the most crucial minerals for overall immune function. It is found in cells throughout the body and helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Some studies show that taking zinc glauconitic or acetate lozenges every 2 hours within the first two days of a cold can decrease its duration. This is whyzinc lozenges are such popular cold fighters.
4.) Flavonoids – These are antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. Studies suggest that flavonoid supplements may reduce the risk of infections in the lungs, throat and nose by 33%, on average.
5.) Garlic – This common spice contains some antimicrobial compounds that may help fight respiratory infections. Studies show that garlic can help fight colds and the flu. It can reduce your chances of catching an illness, and help you recover faster. To maximize these benefits, it is best to consume raw garlic or aged garlic extract.
Always consult your GP or Pharmacist before taking these or any type of supplement.