It’s that time of year: cold and flu season. The temperatures drop and we all flock indoors to escape the chill, flooding coffee shops, restaurants and, yes, indoor fitness venues. With the leading cause of the 'common cold' being exposure to someone stuck with a cause of the coughs or suffering from the sneezes, it’s up to us to arm our immune systems as best we can. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we do find ourselves suffering from a cold or flu. Here are some tips to help you get through the sniffles, coughs, sneezes and more and give your immune system a boost to stave off future flus:
Keep hydrated. Being dehydrated can actually make matters worse, especially if you are suffering from a fever. Make sure you’re drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water/day. Herbal teas and broths are also great to drink; hot liquids have been shown to help stimulate immune systems.
Rest. Some of us try and keep going with our daily routine when we get a cold/flu. Symptoms of a cold or flu are a sign that you should take the time to slow down and rest. Getting enough rest will help get your immune system back on track.
Eat a healthy diet. Eating a well-balanced diet can help shorten the duration (or at least the severity) of the cold/flu, and provide your body with essential nutrients to help you bounce back. Most importantly, stay away from sugar as it weakens the immune system, thus making you sicker and prolonging your cold. If possible, try juicing. It is an amazing way to get a nutrient dense drink without burdening your body with using a lot of energy for digestion.
Some diet/nutrition tricks to try:
Eat spicy foods. Eating spicy foods can assist in breaking up nasal and sinus congestion. Garlic, turmeric, hot peppers and chillies are some examples of spices to have on hand. Try adding these spices to soups or even just warm water (see the tea recipe below).
Guzzle ginger. Ginger helps clear congestion, supports the immune system, soothes sore throats and combats fever. Drink 2-3 cups of freshly made ginger tea (recipe below) daily or add it to soups, smoothies and juices.
Daily lemon water. Lemon water reduces fever, flushes bacteria and toxins from the body, is a natural antiseptic and cures throat soreness. Squeeze half-1 lemon into a glass and add 1 cup of warm-hot water.
Erin’s Ginger Tea Recipe:
- 2 quarts of water
- ½ pound ginger
- 5 lemons (sliced)
- Cinnamon (add to taste)
- Cayenne pepper-to taste (optional)
- 2-3 garlic cloves-sliced(optional)
**Boil water, then add all ingredients listed.
**Allow ingredients to boil together for 5-7 minutes. Enjoy!